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Posts: 3049
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:23 am


Tue Mar 01, 2005 8:01 pm

The first trip report I've ever posted was for a BOS-FRA via YYZ trip
on Executive First. This time I was back in cattle class and I thought
this was a sufficiently different trip to write a second one. I also
want to get some things off my chest too. (My last two weren't very
popular; I hope you find this one more enjoyable!)

Feb 12, 2005, BOS

I was boooked on AC359 leaving for YYZ at 1230pm. However, I asked
some friends who live in Toronto, who I hadn't seen for years, whether
they wanted to meet up for lunch. They agreed so I tried to get on
the earlier flight. AC wanted to charge me $200 to change my booking
and I didn't think it was worth it. So, I decided to turn up early on
the day and try to go standby.

I got into Logan's Terminal C around 830am and I proceeded towards the
AC desks. I saw a massive line in front of them and I was
surprised, since they are usually not very busy. In fact the line was
for the Delta desks and the AC desks were indeed very quiet. I asked
the agent whether I could go standby on the earlier flight and she
said that, for my booking fare (Fun), it'd cost me $40. I was aware of
that and I agreed. A little while later I had been checked in on
AC8661, leaving at 945am, and I also had a confirmed seat (I somehow
thought I'd get it at the gate). Going through security was
painless. I e-mailed my friends from my cell phone that I got on the
earlier flight (I knew that setting up e-mail on my cell phone would
come in handy one day!) and spent 15-20 mins at UA's Red Carpet
Lounge, where I had a small bagel (it was terrible) and coffee (it was
terrible too).

Feb 12, 2005, AC8661, BOS 945am to YYZ 1135am, CRJ200, Seat 11A, Gate 14

Boarding was called on time and I got on the CRJ200, which is easily
one of my least favourite plane types. Say what you want, but they
feel bloody crammed. Thankfully, I had an empty seat next to me, so
the flight was a bit more bearable. I should point out that this was
an Air Canada Jazz flight. On my way in I gave my carry-on to the crew
at the gate (it was too big to fit in the CRJ's tiny overhead bins)
and I was told that I'd take it at the arrival gate in Toronto. We
actually closed doors around 930am (15 mins early!) and pushed back 10
mins later. We were told that the flight time would be 1h20m. We were
looking good for an early take-off but, while taxiing, we stopped on
one of the taxiways and the captain told us that the computer was
giving him a certain indication (I didn't hear what) and we had to get
a mechanic out to check it out. A bit later I heard some noises
somewhere underneath the plane (the cargo hold door was, maybe, not
properly closed?) and we were eventually sent on our way.

Take-off was pretty shaky, as it usually is in small RJs and we made
our towards our cruising altitude of 28,000ft. I worked on my laptop
for a bit and was eventually offered something from the beverage
service: I had a coffee and a glass of water from the single F/A on
the flight, as well as a choice of some sesame snacks or biscuits (I
had the former; they are much better than the hated pretzels  Big thumbs up).

We eventually left our cruising altitude and began our approach to
YYZ. The approach was pretty awful. It felt as if during every turn
the captain made he needed to make corrections at least 2-3 times. I
don't know whether he was fighting wind or something else, but a
smooth approach this wasn't.

We touched down and taxied towards Terminal 2. Despite most of the
gates at Terminal 2 being empty, we taxied past the main terminal and
came to a halt at what can be best described as a "hut". The last time
I saw something like this excuse of a terminal was when I was flying
American Eagle out of Boston and I had to get a bus to their
"terminal". I saw CRJs parked at the main Terminal 2. So, why did they
park us in the middle of nowhere?. We stopped, the seat belt sign went
out, but they took around 5-10 mins to actually open the doors and
allow us out (I think they were waiting for the large carry-ons to be
unloaded and be available for pick up as we were disembarking). I
eventually got off, grabbed my carry-on, and walked into the

This was easily the worst BOS-YYZ flight I've done. Of course, given
that nothing really dramatic happened, it shows that the rest were
actually pretty good. But I'll take an A319 (Hell, I'll even take the
old DC9s which I've flown between BOS and YYZ a few times in the past)
over that tincan any day. I have to say I'm really interested in doing
the same flight on one of the new Embraers to compare the two. I
really hope AC eventually put them on this route.

