MEL From Canada, joined Oct 1999, 1082 posts, RR: 13 Posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 9096 times:
I intended to go to London Heathrow for some spotting, but that did not happen. I boarded an Air Canada A320 (travelling as staff, again), and a few minutes after sitting into my comfortable middle seat, I was asked to leave the airplane and take the next flight. I thought... maybe the fuelers put too much fuel onboard, and now we were overweight. Nope -- the incharge flight attendent forgot her announcement manual, and apparently it is required of each F/A to have theirs. Without having any spares (you'd think because Air Canada has an F/A base in Winnipeg, they would have spares... nope), they removed her from the flight, and max'ed the passenger count to 120 (Canada's rules are generally 1 F/A per 40 pax)... so myself, and 7 other employees were bumped. This forced me to misconnect in Toronto to London, so I had to come up with another plan/destination.
I chose to go in the opposite direction to Calgary and continuing to Los Angeles to go see my brother who was finishing a weekend down there, and accompany him back for his Los Angeles-Chicago-Toronto red-eye itinerary on United. So, off to Calgary now.
Economy Class was full, so I was lucky to get into Business Class, on this Star Alliance aircraft. We departed from RWY 36, and cruised low at FL280 probably because of reported turbulence higher, and landed on RWY 16 in Calgary. A small snack was served for J-class passengers. The connection process was simple. There was a 5min line at customs, and clearing customs was easy.
After clearing customs I went to take a picture of the airplane (C-FYJB)... a plane I had flown probably 3 times in the last 2 months, and immediately saw and recognized Jon Lovitz sitting at the bar eating some Harvey's (fast food), and asking the bartender about how the Edmonton Oilers were doing in the playoffs. He was travelling with someone, and seated in Business Class. No clue what he was doing in Calgary. Photo is attached.
We departed off RWY 16, and immediately I fell asleep for the entire flight. We ended up landing on RWY 24R at LAX, just as the sun was setting. I took a few photos and videos at Los Angeles, curbside next to Terminal 2, and about an hour later went to the United Airlines terminal to find my brother. I saw him checking in, so I joined him... we were issued standby cards for Business Class, and were told to go to Terminal 6 for boarding.
United normally doesn't operate a 747 on the Los Angeles-Chicago sector, this was just a one-time operation. It was even more strange to see it operating on the red-eye. But I knew it was operating this flight weeks in advance, that's why I chose it.
At the gate our names were called, and we were given 2 seats together in Business on the Upper Deck. United treats non-revs the best. Delta too... but Air Canada employees don't have benefits on Delta.
Channel 9 ATC was on the audio system, a nice feature that I had completely forgotten existed on United. We pushed back from Terminal 6 a few minutes late, and joined the lineup for south side departures (mainly the United red-eyes, Phillipines, and Air New Zealand). The takeoff roll, as expected, was extremely short, and we did the typical left turn out, another left turn, and pretty much direct Las Vegas and further oncourse. A small snack was served to F and C-class passengers.
Arrival into Chicago was early. We were descending for a straight-in approach to RWY 14R, just as the sun was starting to rise. Upon landing, we taxied to gate B16, where we deplaned, took a few photos of the airplane with the little sunlight that was around, and went to our connecting flight.
This flight was scheduled to operated as a B733, but apparently they had switched to an A319, which has the exact same seat capacity in both cabins. I prefer the A319, as I regard the 737-300 as on of the most boring airplanes flying in the skies. The flight was also supposed to be very lightly booked, at about 30 percent load factor, but one of the flights must have cancelled the night before, cause we barely made it onboard. My bro was way up in row 6, I was near the back.
We pushed from gate C24, and taxiied for departure off RWY 22L, cruised at FL330, and then shot an approach to RWY 06L at Pearson. Channel 9 ATC was on the audio system again (way to go UAL). The customs hall at Terminal 2 at Pearson was empty. We caught the shuttle to long-term parking, got the car. I dropped my brother off at work, then went back to his place and slept.
The next day I decided to go up to Montreal for some spotting with my buddies up there.
