After reading so many wonderful trip reports, I thought it was time to write one of my own. Altho I went on this trip several years ago, it’s still very fresh in my mind. I initially didn’t realize A.Net had a section for trip reports, otherwise I would have written this long ago, however I had my journal of the trip to help me out. This was my first trans atlantic flight and my first ride on a 747 so i was very excited at the time. Here goes:
We arrived early at the airport for our 11am flight to YYZ. We had a long way to go, so we wanted to make sure there would be no delay. We got our boarding passes all the way through to Edinburgh, and made our way through security quickly. The aircraft was running 20 minutes late inbound from Toronto, so I passed the time watching the various morning Westjet flights do there 25 minute turn around times to perfection. Our A319 arrived at 1045, and boarding commenced fairly quickly after the inbound passengers were off. I sat down in 23A and immediately checked out the view. The first thing I noticed was how much higher off the ground the A319 was compared to the 737-200 that was my last flight a few months earlier. We pushed back at about 1125 and the engines were fired up. This is when I found out the coolest thing about the A319, those fold down video screens. At the time, I was an aviation obsessed 14 year old and this was incredible to me for some reason. Now I’m an aviation obsessed 20 year old, but they’re still cool. We took off on runway 27 and turned east, flying over my house which was neat. Once at cruising altitude, we were served lunch. I had chicken, some vegetables and some kind of cake which was really good. Having only flown on Westjet before, this was my first taste of “real” airline food, and it wasn't as bad as people say. We watched the news, then a movie which I cant remember the name of, then an episode of Seinfeld, which was cutoff as we begun our descent into Toronto. The flight attendants came around and collected any garbage and checked our seats and tray tables. We descended through the clouds into a very wet Pearson Airport. Touchdown was smooth and we quickly taxied to our gate. We made up the lost time and pulled up the the gate a few minutes early. As we deplaned in Pearson, I thought I was in aviation heaven. Back in Saskatoon, the 3 A319s we got daily was the highlight of our airport. Here I was looking at 15 A319/A320s in a row, plus 767s, A340s, and Dash 8s everywhere. I could barely contain myself! Then I saw our 747-400, read on.....
Our 747-400 was parked at gate 105, which was kind of a corner gate with a really poor view, but I could see a wingtip, and the combi cargo door was open. I watched the 744 to Frankfurt depart, which was only building up my excitement for our 1900 departure to Heathrow. We starting boarding about 1815, and as we were near the front, we had to wait a short time. Air Canada’s 744s were in their summer configuration, so there was an economy section in front of the wing and that’s where we were sitting, so when we boarded through the second door, it was a quick turn to the left and we were at our seats. Once again, I admired how high off the ground the 747 seemed, it was a monster. We sat there as our 1900 departure time passed and finally at 1935 we started to push back. Im not to sure what we were waiting for. All we got was an announcement saying we would be pushing back shortly. We took off after a Canada 3000 A330 and I have to say the 747-400 sure is a rocket on take-off, wow! Those PW4056s sure sound powerful! We climbed out and to the north-east, but as usual the moving map display was changed in favor of the news and that’s the last I saw of it until morning. The sun was setting as we were served supper, which was another delicious meal served with a full size can of pop. From my seat, I had a great view of the two port engines, and along the leading edge of the wing. So I spent the next little while watching the sun go down, and the strobe light flashing. The lights were turned out and “Shakespeare In Love” began playing. Even though I didn’t have to go, I decided to walk to the back and use that facility. The Combi 744 doesn't give the true interior size of a regular 747, but from 17A, it was still a good hike to the back. While I was gone, my dad had secured a visit to the flight deck. So off we went up the stairs into the upper deck. Now that is the way to travel. I couldn't believe the seat pitch up there in Executive First, unbelievable. As we entered the flight deck, my jaw dropped. The overhead panel goes alot farther back than I thought. And being night, the cockpit was light