Feb 12, 2005, YYZ

A bus was waiting for us which took us to the Terminal 2. At least
there was some common sense in the whole process as the bus offloaded
us next to the Canadian immigration desks, so we didn't have to walk
much further. I was second in line, the guy I talked to was very
polite, and a minute later I was out and being greeted by my
friends. Excellent. I've flown through YYZ many times, but this was
the first time someone greeted me there!

After a few hours in town, and having had excellent chicken wings and
beer at a bar called St Lewis, we were back at the airport. They
dropped me off in front of Terminal 1 and I walked towards
security. On the way I checked the boards to see whether my flight was
on time and which gate it left from. The board indicated Bus
next to my flight, which always amuses me (it'd be a long
and interesting bus ride from Toronto to Frankfurt!!!  Wink/being sarcastic). But, I
knew this meant that I had to get to my other hated "feature" of YYZ,
namely the infield terminal.

The line at security was extremely small (only one person in front of
me), so I went through quickly and made my way to AC's Maple Leaf
Lounge, which is just around the corner (I should point out that this
lounge is one of the best-looking ones I've ever visited). I showed my
Gold card and boarding pass to the agent at the entrance and she
inform me that, in fact, AC had opened a new lounge in the infield
terminal only two days earlier. I thought it was actually very nice
that she did that. I asked her whether the infield terminal was a
permanent feature and she said that it should be there for a couple of
years until the new wing of Terminal 1 opens. Then, there will be no
more bus rides to the gates (Yeeees!  Big thumbs up).

I spent 20 or so mins at that lounge and I had a soup and some water.
I then got on the bus to the infield terminal. It took 10-15 mins to
get there. According to my boarding pass, boarding was supposed to
start at 415pm. However, the board at the gate indicated that boarding
would start at 430pm (it was, apparently, indicated as 415pm on the
boarding pass to make sure that people not familiar with the infield
terminal allowed for enough time to get there). So, not knowing what
to do for the next 25 mins I decided to pop in to the Maple Leaf
lounge at the infield terminal to check it out (for future
reference). It's smaller than the other one, but it's still nice and
has all the necessary facilities. The agent at the door was extra
courteous, checked my boarding pass, addressed me by name, and
informed me that my flight was scheduled to start boarding on time. I
killed some time at the lounge and made my way back to the gate.

Feb 12, 2005, AC872, YYZ 515pm to FRA 700am, A333, Seat 16K, Gate 528

Boarding indeed started on time and, after pre-boarding, I was one of
the first people on board since I wanted to make sure that I could
find a place for my carry-on. Shortly after I sat down, a very tall
guy sat next to me. The plane was totally packed. This is great for
AC, not so great for the passangers. Around 515pm the captain informed
us that we would be pushing back 15 mins late, since we were still
waiting for 5 more passangers. We indeed pushed back just after 530pm
and taxied towards the runway. Around 545pm the captain informed us
that we were number 7 for take-off and he was expecting a 6pm
take-off. We eventually lined up on the runway and at 6pm sharp we
were in the air.

During overnight flights I always try to sleep as much as possible to
minimise jetlag. In fact, I had intentionally only got 4 hours of
sleep the previous night to maximise the probability of falling asleep
during the flight. Well, it didn't work. The tall guy on my left was
either pushing on my arm to get it off the arm rest, or elbowing me
(when he was taking notes on a book he was reading). If this was not
enough, the guy behind me kept kicking the back of my seat every 10
mins or so. As a result I could get bugger all sleep for the first 3
hours of the flight.

Finally, Mr Rude Elbowing Dude decided to fall asleep, so I thought
I'd finally be able to relax for a bit. Oh, no. As the world of dreams
started engulfing me (you know that nice relaxed feeling), we hit
severe turbulence. The captain told us to keep our seat belts fastened
and urged the crew to return quickly to their seats. Apparently, we
were being hit by a 150mph wind from the south-east and the turbulence
would last for 20 mins or so. I'm not afraid of turbulence but I
really couldn't get any sleep due to the plane shaking pretty badly. A
bit later things calmed down, only to unexpectedly hit another bad
patch 30 mins or so later. The captain urged the crew to take their
seats again and I'm glad I was not standing up, as I'm sure whoever
was standing up might have had a hard time staying up (again, it was
pretty bad; worse than I've experienced over the Atlantic for at least
5 years).

