WARNING: This is my first trip report so please be kind
After four months of school fun, (no this is not an oxymoron!) it was time for me to hit the skies back to Ontario, from Nova Scotia where I go to school. However, before I returned it was time for one last road trip to my friends house in New Brunswick for a few days. Since my friend lives in Bathurst, New Brunswick (for those who do not know the Canadian geography so well it's on the north shore of the province), I decided to take the opportunity to fly out of Bathurst's Airport, ZBF. Yes, I was shocked to find out that Air Canada Jazz flew a Dash 8-100 into this small airport, offering one flight a day between Bathurst and Montreal
AIR CANADA JAZZ FLIGHT#8745
Bathurst NB (ZBF)- Montreal Trudeau (YUL)
Equipment: Dash 8-300 (equipment change from usual Dash 8-100)
Seat: 10 A (Emergency Exit Row)
Load Factor: Estimating 90-95%
Duration: 2 hours
Registration: Unknown although it was one of the orange leaf planes....
Gate Number: The only gate at the airport
Date: Thursday, May 11th, 2006
Schuduled Departure Time: 4:50 pm (AST)
Actual Departure Time: closer to 5:10 pm (AST)
Schuduled Arrival Time: 5:50 pm (EST)
Actual Arrival Time: 5:40 pm (EST)
The trip started with leaving for the airport at around 4 pm. This was kind of different for me, as I usual leave for the Halifax Airport about 4 or 5 hours before my flight time, because of the time it takes for the bus to get there, and about 2 hours before a flight at Toronto Pearson, because I live an hour away from the airport. But since the airport is 10 minutes from my friends house, it wasn't an issue. I had never travelled from the Bathurst Airport, and was expecting small, but judging by the picture below, I never anticipated this small!
The funny thing is that the Airport Improvement Fee is $40 CDN!!!!! Toronto Pearson is only $15!!!! I wonder what they spend all the money on. The terminal is about the size of my living room and kitchen at home! Anyways, we parked and walked to the terminal, and surprisingly it was quite busy, and there was a bit of a line to check in. When I approached the desk, the Jazz agent was very friendly, and asked me to weigh my bags. Well with my luck, and the only thing I hate about Air Canada, my 2 bags were over the 50 kgs that Air Canada allows in Hospitality Class. She was kind enough to tell me that if I made one of the bags below 50 lbs that I would only have to pay for the fee once. So she took me off to the side, and while I rearranged my bags, she got me my boarding passes and tags for my bags and came back over to me. She then directed me to the screening area for hold luggage, which I found surprising, as I've never had to do that before. So after lifting my heavy luggage onto the belt, one of my bags, the one with all my stuff in it of course, had a lighter, and that wasn't allowed to go in my hold luggage. So the agent helped me, in front of the airport, go through my bag to find it, which we did. After that I rejoined my friends as the plane hadn't arrived yet. As we stepped outside, my plane had just landed, and to my surprise, it was a Dash 8-300, not the original Dash 8-100! Fog had cancelled the flight yesterday, so they flew in a bigger plane for the overflow today!
Air Canada Jazz Dash 8-300 arriving at ZBF
I took a couple of pictures, and this one women waved at me, as if she knew me...or at least I thought she was waving at my friends and I, as it was just us outside.
Passengers getting off plane at ZBF
Anyways, I said goodbye to my friends and went through security with no problems, and sat at the gate. A few minutes later, a general boarding call was made for our flight, and everyone got into line. As we handed the agent our boarding passes, she scratched our names off the paper manifest! I've never seen that before! We then proceeded to walk across the tarmac to the plane, which I found surprisingly roomy inside. I was anticipating it to be a lot more cramped then it was. I found Seat 10A and was pleased to find out it was an emergency exit! The only bad thing is that the view is often blocked by the wing and whilst on the ground, the landing gear, so I couldn't see my friends wave me goodbye very well.
As I read the Enroute magazine, I thought I would be lucky to get a seat all to myself, however at the last minute, a group of French women got on and one plopped down next to me. She stunk like cigarette smoke. I thought lovely. The lone flight attendant came up to the four of us in the emergency row, and asked us if we wanted the usual instructions on how to operate the door in English or French. The other three replied in French, and I replied in English, so she had to repeat it to me in English. I found kind of bad, but I haven't taken French since Grade 9, so it is not so good to say the least.
Something I found interesting on Jazz flights, is that all the departure and arrival announcements are prerecorded, and the flight attendant does not have to say a word. I thought it might have been because the flight attendant did not speak enough french at first (they have prerecorded messages on WestJet because a lot of their FA's are not bilingual) but then I remembered she spoke perfect french. Anyways, soon we were off, and since there was no other traffic, we took off quickly.
As soon as we leveled off, the flight attendant got up and started a drinks service, and then offered snacks. She did it in a way, that maybe is how they do it on Jazz, I have never seen. She walked down the aisle with the snacks in the aisle, and then passengers would choose between the pretzel mix and oreos. It was interesting. As we flew I took some pictures of the ground below.
Bye-Bye NB and Atlantic Canada!
I also took a picture of the legroom in the emergency exit row.
