DFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 25366 times:
I took some vacation time for a family event, but it ended on Sunday the 15th of July and I didn't have to report to work until the afternoon of Thursday the 19th. So I had three days off to go somewhere! Unlike my previous trip reports, I would be simply using my AA employee standby privileges. As I looked around, most flights were full since this is the peak of summer. Montreal and Toronto were both quite empty in comparison. I have been wanting to go to Montreal for some time, so that's what I chose.
My original plan was to fly SHV-ORD-YUL on the American Eagle nonstop to ORD and have a 3 hour layover and then continue to YUL on a MD80. The loads on those flights were very empty, something like 25 on the SHV-ORD and only about 45 booked on the MD80 arriving YUL at 9pm. On the night before my flight, I saw that there was a 60% chance of thunderstorms in ORD that afternoon, and so I chose to avoid ORD if at all possible. I changed my reservation to the 10:50am SHV-DFW and the 12:50pm DFW-YUL. The SHV-DFW was booked full and the DFW-YUL had about 20 seats remaining. So I didn't know if it would get out of SHV, but if not, then I would take the 12:15 SHV-ORD.
After they had boarded all the passengers on AA 3492 SHV-DFW, the agent called my name, and I walked up there, remarking that I really didn't expect to get on. She remarked that it was rather lucky. Most of the SHV-DFW flights have been booked solid lately she said. So she handed me my boarding pass for seat 11B on the EMJ 145 and my standby card for the YUL flight.
I didn't take any pictures of the SHV-DFW flight. Maybe I should have, but I do this flight almost weekly, so I didn't bother.
We departed on time at 10:50am and arrived DFW at 11:40 or so. We held for our gate, which was supposed to be D10. Then they moved us to D14, as I guess there was some delay with the Eagle RJ sitting at the Lufthansa gate, so we moved to the British Airways gate! I used D14 once before when I boarded BA 2192 DFW-LGW last year. That particular gate has a parking stripe "774" I suppose that's for the new Boeing 777-400.
Here's my Eagle once we parked at D14:
Here's BA at the same gate (file photo from a previous trip!)
Here are the flights involved in this trip:
AA 3492 SHV-DFW 16JUL EMJ-145 N651AE Seat 11B 100% full
AA 802 DFW-YUL 16JUL 737-800 Winglets N907AN Seat 21F 90% full
AA 1341 YUL-DFW 18JUL 737-800 Winglets N917AN Seat 15A/14F (changed in flight) 70% full
On 3492 SHV-DFW, once we arrived at D14, they weren't quite ready for us, as this was a last minute gate change. I had gate-checked my bag, and it was a very long wait for the bag. We parked at about 11:50, but it was another 15 minutes before the gate checked bags were brought to the jetbridge. Finally I got my bag and then went to the monitor to check my flight. I was at D14 and it was at D38, so it wasn't too far, but I thought I might go ahead and catch the train, as they might already be calling my name at the gate.
When I arrived at D38, I saw that it was a 737-800 with winglets. I hadn't flown an AA 737 with winglets yet, so that was going to be a treat. I flew a 757 last year that had them.
Here's my plane at the gate.
As it got closer and closer to boarding time, people started lining up in the gate, almost in the Southwest Airlines tacky fashion, hoping that their collective desire to board would make the gate agent open up the flight for boarding. At 12:30pm, the adjacent gate began boarding the 1:05pm flight to Belize, while our 12:45pm flight still had not started to board. No announcements were made at all. And the gate information screen didn't update.
Here are all the people eager to board the YUL flight. This mob wasn't even showing Terminal D the respect it deserves! It really is a beautiful terminal. If you have time, I highly recommend visiting the DFW Club, located next to D21. They have been selling day passes for $25, and the are part of Priority Pass, so you can get in with your PP card if yo have it. Drinks are free and the view is excellent. Alternately, I got to visit the Terminal D Admiral's Club last weekend, and it's the nicest airline lounge I've ever been to. Using Priority Pass, I can use Delta, NW, CO, and UA lounges. I consider CO to have the nicest, but if all AA lounges approach being as nice as the one at Terminal D, then AA blows the other airline lounges out of the water. Definitely worth a visit if you have the opportunity.
