AS 2052 6:30 am
Dash 8-Q200 N360PH City of Medford
Photo © John Olafson
This was the first leg on the way to Montreal, for the new assignment that I
got.I booked the ticket in a really short notice through ITN.NET This was kind
of a nice surprise for $600 plus round trip considering both Air Canada and other US airlines requested more than $1200 for a "normal" round trip.
After spending hours on the computer I decided to use ITN because it allows
you to do "multiple city" search for more than 4 legs. To my surprise combining
the flight with Horizon and Air Canada produced a great result.
I got up at 3:00 am, to drive my wife to work at the airport. Her shift
starts at 4:00 am. Living really close to the airport has its perks, but at this
time of the day it really didn't matter.
After dropping her off, I came back to the apt. and packed last minutes
I was at the airport at 5:30 am, an hour before the departure. Even though I
had an Alaska Airlines flight number, I knew I was flying a Dash8 on Horizon.
So, I proceeded to the Horizon check in counter.
After a quick check in, I was handed the boarding pass. It had SSSS on it,
so I knew I was a selectee. I don't know why I was selected because I didn't
have a one way ticket and I paid for it with the company credit card. May be to Alaska I was a one way traveler as the reservation had two different PNR numbers; one for Alaska, the other one from Air Canada.
I drank some complimentary Horizon Air Starbucks coffee before the boarding.
This was a way early flight, but I noticed that the aircraft was inbound from
another city. That is what I call an early departure..
When the departure time came, the agents counted us and told that there were only 6 of us and we will have to sit as back as possible. The same thing was told by the F/A on the way to the aircraft itself.
I really like Horizon's Dash 8 fleet as they look really well taken care of
inside. I don't know how they had these for, but the inside looked really clean and comfortable for a commuter aircraft.
My last Dash8 flight was in 1993 on Mesaba , traveling ROA-DTW. It was nice
to remember how wide the cabin is on these aircraft.
The route to Vancouver is most of the time is direct PAE VOR, close to
Whatcom VOR and then radar vectors into YVR. Having flown this in the training aircraft couple of times, I noticed that Dash8s fly similar route also..
We pushed back at 6:40 am , because there was a stream of other Horizon
flights coming in and we had to wait for them. We took off on runway 16L at
6:45 am and made a right turn over to Vashon island. After that we flew
direct PAE (Paine) VOR and to the north right after.
Over Skagit Airport we turned to the NW as the pilot told us that we would
be landing on runway 8L. One thing about the pilot was that he kept coming on
the PA system and pointed landmarks to us. I always like it but this
happened to be too often for a flight this short.
We were served drinks and choice cookies on this flight , even though it was
30 mins long from take off to touch down. Close to Bellingham we got pretty
good turbulence, moderate level, but that lasted not too long as we were
starting our approach to land. Nice view of the Boundary Bay airport on this
early Sunday morning made the flight even more exciting.
After some turns over the water, we landed on runway 8L and taxied to the
remote commuter parking on the terminal to US flights.
It took me as long as the flight itself to walk through the doors and
hallways and clear Canadian customs. It was around 7:40 I had a chance to make my way to the domestic terminal.
YVR-YUL Aug. 10, 2003 8:20 am
A321 C-GITU First A321 for the airline
Photo © Richard Barsby
Photo © Brian Hill
I was really discouraged by the long lines at the Air Canada check-in
counters. I had a paper ticket and I was under the impression that I couldn't use the kiosks, but out of desperation I tried them. Voila! They worked. I wanted to chose a window seat, but the 12C was the only one available.
Air Canada has this interesting way of numbering the bulkhead seats with
number 12, so that they can start the coach numbering from the same number regardless of aircraft type. I have noticed the same on Delta but United and US Airways do not number their planes like this.
I was happy that my prospects of making my flight had increased. To
celebrate this I decided to pay a visit to the man's room and return the 3 cups of coffee I had early in the morning.. What a relief!
I cleared the security in a jiffy and went to the gate C39. The boarding
didn't start even though it was past 7:45 am. I boarded when the seat number was called. The plane was 100% full.
Air Canada's A321s are configured differently than the US Airways ones that
I have been. And if I am not mistaken US' A321s are suitable for boarding from
using the left 2 door, but in Air Canada aircrafts this is just an emergency
Before push-back the flight attendant offered newspapers to the people on
the hospitality class. This is something I remember from my international
flights I have taken. It was a nice touch, but I passed.
We took off on runway 8R with a straight ahead departure at 8:30 am.
My view was limited due to the small window on the exit and being too far
from the outside. The movie came to the rescue. It was titled "Hole" and
it was pretty good. That helped me kill some 2 hrs really fast.
Before the movie we were served breakfast which consisted of a roll, butter,
fresh fruit, omelets with potatoes. All this was nice and filling and it
really didn't taste like airline food. I noticed that some of the carts and
food treys had "Canadian" sign and logo on it.
The rest of the flight was uneventful. We landed on time at YUL, alas no
runway information as I couldn't see anything.
Overall, I was pleased with the services of both Air Canada and Horizon.
I know that Alaska/Horizon has a great product, but I was surprised to
see Air Canada provide a service like I have seen on international
[Edited 2003-08-18 01:30:06]