Hello, I'm just back from Orlando, after a week holiday in the sunshine state. Ok, I decided to take AC as it's my regular choice, but after those flights, I think I'm gonna use my Aeroplan points foe a free flight and fly WestJet or Transat next time. (Believe me, you wouldn't have heard me talking like this before about AC,but the flights I took were just amazingly bad)
Itinerary: YOW (Ottawa-intl)-YYZ (Toronto-Pearson)
YYZ-MCO (Orlando Intl)
MCO-YOW (Direct service this time)
March 2, 2002:
YOW-YYZ, AC 461
Sched a/c:A319, Actual a/c: A320
Sched Dep: 5:00 pm, Actual dep: 5:00 PM
Sched Arr: 6:06 pm, Actual arr: 5:56 pm
We arrived at the airport about 2 hours before departure
time. The line at the AC counter was short, no waiting time. At the counter, the lady wasn't smiling at all. Not rude, just very ordinary. She asked us the regular safety questions. After asking I'f the a/c was still an A319, she told us, nope, it will be a 320, and on an ironic tone; "They change it all the time". So we were assigned the same rows than I'f we've had a 319: 18 D, E, F. But on a A320, those rows are over the wings, so I knew that I would not see anything (To any AC employee on this web site, why do your web site says on the on-line schedule that it's gonna be a 319 when you put a 320?). At 4:00 pm, we proceeded to security, as the lady at the counter had written on the Boarding passes: B=4:30. The boarding effectively beagan at 4:30 and to my surprise, Economy was full, and Business had only 2 or 3 empty seats. I was sitted behind a giant german guy (and my god, I think the guy hadn't took a shower for days) and in front of a I-know-everything guy, those who made my trip sooooo much fun (for those who didn't notice I'm being sarcastic here) and well..... smelly. We pushed back at 4:52 and were in the air at 5:00pm. The plane was an AC original (with the green seats) in bad conditions. I had a tray table full of Coke and pretzel sticked on it. The plane was quite smelly because it was uncleaned. AC is even replacing the separators by curtains!!!!??????? What's that, the Milton philosophy??? Anyway, I could not described the state of the a/c it would be too long. They served us pretzels and soft drinks. No AirShow. Crew was OK, nothing to be impressed about. AC as even reduced FA from 5 to 4 on the 320s! What's going on? We had a very rough landing at T.O after a 50-minutes flight and took about 6 minutes to taxi to the Rapidair gate. Before unloading, they provided passengers connexions infos.... AC 922 to Orlando, on-time Gate A..... Yeahhh I bet you.
YYZ-MCO, AC 922
Sched a/c: A320, Act a/c: A320
Sched Dep: 8:05 pm, Act dep: 9:15 pm.
Sched Arr: 11:00 pm, Act Arr: 11:50 pm.
So we disembarked the A/C and went immediately to get our baggages just before US customs and fortunarely, they hadn't lost any luggage! Going thru US customs was short and we put our luggage back on the carrousel. This was followed by a second security check after I looked in the Duty Free area (and found nothing).