All the sudden the gate says Now 1:15pm. We never knew why. They never announced it. Or if they did, I was out of hearing range at the time, though I stayed close by hoping they would call my name--which they did. I walked up to the gate, and the agent apologized that she only had coach available (I had listed for business class) and she gave me a window seat 21F. I expected that 21F would be an exit row as well, because that's where the exits are on the MD80, but I was wrong. Row 13 and 14 are the exits on the 737. I don't really care for exit rows as they aren't good for taking pictures and I'm not long-legged anyways.
So I boarded when my group was called, even though I had to fight the crowd, because everyone was blocking the way to the gate. I sat down and shortly two other seatmates joined me. The flight had about 125 people out of a total of 148 seats on the aircraft. Business class was full 16/16. On most flights to Canada and the Caribbean, Mexico, and Latin America, premium service is marketed as Business class rather than First class.
Here's the view out of my window, looking at an AA 757 that doesn't yet have winglets installed.
Here's everyone getting settled in as we quickly boarded.
The condition of the aircraft was good. I noticed that the tacky blue tape that maintenance sticks all around the seats, on the floor, and on the sidewall has been changed to a grey color that doesn't stick out as much.
We pushed out about 45 minutes late (still no explanation) and taxied across the Y "yankee" bridge over the highway that goes through the airport, and made our way to the east side runways. I've always enjoyed looking at the cars go underneath the airplane, so this time I decided to be a full nerd and video taped our crossing of the bridge. We get to see not just cars, but winglets and a MD80 on the "zulu" bridge.
I am not sure what the couple sitting next to me thought about my video taping our taxi. I am getting more bold, I guess, after uploading nearly 100 airplane videos to Youtube. The couple sitting next to me were French speaking, and were traveling with a group that was sitting behind us. I know enough French to get around, but I'm not fluent or really conversational with it, so I didn't chat with them.
Here we are in our lineup for runway 17R. I'm thinking the Delta E170 was the JFK flight, but not really sure. It was at about 1:45pm, so I could look it up if I was not so lazy.
No, this is not just another ordinary business jet that was ahead of us. This is N14FE. As it was taking off another similar business jet, whose registration ended in FE landed. I don't know how well you can see it, but look at the thin stripes of color on this plane. They are red and purple. This is a FedEx corporate jet.
And then we take off.
We climbed all the way eventually to 39,000 feet. I brought my Bose QC2 headsets with me and was glad, once again, that I purchased them a few months ago (before my Scotland trip--see the trip report DL DFW-ATL-EDI). I could very clearly and very comfortably enjoy a very strange movie about Will Ferrell being a pot-bellied figure skater! It really was funny. I forgot the name of the movie.
One thing I noticed about movies on AA--the movies shown have nothing to do with what the AAtractions guide says will be shown. This fact was confirmed by both of my flights to and from YUL and also with my parent's flights DFW-SEA and back that they flew within a week of my trip. I'm not sure what's up with that.
Not long into the flight, the cabin crew made their announcement about the buy-on-board service in coach. I decided to buy a $5 sandwich, which was a turkey and cheese sandwich on some nice Pannini bread. It actually became a $15 sandwich, after I spilled the cilantro salad dressing, which was supposed to go on the sandwich, onto my pants. I packed very light, wearing one pair of trousers and packing one pair. At the hotel I got this pair cleaned upon my arrival.
I had expected the cabin crew to come back through about an hour later or so with a second beverage service, but it was not done. A spot of coffee would have been quite nice, but it wasn't to be.
The duration of the flight was 3hrs 30mins.
Here we are getting closer to YUL. I figured out that I had flown over Canada some 36 times, but this would be my first time to ever land there! I suppose it was about time!
By this time the movie was over and now we were watching the CBS Eye On American programs. Then we began our descent to YUL and the airport came into view. We were to land to the west so we flew past the airport.
If you look in this picture, closely, you can see there is a Corsair 747, with a KLM MD11 to its left. Then there are a couple I can't identify, but one is Air France.
Here's a shot that's more zoomed out so you can see the runway layouts.
And here is the landing. I started it recording a bit early to take in some of the city as we approached.
And after taxiing in, here we are at the gate. Sitting on the right, I couldn't see anything exciting. I looked for the Eagle ATR in all the hangars we taxied by, but didn't see it, not knowing where to look.
Customs and Immigration went smoothly. KLM was the only other aircraft in the very spacious customs and immigration area so it didn't take too long.
I wandered through the check-in areas to see what airlines were flying out of YUL. Cubana had a huge line of people checking in. There were lots of other interesting airlines, such as Corsair, Air Labrador, but the most interesting and unexpected once I stepped outside the terminal for a look around.
