We arrived at YVR at about 5:30 for our 07:00 LAX departure and entered the transborder terminal. Once we were there, there were so many others already lined up at the AC check in desk. After my family lined up at the check in line up, my dad and I proceeded to the Express Check - In Machines. My dad immediately began check in, but he didn't do it properly! But I did help him and we got a message saying that because we were travelling in a group (our travel agent did group booking for everyone going on the group) we would have to check in at the desk. However, the line up did go fast. When it was our turn to check in my dad headed straight to the AA check in desk by mistake! But again I corrected him. Check in went very quickly. Beside us at the AA desk were my friends from my mosque checking in for an AA flight to DFW (they were going to Guatemala with their school). After check in we proceeded through the US customs, inspection, etc, and we were eventually at the gate. My family went to Starbucks to have some coffee while I walked around the terminal. While I was walking around, I passed right beside by my English teacher! She didn't even notice me though and she seemed rather preoccupied staring at the ceiling. I eventually joined my family at Starbucks and I saw a photographer taking pictures. He looked a lot like Kazim from YYZ, but I only saw the photographer from a very far distance. After Starbucks boarding began and we went into the plane. I looked around to see if my English teacher was on the flight but there was no sight of her on that little A319!
Air Canada flight 780
March 14, 2004
Photo © Steph G
My dad and I got settled into our seats. It took a while for everything to be loaded up on the plane but I was preoccupied looking out the window. Beside us was an AA MD-80, N976TW (one of the last MD - 80's built). Eventually the plane taxiied out and took off. The take off was really steep. While climbing into the sky I could see my school from the window (its very easy to see because its one of the only buildings in Richmond which has a huge red firehall beside it). Meal service shortly began. My family and I were the first to be served since we all ordered the Muslim meal. I was pretty disappointed because it was eggs, which I don't really like. I asked my dad if I could get the regular meal if there were any left (which were pancakes), but he really didn't want me to. I ate very little of the meal. The only good part of the meal was the fruit salad. The roll was hard and cold, the hashbrowns were soggy, and I don't like eggs. For the rest of the flight I just sat staring out of the window and listening to music. I was also reading the enRoute magazine. After what seemed to be a long time the plane began decending into LAX. Looking out of the window it seemed huge compared to Vancouver. It was endless concrete! The plane landed smootly and proceeded to Terminal 2. While the plane was on its way to the gate, I saw an ATA L1011, an Air Tahiti A343, as well as the Quantas 744 in Wunula (is that how its spelled?) livery. My family and I got out of the plane and my parents and sister went to the washroom. We made our way to the baggage claim area and waited in a corner. Guess who was in the corner? My English teacher! I didn't even see her on that small A319. Again however, she didn't really notice me. She seemed preoccupied again looking elsewhere. She was with her young child and her husband. I began whispering about her with my family and again she didn't seem to notice. I decided to turn directly at her to see if she would notice me. I turned and it took her quiet a while to recognize me. When she did she enthusiastically said HEY!!!! Unfortunately, she was going to be on the same cruise ship as me for the whole week...It took a while for everyone in our group to get organized and get to the bus. The bus also took a while. But eventually it came and we were on our way to the pier.
The next Sunday it was time to go back home to Vancouver. My family and I went to LAX on a bus. When we arrived at the AC check - in counter, guess who was in front of us? My English teacher again! But she didn't even notice us until much later. The check - in line was pretty long, but my family and I amused each other for the time being. What was really annoying us, however, how my English teacher was contstantly staring at us and eavesdropping! Eventually she went to a check in agent with her family and we went to another. Although it was over three hours before our 5:15 departure (which was actually delayed until 6:00 because the aircraft was behind in YYZ), our bags were still accpeted. For the time being, my family and I decided to go to Santa Monica, so we went down the escalator to the arrivals area. Behind us on the escalator was my English teacher and her family! My family got a cab and we were on our way to Santa Monica. And guess who we saw in the Santa Monica mall? My English teacher AGAIN! But this was because we told her to go to Santa Monica the night before on the ship. Fortunately, that was the last I saw of her on the whole trip.
At about 4:30 my family arrived back at LAX. The security took pretty long (typical big US city airports). Once at the gate my family just rested and read. I walked around the terminal and watched a KLM 744, NW A319, VS 744, and an ATA 753. While I was walking around I saw someone from my school who was also on the same ship (but I didn't really see her that much). We talked and talked until it was time to depart.
March 21, 2004
Photo © Freight-Dawg
Boarding went smoothly. When my family and I entered the aircraft a flight attendent looked at my dad and said "Are you Mr. A? I know you!" This flight attendant's name was Munir Meghji. Once my dad and I were seated my dad thought and thought about who he was. Finally, it occured to him that it was someone who he went to primary school with in Africa about 35 years ago! This time my dad and I were seated in the front section of Y class right in front of the big Executive class seats. My dad requested these seats so he could be the absolute first Hospitality Class Passenger to get out of the plane so he could avoid long customs line ups. And this time I was in the middle seat! I figured that it would be hard to see the LCD screen if the curtain was shut.
The plane quickly took off. The views of LA were beautiful from the window. It was too bad how I didn't have the window seat this time, however. My dad chatted for a while with Munir the flight attendant. He was the friendliest flight attendant I've ever met. Again shortly after takeoff my family and I were served our Muslim Meals. This time it consisted of the same roll and chicken and plain rice. It didn't look too appetizing. In fact, the beef (which was the normal meal) actually looked much better. I asked Munir if he could give me the regular meal if there were any left. However, I ended up eating the chicken after my dad insisted me to. I didn't really like the meal this time. The chicken and the rice were absolutely flavourless! The beverage I had was a Diet Coke. Munir was kind enough to give me the whole can. After the meal, Munir also gave my family and I extra biscuits. For the remainder of the flight I watched the Mr. Bean that was on. Munir was kind enough to not close the curtain so I could actually see the LCD screen properly. The IFE was actually the second best IFE experience I've had (after Emirates). The show was funny and the headphones were comfortable. I was entertained throughout the flight. After what seemed to be like no time the plane began to descend into YVR. I looked out of the window and I noticed that we were flying over our house! The plane smootly landed on the north runway and taxiied to the gate. Immediately after the plane arrived at its gate my dad quickly got our carry ons from the overhead bin and walked out of the plane. As he hoped, he was the first Hospitality Class passenger to get off the plane. However, while walking to customs, he walked really, really fast and bypassed all the Executive Class Passengers! I guess he was just worried about long customs line ups. However, he was the FIRST person to arrive at customs. The customs was deserted before him and all the other passengers came out of the plane. We got through customs right away, but claiming our baggages took forever! My dad's bag was the last to get off the plane, but mine was one of the first! After waiting for our bags we finally got out and went through the arrival hall.
Food: 6/10 - Good food choices. Pretty much flavourless but edible
Service: 9/10 - Munir was an excellent flight attendant! He actually won an award from AC (you can read about it on www.morningchai.com)
Entertainment: 8/10 - Although there were no PTV's I was still pretty happy.