This one is shorter than the first two parts, since it’s just usually a regular short-haul flight segment for me. But still, I wanted to include it, as it is the conclusion to my trip across Canada – and there are a couple of things I saw and did for the first time.
Flight AC246 YVR-YEG
Sched Dep 11:30 am – Arr 1:55 pm
Actual Dep 12:02 pm – Arr 2:35 pm
The day dawned muggy and overcast in Vancouver, as I had to take a taxicab to YVR. Dragging my suitcase behind me, I went to the ticket counter as usual. While the line wasn’t too long, it was moving unusually slow, partly because there were so many people with a lot of luggage to check in. After about ten minutes, I decided to drop out of the lineup and go try using one of the express check-in kiosks – for the first time ever. I stuck my credit card in and punched in the necessary numbers, but the transaction failed to go through. I tried another one of those kiosks, but the same thing happened. I asked one of the AC staff about this, and she kindly advised me to keep the “rejection stubs” (I don’t know what else to call it, but it’s more of an unmarked boarding pass with something about a transaction failure printed on it.), and go straight to the baggage check-in counters set up for kiosk users, not the regular ones. Better hope it doesn’t turn out to be a circus trying to get a valid boarding pass, I thought. This I did, and the female ticket agent seemed to take all this in stride, and just gave me a boarding pass after checking my suitcase in. She had told me that they’ve changed something in the kiosks, but I can’t exactly remember what. I was just glad to have my boarding pass with minimal problems, and walked away with my backpack still on me.
Photo © Colin Parker
It was still early, about 10:45 am, so I decided to walk around the International and Transborder check-in areas and check out which flights were going where. It’s amazing how many Pacific Rim destinations you can fly to non-stop out of YVR. After all, YVR is a major Pacific Rim airport. But one also sees BA 744’s and LH A340-200’s there, too, although neither of these European airlines was present at the time – they don’t usually come in until later in the day, as far as I can remember. But I did see an Air China 744 taxiing past – the first time I’ve really seen that airline in YVR, although Air China has been flying into YVR for a few years now.
Photo © Maxime Prévost-Desjardins
I went to the food court in the international check-in area, and had myself a lunch and a coffee. After that, I went to pay for the Airport Improvement Fee, which is $10 for domestic flights, and $15 for international flights. It was pretty muggy in the airport, and I didn’t like that. There was no huge lineup there, like there usually is, maybe because the passenger traffic was slower that day. I went through security with no problems (my vibrating alarm clock this time was in my suitcase), and just walked on to the C pier, where my flight was supposed to depart from Gate C30. 99% of the time, AC flights to Edmonton and Calgary seem to depart only from Gates C30-34, which is convenient, especially for those who fly often. Walking around the C Pier, which nice and roomy, the departure area for AC Jazz regional flights was crowded as usual – all AC Jazz flights using Dash 8s and other ‘props come and go at the C pier via one of those familiar covered walkways used for – what else – regional flights.
Photo © Peter Coe
I waited as a 732 in full AC colors came in and docked at C30. I boarded before the regular passengers as usual, and found that to my surprise, the interior was still in full Canadian Airlines colors! It’s probably because AC doesn’t want to have to spend extra refurbishing the interiors of all of its 737-200s, although some are. But AC does maintain the interiors pretty well, and this one was no exception, as it was very clean. Besides, the 737-200 is likely the next jet aircraft type to be retired, after the DC-9 and the F28. Legroom wasn’t too bad, as was usual for an AC 732 configured for 88 pax in Y, 12 in J. However, I noticed one thing unusual while looking at 2 A319s a few gates away – there were a couple of men working on the port engine of the 732 I was in. Sitting in 6A, I saw a couple of mechs trying to replace a part with a newer one in the side of one of those P&W’s. A reheaded man had been coming and going using one of the Ford pickups, so he was probably a supervisor. The whole engine repair went on for over half an hour. It was noon by the time the mechs finished their job. Apparently, there was an engine problem either before or after the 732 landed at YVR, but there was no obvious damage or birdstrike that I could see. It was likely an internal problem, also because of the way they were tinkering with those parts, too. I didn’t feel any nervousness about this, since things like that are bound to happen with older a/c like the 732, but AC maintains its planes very well in general.
Photo © Kevin Wachter
The 732 took its time to taxi to the south runway, in front of what I think was the exact same 767-200 I came to YVR from YOW in back on May 22. That 762 could well have been in that huge white maintenance hangars by YVR’s International terminal. I see 762s and 763 parked there often every time I’m in Vancouver. Behind the 732 I was in, there was an AC A340-300 waiting for a takeoff to either HKG or Taipei. The flight took off smoothly, and I was treated to an incredible view of downtown Vancouver with Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge clearly visible. The clouds had largely cleared by that time for this to happen. My brother would later tell me that later that day, it was pouring rain, however. The flight back to YEG was smooth and uneventful. The FAs were busy, but polite and good-natured. I asked for a can of Sprite, and one of the FAs, an older one, but nice, had no trouble with this. I also had a Kit Kat bar.
Upon descent, the 732 made a turn to the southeast towards YEG, just southwest of the City of Edmonton. With the weather mostly sunny,hot and dry with some clouds, I could see the city of almost a million spread out before my eyes, and West Edmonton Mall could be seen clearly due to the hotel and the Mindbender roller coaster building attached to it. Landing was smooth, and the 732 taxied to the gate. Apart from the city views, the YVR-YEG flight was a bit of a boring one, if you ask me, actually. After all, I fly into YVR at least 2-3 times a year. But I did see one unusual thing at YEG that day, however – there was a C-130 Herc looking like it had the tail and fin completely taken off. It was parked by the Spar Aviation hangar north of the old terminal at YEG, in the cargo area. There’s a reason for this, it’s that Spar is a company that has civilian and military contracts to maintain older aircraft, especially 732’s and Hercs. The 732 docked at the gate, and I took the Sky Shuttle van back home.