up beautifully. The screens had a purple tint to them and looked really cool. Everything was much bigger than it looked in pictures. The throttle levers looked huge, but the control columns looked smaller than I thought. The captain explained the navigation screen, and I saw we were at 34,000ft, cruising at mach 0.862. The captain said the 747 was the fastest commercial aircraft other than concorde and said we had already passed several other trans atlantic flights, one of which I saw later on. They made a routine position report while I was up there, and explained the sel-cal, and how the radios worked over the atlantic. Both were extremely friendly and seemed happy to have visitors. Not wanting to bother them to much, we returned to our seats, one of my dreams having just come true. By now the sun was slowly coming up, and there is nothing like a sunrise from 34,000 feet, let me tell you. It was stunning. The flight attendants appeared with breakfast and we were treated to the BBC news to bring us up to date on the goings on in europe. As we begun our descent into London, the cabin was prepared for landing and finally the moving map reappeared after 6 hours. We were welcomed to Heathrow with the usual holding pattern. After an endless series of turns, we began to emerge under the clouds, and I saw English country side for the first time. I could see other aircraft in the area, and even the aircraft landing in front of us as we turned onto finals. I believe landed on 27R because the British Airways maintenance base appeared on the left. I saw 4 Concorde's all parked together, it was almost more than I could take. After landing we turned off and I could see 3 sets of landing lights behind us, with the first aircraft already beginning its flare. We parked at Terminal 3 40 minutes ahead of schedule. Air Canada was doing wonderful so far, nothing to complain about at all. Now, if I said Pearson was aviation heaven, than I don’t know what to call Heathrow. 747-400s from all over the world were landing one after another. We took the bus over to Terminal 1, and even from the bus I got some wonderful pics. I watched more landings from Terminal 1, still in awe at all these 747s.
no reg, sorry.
I admit I was starting to get a little tired as we boarded our 737 heading up to Scotland. Seat 17F was near the back of the wing, so looking down was difficult, but I was still treated to a wonderful of the movements at Heathrow. We pushed back ontime and taxied out. As we arrived at the active, the captain came on saying the next aircraft to depart was going to be the concorde, and it was going to get noisy. He wasn’t kidding, the noise was nothing u could even imagine, and our whole plane started to shake and rattle. Im sure cabin trim pieces were falling off the aging Ghana Airways DC-10 that was pulling up beside us, it was that bad. I saw the Concorde out the window, and it rotated with that blackish smoke its famous for. Even my mom was impressed, so it took Concorde to finally impress my mom with something aviation related. After our much less dramatic takeoff, we were in the clouds, and were quickly served a small snack, and a mini sized pop. I think three swallows and it was all over. Just as fast as the drink disappeared, we were descending into Edinburgh. The approach was pretty bumpy, and we slammed down on the runway with a nice thud. Taxi was again brief and we were at the gate early for the third time this trip. The next three days were a jet lagged blur, but once recovered I had a wonderful 3 weeks in Scotland, and returned to London for a few days also.
no reg, sorry
This segment was supposed to be an A320, so I was slightly disappointed when a 737 showed up 45 minutes late. I had influenced the planning of this trip so I could fly on 6 different types, but it turned out to be a 737-400, which I had never been on, so all was well once again. I took seat 18F, again mostly over the wing, and settled in for the long trip back to Saskatoon. We pushed back well off of our scheduled 1040 departure time, fortunately we had plenty of time at Heathrow, so we weren't worried. We were airborne about 1130, and quickly climbed to cruising altitude. We were served a small snack again, and a full size can of orange juice. Service with British Midland was always cheerful, and before we knew it, we were touching down at Heathrow. We pulled up alongside several other 737s about 30 minutes late, and the lounge was crowded with people waiting to board. Again, we took the bus over to Terminal 3, ready for our 1515 departure to Calgary. I saw an Air India 744 and Virgin’s Ruby Tuesday preparing for their next flights.
