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ORD To LIS And BCN On AC, LH, And VY (Pics!)  
User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 11715 times:

This report is a little late, but I don’t travel too often due to work and school right now, so I wanted to share this. My sister is studying abroad in Barcelona, Spain and I got half the airfare for Christmas, and I ended up finding airfare on AC and LH for a grand total of $750.00 USD, so I decided to take advantage of it. The itinerary would be ORD-YUL-FRA-BCN-FRA-YYZ-ORD, but we wanted to do a little more traveling. We decided upon Lisbon, Portugal, but with her class schedule and to get the most time, we would have to leave on the night of my arrival. I knew it would be an exhausting process, but completely worth it. She bought us tickets BCN-LIS-BCN on Vueling, so I was excited to try a new airline. Months later, it was finally time for me to go see her!

Thursday, March 10th, 2010

I had a 1:20pm departure from ORD, so I got a ride to the airport from my Mom and we left home at about 10:00am. Arrived at ORD at 11:30am to see that there was absolutely nobody standing in the line for the AC check in, and was quickly helped by a very friendly agent. She was able to get my luggage checked through all the way to BCN, but told me to get my last boarding pass in FRA. Headed through security without any issues, and had my boarding pass and passport checked by a friendly agent, which is nice to run into with all the negative media. Went to Gate E2 where a AC Jazz CRJ pulled up a little late for the first flight.

http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/859/1000299b.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Deserted AC Check-In

Air Canada Jazz flight 8654
Chicago ORD - Montreal YUL
STD: 1:20pm
ATD: 1:45pm
STA: 4:24pm
ATA: 4:30pm
CRJ-705, Seat 21F Exit

I paid $50 for premium seats for all my AC flights before I left since I’m fairly tall, and I’m super glad I did. I had the exit seat on this slightly over 2 hour flight to Montreal. We boarded a bit late and took off late. This was my first time flying a CRJ that had PTV’s! I figured I’d play with the enRoute system more on my next flight to Frankfurt, so I just played around with the map which was a nice feature. The flight crew was great and did several drink rounds. They had a BOB option, but gave out free pretzels too. Pretty soon, we landed in Montreal.

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/9502/1000300i.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
And we're off!

http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/1014/1000301s.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Nice to see my home (Kankakee) on that map!

http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/2382/1000302p.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
A bit blurry, but the cabin of the CRJ-705

http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/548/1000303c.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Lots of room the Exit Row

http://img585.imageshack.us/img585/9919/1000305s.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Really liked the moving map.

The walk from our arrival gate to customs was super long! I’m glad I had a little over two hours so I didn’t feel rushed. The inside of the customs area was huge, but they only had one person working the transfer desk. I was born and used to live in Canada, so I hold a Canadian passport, but the guy at the transfer desk barely glanced at that or my next boarding pass, stamped it, and pointed to a door. The guy at the door just said “Go Ahead” so I did. I had about an hour and a half until my next flight, so I walked around the beautiful terminal in Montreal. Boarding started a bit late again through Gate 52, but I was onboard quickly.

Thursday, March 10, 2011
Air Canada flight 874
Montreal YUL - Frankfurt FRA
STD: 8:00pm
ATD: 8:45pm
STA: 8:00am
ATA: 7:45am
B777-300, Seat 19A

http://img831.imageshack.us/img831/6323/1000308i.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Ready to head to FRA

http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/2522/1000309x.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Information

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By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Loading

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By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Legroom

I got settled into Seat 19A, and the legroom was fantastic. There is no seat in front of it, so you can pretty much stretch out as much as you need. The 777 was spotless and each seat had a pillow and blanket on it. We took off a bit late again, but the crew was quick to start service. They came around with headphones first, which were complimentary. About an hour into the flight, dinner service started. The choice was chicken or pasta, and I went for the pasta. It was in a meat sauce, and came with vegetables, a bread roll, cake, and a bottle of water. I was always first to be served with drinks and food since they started at Row 18 each time. The flight crew was great, and came around roughly twice an hour the entire flight to make sure we had drinks and were comfortable.

http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/994/1000312x.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Dinner

http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/3038/1000315hc.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Map

http://img163.imageshack.us/img163/3329/1000323q.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Getting Closer

http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/8516/1000325q.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Almost There!

The moving map feature was really nice, though 5 hours into the flight, all it was really doing was making me anxious to arrive and finally get settled. There was a great selection of movies, music and TV shows, and after watching some I listened to my iPod and slept for an hour or so. Breakfast was just a banana-nut roll, which was good, but it would of been nice warm! Cabin was cleaned up and we landed a little 7 hours later. I then quickly realized that all the German words I knew would do me absolutely no good. That’s what I get for taking Spanish all through college.