After all the excitement with the turbulence, I finally snoozed on and
off for a couple of hours until the lights came on and breakfast was
served. Interestingly, they started serving breakfast 2 hours before
arrival. If I remember correctly, it used to be 1.5 hours before
arrival. I wonder why they changed their policy. I wish they had let
us sleep for an extra 30 mins. Breakfast consisted of a cake (didn't
have it), a cereal bar, some fruit, a yoghurt, and coffee. Nothing to
write home about but, since I didn't have dinner, I was hungry and it
hit the spot.

After having breakfast, I'm always pretty tired but can't get any more
sleep. And the time between breakfast and landing always seems like an
eternity. I hate this part of the flight. As I said, I really wish
they had served breakfast 30 mins later, to minimise this. We
eventually started our approach towards FRA. We were heading SE
towards the airport, then we turned E, moved away from the airport,
and finally did a 180 degree turn towards it. We landed around 715am
and we were at the gate at 725am. A little bit of a delay, but nothing
too dramatic (anything under 30 mins I don't personally consider a
serious delay). I was not catching a connecting flight so I didn't

Feb 13, 2005, FRA

Having a seat towards the front of the cabin allowed me to get out
reasonably quickly and go through immigration before most of the other
passangers from my flight (it was pretty quiet anyway). Getting your
luggage at FRA takes, in my experience, a looooooong time (45mins at
least). Thankfully, I only had hand luggage and I managed to be out of
the terminal within 10 mins or so. Not bad. Not bad at all.


Feb 21, 2005, FRA

I got to the airport a couple of hours before the flight. Check-in was
very quick, as there was no line at the AC desks at all. I went
through security and immigration. I noticed that immigration has a new
automated system that relies on a retina scan. I do fly through FRA a
few times a year and I'd be interested in signing up for it
(apparently it's free), even just for the novelty of it. I'll maybe do
it next time I'm there.

AC doesn't have a Maple Leaf lounge at FRA, but I could still use the
LH lounges. Since I was not flying to the US I avoided the extra
US-specific security check, which was a bonus (I don't mind being
searched, but it always takes for ever to go through that one). There
was a LH lounge very close to my gate (in fact just over it) and that
meant I could maximise my time there, which I always like. I spent
about an hour at the lounge. As always, the lounge was very pleasant
minus one issue: smoking. Even though I tried to sit as far away from
the smoking area as possible, I still got a headache from it. Oh, and
it was totally packed.

I eventually reached the gate and I waited for the boarding call. It
came 20 mins later than indicated, so I assumied that we'll be leaving
with a small delay.

Feb 21, 2005, AC873, FRA 1110am to YYZ 155pm, A333, Seat 14K, Gate B44

I got on the plane, reached my seat, and hoped that I'll, for once,
end up with an empty seat next to me. Nope. My seat was occupied by
literally the last passanger to get on the plane (talking about
getting my hopes up!). At least the gentleman who sat next to me was
much more polite and courteous than Mr Rude Elbowing Dude.

Around 1115am the captain informed us that a connecting passanger
didn't make it to the flight, however his luggage did so they had to
identify it and remove it from the plane. This would apparently take
10-15 mins. At 1130am he said that he the passanger's luggage was
discovered and removed and that we would be pushing back after getting
de-iced. He also said that the passanger didn't miss his connection,
but he was flying on a false passport and he was detained by the
authorities. So, it was even more important to get his luggage off the
plane! Noone complained!

A few mins later de-icing started and, given that my seat was over the
wing, my window was covered with de-icing gunge. We pushed back a bit
later, but throughout taxi I could see very little out of the
window. This was quite annoying. It was only half-way through the
take-off run that my window cleared up. I then settled down for the
flight. The predicted flight time was 8 hours and change. The captain
said that we had a bit more fuel on board, so he'd try to make up for
the delayed departure.

