I was gonna wait for my photos before posting this, but if i wait much longer ill start forgeting stuff so here it goes:
May 20th, Flight AC1332 operated by Air Canada Regional/Air ontario Dash 8-300 (C-GVON). May 20th was the middle of Victoria Day weekend in Canada, and it was this nice sunny day that we left. Our flight was scheduled to leave Timmins (YTS) at 1645. We boarded at 1620 and were in the air at 1637, 7 minutes early. The flight was very light, only 12 people on board including the 2 of us and the 3 crew, strange for a 50 seat aircraft. We had seats 1a/b reserved but we quickly claimed both 1a/b and 2a/b... i sat in 1b so i could stretch out my legs. We arrived in Toronto right on time and were in the terminal by 1830.
T1 is not my idea of a great place to wait. But we passed the time with a meal and some duty free shopping.
Flight AC862, operated by Air Canada, A330-300:
We went to the boarding gate around 2030 for our flight scheduled to leave at 2210. Gate HH, the aircraft was C-GFAH, and was sitting serenly outside the window. All went well, we spent most of the time watching a large group of Taiwanese tourists and watching planes taxi past. (LH 744, AC A340 in Star C/S, Alitalia 763...)
They called boarding at 2120, and called our row as in the first ones called. So we trail a young couple down the jetway and queue up. Just as im stepping into the aircraft, wham, all the lights go out. Im asked to step back into the jetway along with 5 others that had just boarded. As all this is going on we hear a very loud "ah f***" from the flight deck and the Captain comes out to the jetway and calls the ground station. A few seconds later one of the mechanics comes up and explains one of the ground crew tripped over the power cord to the GPU and managed to pop the breaker.Just as he's finishing his conversation with the captain the plane lights back up. We board and head for our seats, 31A/B.
Talk about leg room!!! we have more than 1st class (im serious). Ok ok... its the exit row so there is tons upon tons of legroom... about 5 feet total. We leave the gate 10 minutes late. As we are taxing out the F/As discover that the little blackout has fried the entertainment video system. It stays out the whole flight despite several attempts to reset it. Oh well... the flight again isnt anywhere near full, maybe half full if that.
We Taxi out and are airborne just after 2245. Trents really do sound like RB.211s. I was amazed at how different the airbus felt than its baby brother. So slow and smooth accelerating. But it also didnt climb very fast.
We get a beautiful view of Montreal as we cruise east. Dawn breaks mid-atlantic in a beautiful display.
We cross the Irish Coast at about 9:30 local and start our descent into Heathrow around 10. Birmingham passes by on our left, and the sky is filled with more and more aircraft.
We begin a final letdown into LHR but then enter a racetrack hold. we go around 5 times, or 8 minutes worth then veer out. There are at least 4 other aircraft in the hold, a BA744 enters just as we leave and a 757 is just above him.
We touchdown just after 10:30 local, 5 minutes late. But then we literally taxi around in circles because they gave our gate away.
Well we get off the aircraft at 1105. we clear immigration and set off for our 1st Hotel, the Hilton Kensington. We take the Airbus bus service. We arrive at the Hotel just after 1230, where upon i manage to clunk my head really good on the escape hatch from the bus. Ill now skip to the next flights...
May 25th, Flight BD4 operated by BMI british midland on an Airbus A320 (G-MIDV)
Checking in at Heathrow T1 is an interesting experience... we queue for over an hour to check in, luckly we have plenty of time.
We depart from gate 22, the closest one thank god. We leave on time and taxi out rather quickly, waiting only for 2 other aircraft to takeoff on 9R (Virgin 747 and Ba 757).
We climb out of Heathrow quickly and cruise northwards.
The flight goes well besides the flight attendant managing to knock over a drinks cart... seeing ice cubes go scittering down the cabin was interesting...
We land 5 minutes early and taxi to the gate... no problems
May 28th, FLight BD9, operated by BMI british midland on an A320 (G-MIDZ). This flight went very well, i must say BMI is very comfortable even in economy. Right on schedule the whole way... arrived at gate 22.
June 1st, Flight AC3087, operated by Canadian Airlines on a 767-300ER (C-FCAE). WE board this flight and this time there are no blackouts
, though it is very full, i see no empty seats. We have seats 16a/b this time, fairly comfy, not as good as the A330 though. We taxi out and around to runway 27L, where we get caught in a conga line, though only 5 planes ahead of us. We spin around and start rolling instantly. I can barely hear any change in engine noise as the engines spool up to full power. We take a good chunk of the runway but we're on our way home.
The flight goes quite well, i amuse myself with reading Dale Brown's "Warrior Class". 2 films are shown, Miss Congeniality and Robin Hood and His Merry Men (1950-60 somewhere version, with Olivia deHavilland et al).
Not much to see this time, clouds cover most of the Atlantic, but break to give a nice view of Newfoundland and Gander airport. The clouds get thick and turbulence starts to shake the plane as we begin our descent into Toronto. Grey envelops us a good ways up. 15 minutes pass in the murk, 20, almost 25 when the landing alert for the cabin crew sounds, still only grey murk outside. another 2 minutes pass, nothing but grey. The gear drop and still no sign of the ground is visible, im starting to expect a go around.. lower we go... and then there it is, the ground, then i realise we're over the airport already and screetch... we're down... a nice misty decel and we're back on Canadian soil. On time too!
We taxi to T1 and get off. We clear customs without much bother. and then get to walk across the disinfectant mats. We drop our bags off on the connecting baggage belt, only to discover one of the bags is missing its tag, suprised it arrived at all at this point, we get another one and deposit it. The Boards are covered with delays and cancellations, but somehow our flight to Timmins is on time. We only have 80 minutes befre our flight to Timmins so we hurry up to gate CC. We buy a couple of hotdogs and drinks and sit in the gate area.
Flight AC1333, Operated by Air Canada Regional/ air ontario on a Dash 8-100 (? C-FXON)
We board this flight, seats 1a/b again. This flight is FULL though. The flight attendant tells us they were supposed to be flying to Sudbury but that the flight was cancelled. We leave the gate on time but get stuck in a typical traffic jam, though im having a hard time noticing, my body thinks it 3am
. We takeoff 30 minutes after leaving the gate and head North. The flight is suprisingly smooth. I realise im feeling very thirsty and realise i got dehydrated on the previous flight, i ask for water, without ice, where upon the F/A asks me if i would like more than a glass, unsure what she means i say yes, where upon she hands me her bottle from the overhead, talk about service
. after drinks service the Captain comes on and tells us we're about to start down, i check my watch, we're only 45 minutes out of Toronto, he must be kidding? but no, we startdown just 50 minutes out of Toronto. As we're decending the F/A sits down and straps in and starts talking to us (shes sitting right in front of me). Turns out shes married to the Captain. Anyways, we touch down at 2305, on schedule! i check my watch, 1:10!
An airOntario ground agent talks to us while we wait for the sky check cart. We broke the Dash 8 record for YYZ-YTS he tells us, they were expecting us to be late, and they're expecting the flight to North Bay to land in Timmins cause they couldnt get in in North Bay, and Toronto is too busy to take them back.
We retrive all our bags and get in our ride home.
Conclusion: A330s are good planes as long as no one unplugs them. Mind your head on London busses. BMI is a good airline. Canadian 767 pilots are GOOD. Dash 8s arent all bad. And a very special thx to that flight attendant.
Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.