Arriving at our gate, I was delighted to see it was the Star Alliance A340 waiting for us. The lounge was packed, and boarding started about 50 minutes before boarding. We boarded first and I went way back to seat 32A. The second row in the rear economy cabin, nicely positioned behind the wing for great viewing. First impressions of the A340 were good, being only a year old at the time, there was a slight new plane smell. Everything was modern looking and clean. Flight attendants were scattered amongst the cabin helping passengers. Every seat looked full as we pushed back, on time i should add. We were parked next to a Varig MD11, which had just arrived. We lined up for takeoff as a Kuwait Airways 777 took off. The Triple 7 has even bigger engines up close then in pictures! I learned something about the A340 that has been mentioned many times on A.Net before. The takeoff roll of the A340 was so slow, I was beginning to wonder if we would ever rotate. None of the power and acceleration of the 744. We climbed out slowly well I enjoyed the view of London. With a scheduled flying time of 9:05, this was gonna be my first real long-haul flight. The slightly more than 6 hours on the 744 went by so fast. We were served a meal after take off, which was not quite as good as the trip over, but seemed more filling. I almost couldn't finish it. Through the flight, the flight attendants came around with water and pop. The first movie was “Analyze That” or something like that. Robert De Niro was in it, and it was a pretty good movie, considering I had no other choice. Next we watched the news, which was interesting, because we had lost track of what was going on during out 3 week absence. We flew over Iceland and Greenland and I got some wonderful pictures of both. We were served a large snack as we got closer to Calgary. Not quite a meal, but more than peanuts. Again, we got a full can of pop. Well done Air Canada. After 8 odd hours we finally began our descent into Calgary. We touched down on runway 34 and rolled right to the end. Anyone familiar with YYC knows its a long taxi from the south end back up to the terminal. However, we arrived at the gate at exactly 1725, and a few moments later the Canadian DC-10 that was a few gates up from us at Heathrow pulled up. It was covered in signatures, if I recall it was some kind of employee plane. Those were the old days when Air Canada and Canadian shadowed each other on some routes. We arrived at customs where the 500 or so people that had just arrived from LHR were gathering. Even so, we got through in short order and ate a nice meal in the airport with a lovely view of the ramp.
no reg, sorry
After watching our A340 get towed over to the departure area, and catching the end of a Riders game, it was time to make our way over the departure lounge for our 2100 flight to Saskatoon. This was back in the AirBC days, and our 146-200 was one of 5 in the fleet. This was a unique plane I wasn't sure I’d ever get the chance to fly on again, so I was glad the opportunity came up. We boarded and were ready for an on time departure, when the dreaded announcement came that we were gonna wait for a delayed edmonton flight to land, as several passengers were connecting. After 45 minutes, the 4 passengers arrived and off we went. It was a rolling takeoff on runway 34 again, and out over downtown calgary before turning east to Saskatoon. There was major thunderstorms over Calgary, and I was treated to my first real taste of turbulence as our 146 was bounced around as we climbed. Finally, with the seat belt sign off, we were served drinks and a small package of cookies. I enjoyed seeing the underside of the wind, and as we approached saskatoon, the landing lights came on, followed by various increments of flaps. I could see the edge of the landing gear door to. We landed on 09 in Saskatoon about 35 minutes late and pulled up the gate. After 3 weeks on the other side of the world, I was glad to be home, but at the same time, couldn't wait to go back. Air Canada had managed to leave one of my dad’s suitcases back in Scotland, but it was hand delivered to our front door the next night, so no huge deal there. Air Canada delivered outstanding performance and service, and the whole trip was one i would never forget. Im thinking about writing a report on my last trip to scotland in 2002, when I went direct to Glasgow from Toronto on a 762, as well as an EasyJet day trip to AMS during the course of that 2002 trip. I’m going back to London this August and am booked on the AC A330, so im really excited about that, and a BMI A321, which is a new type for me. Stay tuned for that one too!!