The crew first offered drinks and then lunch, which was pretty
grim. The options were chicken, beef, or vegetable pasta. I had the
latter and, I have to admit, it was one of the worst meals I've ever
had on a plane. Apart from the horrible-looking pasta, the tray
included a large-ish salad, bread roll, some butter, and... no
dessert! The crew did offer biscuits with coffee, but I was a bit
annoyed with the lack of proper dessert. However, we were given (a
pretty good!) ice cream half-way through the flight, so I'll fogive
them (in fact, it's a nice way to do it; it breaks the monotony a
bit). Two hours before landing we were offered a snack, which was a
hot pizza (four-cheese or pepperoni). I had the four-cheese one and it
was pretty good (miles better better than the lunch!), but not as good
as LH's pizza snack, as I described in this trip report:

The movies were Sky Captain and From Here To Eternity, with lots of
other programming in between. I didn't watch any of it. I started
reading Dan Simmons' Hyperion and I got totally immersed into it. The
book was so good (I highly recommended it to any sci-fi fan), it was
frightening how quickly time passed.

We eventually started our descent towards YYZ. The captain informed us
that there had been a major snow storm at Toronto that morning, but
the weather had cleared aftewards so he didn't expect any major
weather-related problems. We did one of the smoothest landings I
remember and we were at the gate (at the infield terminal again)
around 2pm. So only a few mins late.

Feb 21, 2005, YYZ

I got out of the plane quickly and I managed to get on the first bus
to Terminal 1. The immigration area was totally empty when I got there
and I went through very quickly. Within minutes I was on the bus to
Terminal 2. US immigration at Terminal 2 was busier, but all the desks
were manned, so it only took 5 mins or so to go through it. Security
was busier and I somehow ended up on the line for the crew members.
Passangers were also allowed on it, but crew members kept jumping the
line so it took forever to go through (note to self: next time avoid
the rightmost security line!).

I still had around 45 mins to kill, so I went to the (very big) Maple
Leaf lounge at Terminal 2 and had some fruit and water. It was then
time to get to gate Q, only a 5-min walk from the lounge. I got there
and the area around the gate looked pretty chaotic, as there were two
flights leaving from that gate, the other one going to FLL. The AC
agent who was making the announcements talked with a very clear voice
and explained what was going on and that the BOS flight would be
boarding first. I saw people nodding as she was speaking so she had
obviously grabbed theit attention. Good for her.

Feb 21, 2005, AC364, YYZ 410pm to BOS 542pm, A319, Seat 14F, Gate Q

I think I was the third passanger to board the A319 and I was
surprised to find that my seat was missing the right arm rest (the one
on the window side). The other window seat on my row didn't have the
arm rest on the window side either. I wonder whether those are the
dedicated fat bastard seats! (in case you're wondering: no, I'm not!
 Smile). I didn't complain, it was very confortable.

The flight was totally packed and it did take a bit of time for all
the passangers to board. But we pushed back and took off more or less
on time. The captain informed us that our flight time would be
1h10m. We were, again, offered only drinks along with the sesame
snacks. I killed time by doing light work on my laptop. About 5 mins
before starting our descent, we hit a really big bump, the plane shook
and it tilted by quite a bit (at least 10 degrees) to the left. The
captain lit up the fasten seat belt signs and kept them lit for the
rest of the flight.

There was heavy cloud cover over the Boston area, which was as thick
as a... clam chowder (sorry, couldn't resist)! During our descent we
entered the clouds and for a long time I couldn't see anything out of
the window. It was pretty bumpy too. The clouds eventually cleared
(we must have been only a few hundred ft above the ground) and we
touched down less than a minute later. I could see heavy patches of
snow covering the runway. But, hey, if there's anyone who can safely
land a plane on snow, it's a Canadian pilot. So I was not
worried.  Big thumbs up After a short taxi we reached the gate right on time.