Anyway, it’s a huge international airport, so the signs are in English. The walk was even longer than Montreal, so I’m happy we landed early again! Down four levels, through a huge walkway, and back up! I needed my boarding pass for my flight to Barcelona, and got that printed off, cleared customs and security, and headed to Gate A30 for my next flight.

http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/8193/1000326l.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Followed this sign quite a bit!

http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/2445/1000330b.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13

http://img62.imageshack.us/img62/312/1000331m.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13

I was getting pretty tired at this point, but my day was far from over. Our flight was announced to be delayed by 30 minutes, and I found a free espresso machine at the next gate over, which was just what I needed! I also found it very amusing to see the LH staff riding around FRA on bikes, but you might as well with how big that airport is!

Friday, March 11, 2011
Lufthansa flight 1126 (or 1129. I can’t remember, I’m sorry. My sheet has AC 9186)
Frankfurt FRA - Barcelona BCN
STD: 9:35am
ATD: 10:05am
STA: 11:30am
ATA: 12:05pm
A321, Seat 30A

The A321 was super clean and had LH’s new interior. The middle seat remained free, which was nice. We sat at the gate for quite some time with no announcements made or anything, but we pushed back and took off fairly quickly. The flight attendant serving my section was probably one of the friendliest I’ve ever encountered, and served bowls of mixed fruit and a pastry. The flight itself was over the Alps and was very picturesque and I was very happy that I had a window seat. We landed in Barcelona behind schedule, and I claimed my luggage about 20 minutes after landing. Walked through the doorway marked “Nothing to Declare” and was not questioned or stopped by any customs agent, who seemed to be few and far between. My sister was waiting in the airport, and it was great to see her. Since we had almost 7 hours before our flight to LIS, we hopped on the Aerobus to her host Mom’s house where I would be staying. After walking around the Rambla and getting lunch, we hooked up with two of her friends and got back on the Aerobus back to the airport!

http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/7299/1000336a.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Take off from FRA

http://img695.imageshack.us/img695/9259/1000333p.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Nice Cabin

http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/5531/1000340q.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Great Scenery
We had just hand luggage, and we all printed out our boarding passes so clearing security was very easy. Vueling actually gave us the option to print them out 15 days in advance. The information monitor didn’t assign us a gate or concourse, so we just kind of hung out outside the security checkpoint waiting for something. Our departure time came and went, and finally they assigned a gate on the A concourse and a 1.5 hour delayed departure time. There was still a hoard of people waiting to board.

Friday, March 11, 2011
Vueling flight 8614
Barcelona BCN - Lisbon LIS
STD: 8:15pm
ATD: 9:32pm
STA: 10:10pm
ATA: 11:05pm
A320, Seat 15A

So, Vueling...what is there to say? This was the most chaotic boarding process I’ve ever been through, and took forever, since people were all over the plane. No welcome by any of the flight crew when we got on, and they carried the attitude that we were inconveniencing them the entire time by showing up. The floor had a lot of crumbs and debris, and the seat pockets were not cleaned up. There were quite a few marks on the wall, and the aisle seat two rows up’s armrest was upside down, hanging from the seat! Not a good first impression at all. We took off late into the night, and later encountered the roughest flight I’ve ever been on! It was a solid 1.5 hours of being thrown around, and with lots of lightning outside, we must of been flying through a storm. The fasten seat belt sign remained off for most of this, and it finally smoothed out for the last 20 minutes or so. Landed late in Lisbon, and grabbed a taxi to our hotel (Lisbon Marriott, a great place - though I do work for Marriott, so I might be biased with the employee rate!) Taxi’s were cheap and plentiful.

Lisbon was a fantastic city. So much unique architecture, great food, friendly people, and things to do! Shame we only had two days to spend there. On our last day, we headed back to Lisbon Portela Airport for a Vueling flight back to Barcelona. We were at least hoping for a cleaner plane and a smoother ride, but as my sister said “They did get us here.” True.

The line for security was pretty long, and took about 45 minutes to clear. LIS is a very cool and modern airport. We grabbed some quick dinner since we’d be arriving in BCN

Sunday, March 13, 2011
Vueling flight 8463
Lisbon LIS - Barcelona BCN
STD: 8:45pm
ATD: 9:15pm
STA: 11:30pm
ATA: 11:35pm
A320, Seat 13B

http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/6996/1000598x.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13

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http://img694.imageshack.us/img694/6329/1000601h.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13

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By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13

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http://img696.imageshack.us/img696/4442/1000606u.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Vueling cabin in much better shape.