The check was quick again suprisingly and I had about 50 minutes before the borading call at 7:30 pm so I went for a snack expecting a hot meal on the way to Florida like last time... It was now 7:15 and we proceeded to Gate A. At the gate counter, someone was trying to ask the AC agent a question but he refused saying he was busy... I also went to ask... I'll aswer questions later he said... yeahhh when we will be boarding I bet! About 5 minutes before bording time, he answered the lady who just wanted to know I'f their was a hot meal... I had the same question... he answered: No, only a snack (pretzels of course on a 2 and a half hour flight). So I rushed back to the little Fast Food rack and ordered French Fries. Then I was just coming back to the gate when the voice of an old lady said; «Ladies and gentleman please note that Air Canada fl. 922 will now depart from gate F». No additional explanations. No explanations when I saw that the crew was waiting in front of the gate door, no plane parked there, at 7:42 pm when the flight was still on-time at 8:05 pm. I went to ask and she answered kindly that the plane we were suppose to have was late and that we were waiting for an inbound 320 from Montreal. Just after that at about 7:55 she annouced on the PA system; Ladies and gentleman due to lack of plane the flight as now been delayed to 8:30 pm. I was even more discouraged when the crew got out of the gate and their was still no plane at 8:30 pm. They came back 10 minutes later so I asked one of the FA I'f we would leave tonight and she politely said yes and that the plane from Montreal was arrived and thay were towing it to the gate and cleaning it at the same time... What a cleaning! So We began boarding at 8:50 with a Ladies and Gentleman sorry for the delay AC 922 service to Orlando is now ready for boarding... So, they called row 25-31 and I gived my BP to the lady (Sitting in 28A) and I boarded the a/c, a former Canadian plane this time with the blue Hospitality Class but AC has replaced the Canadian Business Class (Wich was far better... Personnal reading lights, PTV I think and complete leg rests) with AC Business class, more cramped, no leg rest, only a foot rest and no personnal reading light, as well as the cheap curtains instead of a separator. They had removed all in-seat pay phones and patched them with plastic, and my tray table was broken, I had to support it with my leg. The plane was smelly again and uncleaned except for the lavatories. they were at leat 4 or 5 cabin lights in the ceiling burned and the plane looked like 25-year old inside altough he was only 10. We finally pushed back at 9:05 pm and took-off from 24R at YYZ at about 9:15 pm. The crew once in the air, had difficulties putting down the TV's mainly because we had an AC "original" crew with a former CP plane. Because of the delay they announced that we would have a free consumption after our bumpy climb to FL 350. They passed headsets, and I now know that AC recycles the headsets, and that passengers have to put the caps by themselves (So, I played with the caps about 15-minutes before finally getting them on and missing the news, so did my fellow passengers). But yet, another surprise came, they had to reset the audio system because passengers were complaning that the quality of the sound was pour in the first 10 rows. The lady sitting in 29F tried to put her window shade down when she discovered it was patched with scotch tape (Couldn't they at least use duck tape here?) After that, they began the snack service with the angry passengers who expected a meal. Oh, I forgot, this flight was overbooked with 6 or 7 passengers in excess so that also delayed us, and turned angry the people (I can quite easily understans why). The 4 FA were courteous and very friendly as well as attentive, at leat their was a positive point. When I went to the Lavatory I chatted with the FA, knowing I wouldn't get in the cockpit this time. She told me about the cutbacks and that they felt sorry for the pax about the meal and it wasn't their fault. I could understand, even the crew had to PURCHASE it's own meals! And amazingly, you will never believe me, they showed a program about fine Cuisine! Unbeilievable I said, so did the FA. We finally landed in MCO at 11:50 pm, took the train to the main terminal, and then took the shuttle to Hertz to rent the Car.
March 9th, 2002
Sched a/c: A320 Act. a/c: A320
Sched dep. time: 2:30 pm, Act. dep: 2:40 pm.
Sched arr. time: 5:05 pm, Act arr: 5:10 pm.
Here I go again. Check-out at the Riu Orlando Hotel was at 11:00 am and I knew we should get to the airport 3 hours before dep. as said on the Orlando intl airport website. So we arrived at 11:40 am. The line at the United counter was a mess, 4 check-in agents for 5 or 6 planes leaving in the next 3 hours (including two full 763). For those familiar with MCO, the line at Terminal B was going frome the United counters to the Delta ones About 500-600 feets, passing threw Midwest Express, BA, the Washrooms entrances and Delta counters. We waited for about an hour in line. At 1:00 pm, we proceeded threw security and men, they were much slower and checked everything. So we went to gate 48, and their was a ME DC-9 there. At 1:30 pm, the A320 arrived from YOW (C-FMES). No Gate agent were arrived yet, and I was wondering why we had a Tango plane for an AC flight. At 2:10 pm, they began boarding, and my family were picked for a second random securtity check. Finally borded the Tango plane, which still had the 2-class layout. The Telephones has also been patched on this former CP plane. Crew were friendly but the Purser was unhelpful. When I asked to put down the TV, the lady didn't know that those could be put down. The Purser did, but he didn't know how to put them down or simply didn't want to. I still had to play with the headset caps, before learning that my plug didn't work and I wouldn't get entertainment. They even showed exactly the SAME programs that on the inbound leg. We had a very turbulent flight, the worst I ever had. We landed at 5:10pm at YOW on 07 I think.
Air Canada: "The spirit of Monopoly".
Hope you've enjoyed and that you'll be convinced to take Transat, WestJet or SSV next time you fly... or take Tango and bring you're meal. I paid the double fare on AC for the Tango-Style service.