Feb 21, 2005, BOS

As I was walking into the terminal building, I saw an AC CRJ pushing
back. I was really glad I was not on it, given the weather. I was out
of the terminal within a couple of minutes and got on the Logan
Express bus 20 mins or so later. Overall, minus the grim pasta dish,
it was a good trip back to Boston. Thank you AC! Just make sure you
improve your food.
Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
Posts: 1975
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am


Wed Mar 02, 2005 4:32 am

Nice report SNATH. I was interested to hear of your opinion on the BOS-YYZ flight - I did that trip with AC on Feb. 7th and had a really nice flight! Admittedly though I was on an A319, and the flight was barely 20% full. Plus we didn't pull up at the "hut".

Should you be interested, I wrote this report of the trip:

I too was flying the Atlantic on Feb. 12th, but on VS EWR-LHR, although probably only about an hour or so behind you - I'm glad we missed those patches of turbulence though! We did have a couple of roughish spots, but not enough for the F/A's to be seated.
Ladies & gentlemen this is Captain Tobias Wilcock welcoming you aboard Coconut Airways flight 372 to Bridgetown Barb
Topic Author
Posts: 3049
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:23 am


Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:12 pm


(I did write a note on your trip report on that thread.)

I've also had great BOS-YYZ flights (both ways in fact) on planes with light loads. There's something very confortable about having an entire row to yourself. But not on this trip though!

I forgot to mention that you we got to YYZ on the way back the "gates" at the "hut" were full of CRJs. One more reason to avoid those little devils.

Consider yourself lucky that you avoided those bumps we hit! They were pretty bad. I mapped our flights using the Great Circle Mapper and it showed that you were most likely further south than us. Lucky you!


Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:57 am


Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:09 am

and I also had a confirmed seat (I somehow
thought I'd get it at the gate).

"Fun" fares don't allow you to go standby on an earlier flight. However, you can pay 50$ CAD (or 40$ USD...) and get a confirmed seat on an earlier flight. We wont make you pay 50$ and make you go standby, that's just not fair  Smile
Same for "Tango" fares: no standby, but pay 150$ CAD and get an earlier confirmed flight.

As fo "Latitude", "Freedom" and "Executive" fares, you are allowed to go standby for earlier flights, and there is no charge for earlier confirmed either.

Take a look at this link for more info on the different fares:

Great report! I'm glad you enjoyed your flights with us. I'm confident that AC will gain back passengers' loyalty within the next years.

"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:02 am


Fri Mar 04, 2005 2:27 am

Quoting SNATH (reply 0):
There was heavy cloud cover over the Boston area, which was as thick
as a... clam chowder (sorry, couldn't resist)! During our descent we
entered the clouds and for a long time I couldn't see anything out of
the window. It was pretty bumpy too. The clouds eventually cleared
(we must have been only a few hundred ft above the ground) and we
touched down less than a minute later. I could see heavy patches of
snow covering the runway.

I flew BOS - ATL on that same day. My flight took off at noon and Boston was completely covered in white, it had been snowing since 2am!
Topic Author
Posts: 3049
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:23 am


Fri Mar 04, 2005 3:02 am


Thanks for the info re: standby. I had seen the WWW page you pointed me to, with the explanation on different fares, but I was not sure whether "same day change" was really that or standby. I think $40 for a confirmed change on the day of the flight is reasonable and I didn't mind paying it, given that the ticket was not very expensive in the first place.

As for AC, I have never had any major problems with them and I've kept my elite status since 2000. It's interesting since when I wrote my first trip report last April for a BOS-FRA via YYZ trip,

it was all doom and gloom for AC (it was the time when a major investor had just pulled out; the previous day I think) and I could see employee morale being pretty low. This time everyone seemed much more upbeat. And that's a good thing too.

All the best,

Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
Posts: 2444
Joined: Thu Aug 12, 2004 12:02 am


Fri Mar 04, 2005 10:45 am

Here are a couple of pics of BOS on the morning of Feb 21st, I took them from terminal C.

Topic Author
Posts: 3049
Joined: Mon Mar 29, 2004 5:23 am


Fri Mar 04, 2005 11:10 am


Thanks for posting the pictures! It looks pretty cool, doesn't it? It's pretty amasing that they keep the airport operating under such conditions.

Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.

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