Boarding was just as chaotic, but this aircraft was very clean and had a much updated interior. We took off a bit late again, but not a huge deal. The crew on this flight was nowhere near as friendly as AC or LH, but offered a BOB service, but only came to you if you pressed the call button. Not many people rang, so we didn’t see very much of our crew. Landed in Barcelona shortly before Midnight, and I was surprised by how many people were still at the airport. Grabbed the Aerobus to Placa Catalunya and the Metro to El Puxtet and crashed at her host Mom’s house.

Barcelona was a great time, and it was great to see what she does everyday with school and daily life. We took a trip to Dublin on FR (which I’ll cover later) for St. Patrick’s Day, and took daytrips to Montserrat and Sitges which were both great times.

Days later, it was time for me to return to Illinois. Said goodbye to my sister and that I’d see her in May, and left. I had a very early flight, so I took advantage of my Marriott Associate Rate and stayed at the Renaissance Barcelona Airport. It was very nice, but my flight left before the free shuttle started.

Sunday, March 20, 2010

The line for LH check in was huge already, and it took about 50 minutes to get through it. My bags were tagged to ORD, and I was issued all three boarding passes. No issues getting through security, and boarded right on time. I don’t have any pictures since I slept through the entire flight, but it was pretty routine and dark outside anyway.

Lufthansa flight LH 1129 (or 1126. One of them was FRA-BCN and the other is BCN-FRA, but I have AC codeshares on my itinerary and forgot which was which.)
Barcelona BCN - Frankfurt FRA
STD: 6:25am
ATD: 6:31am
STA: 8:45am
ATA: 8:45am
A321, Seat 15D

Very nice Lufthansa crew again, but I slept for most of the flight. Nice clean new interior, very comfortable seats. Landed in FRA on time, and I started out on the super-long connection hike.

There were a ton of students on this flight, the majority of which started off in FCO and were heading home to YYZ, I picked up. We boarded on time, but the process dragged on and on. We were told that we needed to wait 40 minutes before pushback after boarding, so we just sat for a while.

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Air Canada flight 873
Frankfurt FRA - Toronto YYZ
STD: 10:00am
ATD: 11:15am
STA: 1:30pm
ATA: 2:40pm
B777, Seat 18A

http://img219.imageshack.us/img219/8816/1000817d.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Take-off

http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/7153/1000823b.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Heading to Toronto

The money I shelled out for premium seats paid off again, and I had the first row of coach with the bulkhead seats. Played around with the enRoute system again, but the map didn’t work for the entire flight, nor did any of the CBC news programmes or AC information. Sort of a letdown. Lunch was served, and it was a chicken dish with a bread roll, small salad, and cookies. It was nice. The crew was just as attentive as on the last AC flight, constantly coming around with drinks and pretzels. I managed to get 3 hours of sleep, which was nice. I noticed that we were pretty late, and I had a very tight connection. We landed in YYZ late and I made a mad dash for the baggage claim.

I asked an AC agent if I would make 509 to Chicago, and she had a boarding pass sitting out with my name on it for AC 511, and said if my bag didn’t show up in the next two minutes, I would not make the connection. Suddenly, I found my bag, and she called to get permission to take me through crew customs and security. We literally ran to Gate 132, where AC 509 was heading to Chicago. I made it on the plane super fast, all thanks to this agent, who seemed genuinely determined to help me make the connection.

After all that, bad weather in ORD issued a ground stop. We sat on the plane at the gate for almost an hour before we pushed back. I guess I could of made the connection after all, though I got to see a part of the airport the common traveller doesn’t. Which was pretty cool, in my book.

Sunday, March 20, 2011
Air Canada 509
Toronto YYZ - Chicago ORD
STD: 3:05pm
ATD: 4:50pm
STA: 3:50pm
ATA: 5:02pm
E175, Seat 12A

Had a nice seat in the first row of coach, and watched Black Swam on the PTV. Fairly rough flight with all the storms, but we landed at O’Hare pretty late and taxiied around the entire airport (including going over the I-190 bridge!) so that took a while. Finally got off at Gate E1 and I found my Mom waiting in the baggage claim area. All the luggage came out, except mine, so I went into the baggage airport and was told that it was put on AC 511, and I could wait two hours for it, since AC 511 was delayed too. She said they could deliver it for free to my house tomorrow, and I went with that since I was home. My suitcase finally showed up two days later, and I was grateful for that. Enjoyed catching up with my Mom during our 1.5 hour drive home, and for as much fun as it was being abroad, it was great to be back home!

http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/525/1000825v.jpg
By chefpschildgen at 2011-04-13
Finally!

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinestaralliance38 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 1445 posts, RR: 3
Reply 1, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 11664 times:

Thank you for sharing! Great TR! It's very cool that the CRJs have PTVs, and I wish US airlines had that haha. AC looks great, too!