At one end of the drop-off area, you can see this end of terminals. Police are stationed here looking for suspicious activity. As I looked at the Air Canada action, a friend called me on my cell phone. I talked for a bit, but as soon as I hung up, I heard the roar of a plane climbing out above me. It was an Olympic A340. With its classic paint job, it looked like a 707 to me at first. I barely got a picture of it, as I was not expecting this and had to dig it out quickly.
After seeing that, I went to my hotel. I won't go into the details of the trip other than to say I got a good deal on priceline.com. It was better than any of my other discount options for a nice hotel. I bid $95 for a 4 star hotel in downtown (after being rejected at $75 and $85) and got the Omni Mont Royal. It was very nice, and the cheapest deal they had on the internet at the time was $145.
After a couple days in Montreal seeing the sights and enjoying the food, it was time to go back home. The way it works with AA, non-rev check-in opens 4 hours before a flight, so I got to the airport at about 1:45pm for my 6:05pm flight. Yes, I know that's early, but I wanted to have a look round the airport once I checked in.
There isn't much, but there is a bit of an opportunity for spotting from the garage. Here is the best view from there. You can actually look down one of the runways.
So I went and checked in at a self service machine by sliding my passport through it at exactly 2:05pm, 4 hours before my 6:05pm flight. I was really hoping for business class, and the last time I checked there were 8 seats still available. After I checked in, I got on a computer to see my place on the standby list and I was the first person on standby and there were still 7 seats remaining in business on my 737 to DFW. Coach was booked to about 75 out of 132, so there was lots of room on this Wednesday evening flight.
I wandered around the check-in areas again looking at all the airlines that serve Montreal. I decided to grab a sandwich at a nice sandwich shop facing the Air France, KLM, Air Transat check-in. I enjoyed a bit of people watching as well. I always get a kick out of observing people at airports.
Looking at the departure boards, I saw that all New York flights were severely messed up. They were alternately delayed two hours or canceled. Here's a shot of the departure board.
So I made my way to the USA customs area, which is prior to security for the USA gates. Just before the customs area is a duty-free shop. I purchased a gift for someone, and on the receipt was a surprise. The duty-free shop appeared on the receipt, and it was Aer Rianta. That's the company in Dublin and Shannon, so it was a bit of a curiosity.
When I got to the US Border Control area, there was a moderate line. The whole process took about 30 minutes. Obviously I had lots of time. I noticed the person in front of me was going on a very long flight. He was flying YUL-LAX-SYD on Star Alliance, using Air Canada to LAX and United to SYD. I noticed a few people had baggage checked to South America on AA via MIA. There was an AA 737 departing to MIA within the next hour.
Once I got through, I looked around the gates to see what airlines were there.
Air Canada 767-300. I think it was going to Rome.
Corsair A330 to Paris Orly.
Comair CRJ. Delta doesn't fly mainline to YUL. CRJs to CVG and JFK and CRJ 700s to ATL. This is a delayed one going to JFK.
Air Canada Jazz CRJ that will next be attempting to go to EWR.
As you can see, AA proudly sends a good percentage of mainline service. Here is a 737 to MIA and a MD80 to ORD. AA also flies 737s to DFW. Eagle flies to JFK and supplements AA to ORD.
Here is the first Mesaba CRJ 900 I've ever seen in revenue service with US registration.
Here is the other Mesaba CRJ 900 that I've seen. It's in one of my recent trip reports as well. It was on display in late June at the Paris Air Show. That aircraft has Canadian registration at the time.
This is the largest airplane Continental sends to YUL. This one happens to be arriving from CLE as both the EWR flights ended up canceling. CO doesn't serve IAH from YUL.
I didn't get to take a picture of a US Airways Express E170 that came in from PHL. And I never saw anything from United, but maybe I just missed them. There wasn't nearly as much mainline service into YUL as I was expecting. From the brief visit I had, it looked like only NW and AA send mainline aircraft to YUL from the US. That's not including Air Canada.
Eventually, I go to my gate and await my name to be called, as I am on standby. They call my name, and I was disappointed to see that I didn't get a business class seat. One of the business class seats was broken, a few employees traveling on company business got upgrades (higher priority than me just traveling on my own time) and some passengers upgraded.
