PHX-YVR on America West
HP 506 - A319
I arrived at terminal 4 a few hours before departure time. My initial reaction when I first entered the terminal for check in was “wow, I’m going to be here forever.” It looked really busy. People were everywhere. Then I remembered that I had the privilege of using the first class check in line. Problem solved! The first class line was probably 5% the length of the economy line. Check in was a breeze and I got assigned a window seat. An elevator ride later I found myself in the lengthy line of the security checkpoint of concourse B. It wasn’t until I waited for about 15 minutes that I found out that there was a first class security line! That made security a breeze. I felt sorry for all the Y passengers that had to wait through the extremely long lines of the check in counter and security. To be honest, I think I would have missed my flight if it weren’t for the first class privileges. Anyways, the hike to the international concourse was a lengthy one. On the way to the gate I saw a Hawaiian 767-300.
Boarding commenced and I soon found myself in the blue leather seat of first class. The first class product of the A319 is more aesthetically pleasing then that of the B737-200 IMO. Not sure about the B737-300 (forgot what it looked like). Comfort wise, it is about the same to me. I am not tall so I cannot judge the legroom, but the seat seemed to be around the same size/comfort. Pre-departure drinks were offered and I opted for some water. The flight was relatively full. We soon took off out of the valley of the sun for Vancouver, which had little sun and lots of rain. Quite a drastic change in weather. The inflight movie was “Pirates of the Caribbean”. Headset are free in first, but I chose to sleep. When I woke up, I found 1 bag of the first class mix (don’t know what it is) and 1 bag of honey roasted peanuts waiting for me. I ate a little and put the rest away. We started our decent into Vancouver, which was rainy, cold, and windy. The decent was dull due to all the clouds, which prevented a good view of the city. Landing was smooth and taxi was short. Immigration was a breeze and I was off to my hotel in no time.
During my stay in Vancouver, I visited Capilano, Grouse Mountain (sp?), Victoria via BC Ferries (Butchart Gardens, Empress Hotel, Chinatown), Horseshoe Bay, Stanley Park, Canada Place, a Japanese fishing village, lighthouse park, and some other places. I also took a side trip to Seattle and went to the Boeing Everett tour, pike place market, and the space needle. I won’t go into the details of the visit, but if you have any questions about the attractions I visited, I’ll be happy to answer them.
HP128 – A319
My vacation eventually came to an end. Check in at the U.S. departures hall was quick. After emigration and customs, I went shopping one last time. YVR is really a nice airport. On the otherside of the U.S. departure gates are the real international gates. I saw some planes from SQ,CX, and KLM. Half hour prior to the scheduled departure, the gate agent announced a 1 hour delay. They called it a mechanical problem. Half-hour later it was changed to a 2 hour delay. Oh fun, I thought. The gate agents did not provide very good information about what the problem was. They just kept apologizing. HP did make an attempt to rebook everybody with connecting flights. Soon, mechanics approached the plane and popped the engine open. Some 20 minutes later, it was closed.
Boarding started with more apologizes. The flight was quite empty. Our actual pushback time was about 4:30PM. We taxied into the queue line for the runway and watch 5-6 jets take off which took another half hour. The takeoff roll was extremely short, the shortest I have ever experienced. Since the weather was miserable with rain and wind, the clouds blocked all of the scenery for takeoff. Cruise altitude was FL370. The movie was “Hollywod Homicide”. Once again I opted out and listened to music on my CD player. First class mix and peanuts were offered again. The flight was pretty uneventful with a smooth landing. On taxi to the gate at PHX I saw the BA777 PHX-LHR flight take off, which was neat. The weather in PHX was clear skies with a temp of 90 degrees. What fun.
All in all, good flights on HP. The delay was annoying, but probably not their fault. Wished HP could of served more than peanuts. Friendly f/a's.