I will focus on the return trip as there are some photos available. Here are some quick facts about the MUC-PHL-YUL journey:
- I have shown my passport 11 (!) times to different people from curbside to curbside
- Left MUC on-time from the “new” Terminal 2 which is very nice. Boeing 767-200, Reg N656US. Load Factor approx. 90%
Photo © Joseph K Wagner
- Plane was clean, crew was nice, food was terrible
- Immigration in PHL was extremely easy
- Transfer from Terminal A to Terminal F is quite far. You can take the bus or walk, I did the latter to “smell” some clean Philly air
- PHL-YUL was on a Canadair Jet which with a 100% loading factor. I specially enjoyed the tiny baby next to me, screaming the entire flight.
- Immigration at YUL was easy again, a beautiful young girl stamped my passport
- Baggage claim…….. NO BAGS! There were about 20 people there without their luggage, we checked 5 pieces (incl. Ski’s and Boots), none of it made it to YUL. After lining up for about 40 minutes we could at least file a report. Seems to me US is a bit understaffed at YUL. AC employees didn’t care for any of the US pax. (where’s the Star Alliance co-operation gone?) The bags were delivered to our hotel 23 hours later.
February 15, 2005
US 3281 – operated by Chautauqua, Buffalo based crew
ERJ 145 – Reg unknown
We showed up at the airport way to early as we didn’t know how long the US Immigration queue would be. We were promptly greeted by a extremely unfriendly US Airways employee who obviously did not care too much. She checked our luggage and had great trouble finding a way to accommodate 5 pieces in her computer (Skiing equipment counts as 1 bag). She made it and we proceeded through to US immigration, before that my girlfriend stopped by the nice duty free shop.
Immigration was very easy, got another US stamp in my passport and proceeded to have some dinner in the very nice departure hall.
Here’s a picture of your plane waiting at the gate:
The YUL Departure area:
My girlfriend was staring at the plane all the time to see whether our bags were loaded, yes they were!
Boarding was a bit late due to late arrival of the aircraft. The plane looked very nice and clean and I got the lovely single row A seat on the ERJ. The usual safety announcements were made and soon we were on our way to the RWY (sorry, don’t remember which one it was). Here are some taxi pictures:
Take off was as powerful as usual with the ERJ, we got some nice views of the city and the frozen river. (Excuse the bad image quality…)
The flight itself was uneventful, the f/a wasn’t very nice though. Seemd like she did not have much fun doing her job. The approach into PHL was very nice, I don’t know how many other planes I saw but there were loads.
Here are some – rather bad – shots of the approach and the cabin:
The landing was very smooth and we only taxied 2 minutes to our gate on the F concourse. Apparently we were a bit too fast in taxing because the gate wasn’t staffed when we arrived, so we ended up waiting another 15 minutes on the plane.
This time we took the shuttle bus from Terminal F to Terminal C which is very convenient. The walking distance from C to A is still pretty long but there are a lot of shops and eateries around. All in all I find PHL a nice airport, specially the Terminal A. It looks very new to me, anybody knowing when it was built?
Here are two pictures from the transfer area in Terminal A – our gate was changed to 16 after the original plane went mechanical.
Well, after that photo my battery died…. So no more pix from now on, sorry!
Anyway, boarding was done very fast as we were already 1 hour behind schedule.
Boeing 767-200 – Reg unknown
Seat 15F, later changed to 12F (bulkhead)
This time, the plane was half empty. It was not until we left the gate that the f/a’s allowed people to change seats. I find that pretty strange, wouldn’t you want to move people before taxi? Anyway, the usual safety briefing was followed by a lengthy taxi and an ever longer holding short of the active. We were number 7 in line.
The B762 didn’t look very clean this time. The floor was extremely dirty and the over wing emergency exit did not really look good. I’m sure it was ok but it would definitely help improving passenger comfort if the door also looks locked….
After 1 hour into the flight the crew came around with the usual beef or pasta choice. I chose the beef which was actually excellent. After dinner I moved to the bulkhead seat to catch some sleep. I was not woken up for breakfast and thus went to the galley to ask for some coffee and a croissant about 45 mins before landing. Shouldn’t be a biggy, right? Well guess what – I kinda had to fight to get at least a coffee, no croissant this time.
The approach into MUC was very very bumpy this time. We were delayed another 45 minutes due to a heavy snow storm over the field. (Later it turned out that LH had cancelled all domestic flights out of MUC that day.) The landing was a bit rough but ok.
De-planing was great, one has to walk quite a while to reach baggage claims as all US or A flights arrive at the very end of the terminal due to their increased security need/wish.
Well, guess where our 5 bags were this time….. back in Philly. HOW GREAT! Lufthansa handles all the baggage claims at MUC, there were approx. 30 people waiting in line. They serve free coffee / tea / water in that area – great stuff LH! Claimed our bags and were promised that they will be delivered to our swiss address. So here we were in Munich without baggage again. Well, that’s life.
To finish the baggage story: Two days later, a nice lady from Zurich (!) Airport called me to tell me that our bags were delivered to ZRH but because US doesn’t fly there I would have to go and pick-up my bags personally. Great service, isn’t it?
After all I would fly with US again, the price was incredibly low. Food and people were ok (it’s an American company after all – you simply can’t compare their service attitude to a BA or SQ) the only negative point was the baggage. Come on, both times they left it at PHL…. That can be improved, no?
Hope you guys enjoyed my rather long trip report. Any comments are welcome!