So I had to travel like a normal person. I was given seat 14F, which was an exit row window. The agent told me the middle seat would be empty. When I boarded, I stowed my bag, noticing once again (though I haven't yet mentioned it) that my carryon bag fits fine, wheels first, in MD80s, AA 757s (not TWA), and on the Continental 737-500. It doesn't fit wheels first in the 737-800, so I had to put it in the old way. I got out a book I was reading and my Bose headset.
6:05pm-9:00pm On time 70% full
Here's the view out the window as we taxied out. I can't seem to take enough winglet shots.
We turned the corner and began to see some longhaul heavies. Here you can see an Air Transat A310, Air France 747, and Royal Air Maroc 767.
A crooked shot of the Air France 747 F-GITC.
I knew that Royal Air Maroc flew to YUL, but it still surprised me a little. I was glad to be able to see it up close like this.
Air Transat A330.
Some Jazzy Dash-8s
A possibly longhaul Air Canada 767 in the older paint scheme taking off ahead of us.
Here's the takeoff video out of YUL. If you look closely, just after rotation, there's a somewhat clear shot of the vorticies from the left side of the engine.
After we reached cruising altitude, I switched seats to 15A, as this row was completely empty. It ended up being a bad decision, however. There was a family sitting behind me that had a fussy toddler who cried from when we were boarding until we were in DFW. Later in the flight, I had been watching the movie and dozed off for a few minutes, wearing my Bose QC2 headsets. When I woke up, the toddler, maybe 20 months old, was sitting by himself on the aisle seat, crying his eyes out. The mother got tired of dealing with him and put him up on the row ahead of her! He was crying before she did that, but that really got him crying. A few minutes later, she put the baby with its older sister, and she, the mother, sat on the aisle seat next to me, with her children behind her! I suppose she was teaching her kids self-reliance. The only time her baby stopped crying was the one time she picked him up and walked him down the aisle a bit. Once seated again he cried. Like I said before, it was a good thing I had my noise-cancelling headsets.
Anyway, for the inflight service. It was almost comical. The flight attendant actually announced that the buy on board service consisted of (other than the chips and M&Ms) either a turkey sandwich, or a turkey wrap. She said again, we have two turkey sandwiches, one with pannini bread and one in a wrap. I thought that an odd selection, but perhaps catering got confused (I hope).
Here's the second half of my buy-on-board turkey sandwich. They accepted either Canadian or US currency, so I paid them in Canadian.
A winglet shot while the light was still good.
As far as the movie, it was advertised to be either Premonition or Meet the Robinsons, but ended up actually being The Da Vinci Code. I watched it off and on, but not with close attention because I have seen the movie like three times already, and that was after reading the book a few years ago. I like the movie, but saw it recently, so I read a book mostly for this 3 hour 24 minute flight, as advertised by the captain. Speaking of that, here's the map.
About an hour after the dinner/drink service, I wanted something else to drink, and assumed there would be no more beverage service. A person about two rows ahead of me hit their flight attendant call button and got something, so I decided to do the same. When I hit the button, I could see the flight attendants all the way in the very front just chatting with each other. When I actually hit the button, I saw one of them look at me, and she came straight away. Her first reaction was that something was wrong with the screaming baby behind me, but then she understood that I wanted a beverage. The FA returned promptly with that, and she then turned her attention to the baby, and spent a few minutes doing her best to sooth the baby. I thought it was a nice touch, which sums up that we had a good, attentive, experienced cabin crew.
Before long, the Red River passed underneath us, signifying that we were now in Texas, and we nosed over to begin our descent into DFW as the sun was starting to set.
ATC worked it out where we could land on the west side of the airport, on 18R, so here we are angling toward 18R over Grapevine Lake.
Here we are landing at DFW. As you see at the very first few seconds of the clip, I show that we are still watching CBS Eye on American as we land.
I took an extra video when I found out that we were parking at gate D40, one of the more unusual gates at DFW. It's a gate that's boxed into a corner. They had to remove the jetbridges and disable gates B2 and B3 (there was no B1) to make room for this gate. Here's a video of us parking in this corner gate. The winglet makes it a bit more dramatic.
And, as we are now back safely in Texas. According to the local newspaper, Fort Worth is "Where the West Begins" and since all Westerns end with a sunset shot, here's mine. We had just turned off 18R and were taxiing to gate D40.
Longhornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 43
Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 25252 times:
Awesome report. I'm glad you had a good experience with AA, overall. You took some great pictures and videos. I really enjoyed it, and look forward to the next ones! I've seen D40 from the Skylink, and it looks like you have to walk halfway to Canada to get to the plane!