I took a photo or two around Pearson, while waiting for the 10:00 Rapidair to Montreal. It was nice to see that AC15 to Hong Kong was now gated at Terminal 1 proper, instead of the Infield Terminal. Everyone I have talked to that has used the Infield Terminal has nothing but shit to say about it. I myself have never departed/arrived from there. But it will be really nice when Terminal 1 is large enough that Air Canada and Star partners don't have to use it.
I boarded from gate 128, pushed early, and rotated off RWY 24R early, with a left turn out to Montreal. Enroute I read the Globe and Mail newspaper which had just published an article about the excessively-high landing fees at Pearson, and how it was now the most expensive airport to land a plane at. The estimations the article gave were about $11,000 usd for landing fees for a B744, and about $2000 usd for an A320. Crazy. The Airport Authority justifies the landing fees by stating that all it's services are all-inclusive in the landing fees (gate services, de-icing, that sorta stuff). Wow, though, 2 grand to land an A320!
We landed on RWY 24L at Montreal, and we seemed to be the only mainline aircraft on the domestic finger. It was a quiet time of day I guess. My friend Youri picked me up, we grabbed lunch, then met up with another friend Alex, and went spotting. The skies were clear, so weather was ideal, but there was some heat haze that prohibited some long-range photos. We were spotting for the entire afternoon. I then caught a Jazz CRJ to Ottawa and overnighted with another brother there.
This was a late night flight. The load was dismal, which was nice, because most Air Canada and Jazz flights I had taken in the last two months have had load factors in the 90 percent area. We pushed back from the Aeroquay, which up until a recent facelift to the interior, was in my opinion, one of the saddest airport terminals I have ever seen in my life. But it looks better now with new seating areas and boarding desks.
The flight was relatively quick, and I laughed when I heard our cruise altitude would be 12,000 feet. We departed off RWY 28 at Montreal, and landed on RWY 07 in Ottawa. We parked at the old terminal in Ottawa. I find it ridiculous how Ottawa built a brand new airport a few years ago, yet they still use the old portion of the terminal extensively to gate aircraft. It's a fairly long walk to the new terminal, but to build a new terminal and not have it large enough to house the entire operation is just not right in my books.
I spent the next day driving around Ottawa in my bro's S2000, did some shopping, then went back to Winnipeg via Toronto the next day.
I was forced to check one of my carryons, as I tried to sneak 3 carryons through security. "No sir, you can't take 3 carryons, Transport Canada rules". Okay, I hurry back to the counter, get a backpack checked, then head back to the gate where my name is called for a window seat on a fairly full flight. We pushed back early, departed off RWY 07 early, and landed at Pearson on RWY 06L very early. This allowed me to make a planned 25 minute connection to AC267 to Winnipeg, which was operating late today.
This flight was operating late because of late equipment. I was given a nice middle seat to sleep in for 2 hours. The flight was uneventful. Whenever I am given a middle seat I have no photos or videos to share, or comments about the flight... as I usually end up bobbing my head back and forth trying to sleep during the flight.
So that's pretty much it. It was a good trip, with a lot of flight segments, but I was able to see family in 2 different cities, visit friends in Montreal, and fly United again, which I hadn't done in about 4 years.
Crjflyer35 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 667 posts, RR: 2 Reply 9, posted (6 years 11 months 1 week 1 hour ago) and read 7994 times:
Awesome report!!! That's the first time I've seen videos posted like that...too cool. I really enjoyed the UA Channel 9 chatter on the 744 operating UA130. I"m actually flying on UA130 on 25 July, but out of SFO on the 752...no 744 for me! Where are the pics of the Star Alliance Jazz RJ?? That is one of the best liverys IMHO. I loved the 60 second meal service before and after shots...truly hilarious...my coworkers gave me funny looks when I laughed out loud. Again, great report!
Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
Boeing744 From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 1769 posts, RR: 25 Reply 10, posted (6 years 11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 7730 times:
Awesome report, pics and videos (again)! I really enjoy reading your reports!
I was just wondering, how did you find Ottawa's airport? I am flying through there this summer, and have a longish connection. Are there any spotting opportunities in the terminal? Thanks in advance for any answers!