I walked to the check-in kiosks, where, as expected, the system was unable to find my booking. For some reason I was not able to use the web check-in earlier either. I think it might have had something to do with my ticket being on a student fare, and it needs to be verified that I am indeed a student (even though they never checked for this).
Anyways, I waited in line like the technically uneducated, and was quickly checked in by an agent. She moved me up to seat 7F, which I didn't notice until later was on the opposite side of the aircraft I had originally wanted to be on. It worked out well though, which I'll get to soon. I got my boarding pass and made my way to security, which took a little longer than I am used to and was pretty thorough. The officer went through my entire camera bag and asked me lots of questions about the camera; I wonder if he was genuinely interested, or if it is a method to trip up a potential terrorist?
Once through security, I walked to just about the furthest gate: 13B. This gate shares the area with gate 13, which was a Canjet flight, so it was difficult to tell how many people would be on my flight. This I find about the most boring part of any flight: waiting a half hour or more for boarding to begin. At Ottawa airport, it isn't really worth walking around to check out the planes because the most interesting aircraft would probably be the Zoom 767 - a good-looking but hardly exotic airplane.
Eventually, boarding began for my flight. My pass was scanned and I walked down the jetway, placing my carry-on in the skycheck area. My airplane was a green CRJ, fin number 185.
Photo © Greg Gabbidon
Upon entering the airplane, I was pleased to notice it was not packed to the rafters as has been every other flight I have ever been on - I would guess it was 50-70% full. I took my seat and soon realized I didn't have anyone sitting beside me! Talk about comfort, it was like sitting in First! We pushed back right at scheduled departure time, 6:30, and started the long taxi to the active RWY25.
The take-off roll was a brisk 30 seconds. Upon liftoff, I was blown away by the incredible view of the city below. I had never flown at night before, and my seat on the right side of the plane (thank you AC agent!) allowed me a great view of the lights of Ottawa below. Soon the seatbelt sign went off and drink service began. When the F/A came to me, I asked if she would mind if I moved to the empty window seat at the very back of the plane, 13A (row 13 being empty). She said sure, probably wondering why I would want to do such a thing. I had my reasons though, as I knew Toronto would be passing to the left of the airplane .
I was offered and accepted a coke, and enjoyed the view as we approached the area known as the Golden Horseshoe, in all the comfort that can be expected from 31" of pitch (I kid, it was more than enough for someone the size of myself on such a short flight). I tried (rather unsuccessfully) to identify each city as they came into view. Soon, we were passing right over Toronto, and I was amazed by the view of downtown as it emerged from under the wing (the weird thing about CRJs is even the row furthest back is nearly over the wing). I would guess we passed over at about 10,000 feet, and I could easily make out all the major landmarks of the downtown core of Canada's largest city. I snapped off a couple photos, knowing full well they would be blurry and noisy, just for fun. If you look really closely, you can just make out the CN Tower, right beside the glow of blue light that is the SkyDome... errr Rogers Centre.
Our descent into YHM had begun, and it wasn't long until we touched down. It was hard to judge for sure, but it seemed like we landed really early, almost right on top of the piano keys. Taxiing at Hamilton always seems to take forever, maybe because I am unfamiliar with the layout. We parked, and I was the last to exit the airplane. Upon disembarkation, I noticed we had parked right beside a CF-18 jet, which I assume was in town for Rememberance Day.
I thoroughly enjoyed this flight, and from now on I am going to try and fly at night whenever possible, simply for the great view. Thanks for reading, and comments are more than welcome!
[Edited 2005-11-12 22:43:24]