Roar, lion, roar
User currently offlinebillaskier From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 13 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 11570 times:

Nice report and good pictures! Especially from a fellow Marriott associate...  

I've been researching some European trips and a few of them having me departing on AC from BOS...it's good to see what products they offer. I can't believe they have PTV's on a CRJ700...very nice.

Thanks for sharing!


User currently offlinetoobz From Finland, joined Jan 2010, 785 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 11224 times:

Nice TR! Good reading. I too have never been in a CRJ with IFE. And what a deal $50 to get all that legroom on both segments!!

User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 11146 times:

Thanks for the comments everybody!

From what I remember, only the CRJ-705's are equipped with the PTV's. AC had a great international product and I strongly recommend it!

I also noticed that closer to the departure dates, the $50 for premium seats jumped to $75. I thought it was $50 per leg but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was for all the legs!


User currently offlinenethkt From Thailand, joined Apr 2001, 1086 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 10531 times:

Oh yeah CRJ with PTV! It's like you are riding your own private jet! I actually love CRJ, esp with PTV!!

Is this your first time to Europe? Oh yeah, it can be so different than the USA!

Glad you had fun! Did you get mileage accounted to your FFP? Make sure you have them because you'll earn free flights in no time  

Thanks for the report on Air Canada trans-atlantic service!



Let's just blame it on yields.
User currently offlinelychemsa From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1203 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 10399 times:

You are lucky that you got your suitcase 2 days later. When I flew on AC from GVA to NYC via YUL, I never got my suitcase and it's been 2 years now that I am waiting for it. I had 3 address labels on it.

I found AC very mediocre, exactly like the US airlines. However their employees were always very pleasant. My regular seat was comfortable so I am glad I did not pay the $50 extra. I had 32" legroom which I find decent.


User currently offlinewhiteguy From Canada, joined Nov 2003, 794 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9736 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting SouthwestMDW (Reply 4):
From what I remember, only the CRJ-705's are equipped with the PTV's. AC had a great international product and I strongly recommend it!

I also noticed that closer to the departure dates, the $50 for premium seats jumped to $75. I thought it was $50 per leg but I was pleasantly surprised to find it was for all the legs!

For next time I wouldn't bother paying for the extra leg room. The CRJ-705 has plenty of room in all seats. The 705 is actually a CRJ-900 aircraft with only 75 seats, its designed to hold 90 seats.


User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9651 times:

Quoting whiteguy (Reply 7):
For next time I wouldn't bother paying for the extra leg room. The CRJ-705 has plenty of room in all seats. The 705 is actually a CRJ-900 aircraft with only 75 seats, its designed to hold 90 seats.

True, though I mainly bought the extra leg room for the flights to/from FRA. I'm 6'4", so it was much more comfortable. The one time $50 got me the upgraded seats on all flights not operated by LH.


User currently offlinedebonair From Germany, joined Jan 2004, 2430 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (3 years 5 months 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 9235 times:

Quoting SouthwestMDW (Thread starter):
So, Vueling...what is there to say? This was the most chaotic boarding process I’ve ever been through, and took forever, since people were all over the plane. No welcome by any of the flight crew when we got on, and they carried the attitude that we were inconveniencing them the entire time by showing up. The floor had a lot of crumbs and debris, and the seat pockets were not cleaned up. There were quite a few marks on the wall, and the aisle seat two rows up’s armrest was upside down, hanging from the seat!


As I posted in an earlier TR- VUELING WAS one of the best low-cost carriers in the world! Great crews, new planes and best part, Ibiza-chill-out-music all the way!
But after this company was merged with Iberia's low-cost company clickair, it's all going down the drain. clickair was one of the worst low-cost companys I have encountered- especially the crew attitude and old, tired, dirty ex IB planes. Wouldn't wonder me, if you have ended up on this trip with an ex clickair a/c & crew! It is easy to identify- nearly all ex VUELING a/c are equipped with inflight entertainment (but no longer in use    ).


User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7298 posts, RR: 85
Reply 10, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 8283 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Take any pictures in Lisboa? I'd love to see them. Nice report btw.   

User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 7545 times:

Of course, I have a ton of pictures. I'm making an effort to upload them in my free time, and right now only have the Lisbon ones up, and they don't all have captions quite yet. They are at http://patschildgen.smugmug.com

I do have them all up on my facebook as well, you can search "Patrick Schildgen". I belong to the Northern Illinois University network if that helps.

Thanks for the interest!


User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7298 posts, RR: 85
Reply 12, posted (3 years 4 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 7414 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I assume your sister is the one in the pictures? She is gorgeous!   

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