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Winnipeg To London - Part I

Tue May 27, 2003 1:03 am

The day had finally arrived! My trip to London, Ontario (YXU) for a Medical Technology Conference followed by a side trip to Montreal was about to happen! This trip was particularly interesting to me because:

1) It would be my first time using Toronto – Terminal 1
2) My first time taking VIA rail (from London to Montreal)
3) My first time on an Airbus A330 (or any wide body other than a 747-400 for that matter!)

This report will deal with the first trip, YWG to YXU. The return trip will be reported later.

May 20th
Winnipeg International Airport(YWG) to London International Airport(YXU)

Air Canada Flight 192
Equipment: Airbus A320
Seat: 27F
Flight Level: 37,000
STD: 8:40 ATD: 8:37
STA: 12:03 ATA: 11:58

I arrived at the airport at about 7:00 AM after receiving a ride with my dad. It seems to be whenever he or I have a flight, we end up giving each other rides to the airport. There was absolutely nobody at the airport! It was dead. I was checked-in via the Express Kiosk and having my first Tim Hortons coffee by 7:05 AM!

Having breakfast before I left home, I decided not to get anything from the fine eating establishments in the Terminal. At 7:40, I decided to go through security, and was subjected to a very thorough search as everything I was wearing had metal in it (Shoes, belts, tie clip, mint package, etc, etc….) All in all, I thought it was par for the course. The security guys at the terminal were very professional, and pretty good about it. BTW: Things looks very cool through those new colour X-Ray machines!

I proceeded to Gate T to wait for boarding, which starting at 8:15 AM. The one major knock I have against YWG airport is the absolute lack of windows in the gate area. It is darn near impossible to see anything outside (plane reg, etc..etc…) that is in the holding area.

General boarding started at 8:15AM. Air Canada does the usual ‘Rows 19 to 27 will board now.” They shouldn’t even bother, because everybody gets up to board anyways! I had to stop three times so that people could put their carryon baggage in the stow-away bins at rows 12, 13, and 15!! People, please start listening to the dang announcements!

Anyways, with everyone on board, and the flight full booked (not one seat was free!) We pushed back a few minutes early. A short taxi to runway 31 via Taxiways Victor-Hotel –Charlie, we were ready to go. The takeoff was fast, powerful and impressive! 30 seconds after the CFM-56’s spooled up, we were on our way!

Shortly after take-off a “Breakfast” was served, and I use that term loosely. We were served a Croissant with eggs and a mystery meat. It looked like chicken, smelled like ham, and tasted like nothing! To boot, it was wrapped in foil wrapper and served a-la Burger King style “here’s your food, go away…” If this is what Air Canada calls service above what the LCCs (WestJet, Jetsgo, etc) then they better go back to the drawing board! About an hour after I ate the “schlop” I regretted it, as it made my stomach started to turn. Also, once breakfast and drinks were done being served, the cabin crew vanished out of sight for the remainder of the flight.

Overall, the flight was very smooth with a bit of light chop. Once we crossed the Ontario border (20 minutes into the flight), there was nothing to see but big white puffy clouds.

Descent started at 11:35, and I expect that it was a faster one because the airbrakes were out for pretty much the whole descent. We landed on Runway 24 with a solid bump, and were off the runway right near where Runway 33 starts. When all was said and done, the flight arrived 5 minutes early, and I was off to Terminal 1 for my connection!

Air Canada Flight 7713
Equipment: Dash 8-100
Seat: 4A
Flight Level: 8000
STD: 13:35 ATD: 13:30
STA:14:19 ATA: 14:15

Well , this was my first time in Terminal 1. My impression? It’s not great, nor horrid. It is functional, as a regional airlines hub area. I couldn’t imagine loading up a 747 from one of these gates, but a 37 seater works pretty good. The best part of T1 is the transfer from T2. The bus ride is short, but you can get pretty close to the planes in the meantime!

The flight was departing was Gate CC, which means I had a front row seat to the new T-New building that is set to open soon. All I have to say is WOW!!!! This building looks great, and it’s huge!! I can’t wait to see what it is like on the inside when it is done!

We started boarding at 13:15, and the doors were closed 10 minutes later. The flight was booked 50% as everyone had 2 seats to themselves J. The engines were started with a thunderous rumble, and we we’re off!

The taxi to runway 23 took almost 15 minutes to do, and we were third for takoff. After a departing AC A320, Conquest A319, and a landing AC A320, we lined up on the runway for takeoff. A short 15 second takeoff roll and we were in the air.

I have to say that the FA on this flight looked like she wanted to be somewhere else. She came around with a drink, and cookies, and then sat in the FA seat, looking off in lala land. She was functional enough, but a smile would have been Ok too!! Doesn’t McDonalds serve smiles for free? J

The short 29 minute flight started to descent into YXU after 15 minutes of flying time. I’m not really sure as we never left the clouds. The clouds got lighter at the top of climb, and started to get darker as we started descent! We couldn’t see the ground until about 30 seconds before touchdown!! I thought I was going to experience a go-around! No such luck, as we landed at 14:13, and were at the terminal at 14:15.

London terminal is undergoing a massive expansion/renovation. I’m sure it will look great when it’s done, but it looks pretty bad right now!

Overall, the flight experience was pretty good. I was amazed how much legroom one gets on AC! Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to be more than on WestJet!

Next up is my train trip to Montreal, and my return flight from YUL!

Please go ahead and let me know what you think of this report, as it is my first!

“Get it? Got it? Good…”
Always looking for the longest route with the most transfers.

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