I felt a little odd taking photos on the plane as I have never done it before, and was nervous what my seatmate might think or say. But then I remembered she did not speak a word of English, (I said something to her in English, and she looked at me like I had 4 eyes) so I didn't bother worrying after that. I apologize about the poor quality of some of the pics, I was trying to be as quick as possible.
Since these planes do not have any in-flight entertainment other then the Enroute magazine, which I must admit is a good read, I read my novel on the Quebec Biker War gangs of the 1990s with great interest. Before I knew it, we were landing at Montreal's Trudeau International Airport, where I took a few pics while landing.
A view of Olympic Stadium and the surrounding area of East Montreal.
A view of downtown Montreal and Mount Royal
After we landed we parked at Gate 46C where we disembarked and walked into the terminal building. The Jazz gates are in a distant part of the terminal, where you have to walk underground to. My next flight was in the main, old part, so I walked over there, before realizing I had 3 hours before my next flight. Even though Air Canada has Rapidair flights between YUL and YYZ every hour, the cheapest connection possibility, and by cheapest I mean by around $100, meant a 3 hour layover in Montreal.
I have a love-hate relationship with the Trudeau Airport, as in I love to hate it, but I often fly through it between Toronto and Halifax for extra Aeroplan miles. I hate it because it has an odd setup, and there isn't much air side in terms of food. I hate going through security so I usually end up going hungry. But since I had three hours, I decided to venture to the other side. I walked around the check-in areas, and realized how many airlines flew out of YUL. I didn't know that Royal Air Morac had a flight to Casablanca, nor that KLM flew to Amsterdam. After walking around, I went to the food court area, where I had a delicious, well for Burger King, meal. After that, I went and sat outside, where I saw a KLM MD-11 take off over the building. I tried to take a picture, but the batteries died!
After sitting outside for half an hour, I decided to go through security. When the agent was directing me to a gate, I said Hello, How are you? to him, and then he started to speak French at me. When I looked at him, like what the heck he said, he rudely repeated it in English. I'm sorry, but that really pissed me off. I know that French is the primary language in Quebec, and had I not have spoken to English to him already, I would have been fine with him assuming I was a Francophone. However, since he knew I was an Anglophone, he was just plain rude.
Anyways, I wondered over to the new and nice international jetty, and watched planes over there, then headed to my gate for my flight to board.
AIR CANADA RAPIDAIR FLIGHT 429
Montreal Trudeau (YUL)-Toronto Pearson (YYZ)
Equipment:Airbus A320 (in the old livery!)
Load Factor: 86% ( I heard a flight attendant tell another one this)
Duration: 1 hour 15 minutes
Gate Number: 2
Date: Thursday, May 11th, 2006
Scheduled Departure Time: 9:00 pm
Actual Departure Time: 9:00 pm
Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:15 pm
Actual Arrival Time: 10:20 pm
When I looked out the window at the gate, I noticed that this bird was still in the old AC livery, and not the infamous toothpaste livery. Boarding was prompt, and before I knew it I was seat in 14F close to the beginning of Hospitality Class. The door closed quickly, and before I knew it we were on our way. To my amazement, the middle seat, 14E was empty! That has never happened to me. The other guy in 14D and I enjoyed the extra room. I noticed that Air Canada introduced a new safety video. It was much more professional and modern, in my view, then the old one. I mean honestly though, who the heck tries to print a document on a plane!
We took off quickly, where the flight attendants handed out headsets for the CBC News that was shown on the overhead screens on the short flight. Many people criticize Air Canada's cabin crew, but I find that everyone I have encountered has been nothing short of professional and friendly (well except for one of the older ones on AC 860 to London Heathrow who was really nasty). Drink and snack service was distributed and before I knew it, it was time to land at Toronto Pearson. When we landed, we pulled up to our gate, but they did not have a crew ready to bring us in, so we had to wait about five minutes. The funny thing was, that even why we had to wait, I'd say the majority of the plane got up and stood in the aisle. It was nice sitting in my seat waiting for the door to open. I mean standing really doesn't let you leave the plane if the door is closed! Soon after I walked down to the impressive Arrivals Hall at Toronto Pearson Terminal One. Terminal One, in my opinion, is a stunning structure, and is one of my favourite terminal buildings I have been too. I cannot wait until the whole thing is finished.
I got a luggage buggy, which I had to use my AMEX to pay for because I had no change, and waited patiently for my bags. I like that they have big televisions with the news at the carousels, probably because you have to wait ages for your bags! After about 15 minutes, both my bags arrived and I walked out the doors and met my father. Before I knew it, we were out of Pearson, and I was asleep on the hour trek home.
The crew was really friendly, and on the Jazz flight even though their was buy-on-board, free snacks were still offered
On-Time Performance: 8.5/10
Other then minor delays departing ZBF, and arriving at YYZ, it was generally on time
Seats were comfortable, and the emergency exit was a nice bonus!
The ticket was somewhat pricey, costing $280 one way, where a one way from Halifax to Toronto is $199. However part of the overinflated cost is the $40 Airport Improvement Fee that ZBF charges, which isn't the fault of AC. Before taxes, the difference was well, only $40 dollars.