Allow me to introduce myself as Josh. This is my first post here on Airliners.net - I've been reading these forums and especially trip reports and enjoyed it massively. I get to fly quite a lot between the UK and Canada for both work and play, so here is my attempt at a trip report. Pictures are limited (I'll explain more about this a little later on) and there's one video of the take off roll from Heathrow. I look forward to reading your comments.
It was a very early morning leaving for the airport. I left my place at around 3 AM and headed down to Heathrow. I made a brief coffee stop at the Oxford services on the M40 as this trip had been booked with less than 24 hours notice and had spent the previous day running around sorting bits and pieces out. The reason for many of my trips out to Toronto in particular is due to my long-term girlfriend living just outside the city. When she can't come here, I go there and so on.
I made it to Heathrow a bit earlier than I anticipated and spent a dreary hour or so sitting around for AC to open their web check-in desk, but that wasn't a problem, it gave me the time to get all the cash I would need for the trip and generally take a wonder around T3 to see what was going on. It was interesting looking at all the US-bound flights aswell as the huge queues forming for the Asian airlines and felt glad I was pre checked in.
With the AC desk now open, I proceeded to give the guy my printed boarding card and threw my luggage on the conveyor belt. He was fairly passive, but to be honest, at that time of morning and the moron of a passenger that had given him a hard time before myself, I was willing to let him go. He confirmed my seat and I went upstairs to proceed through security.
I'm not quite sure what happened with my printer, but the security lady's scanner couldn't read the card I'd printed, which subsequently meant I had to walk backwards through the tight line-up for the first of the security points (the one where they check your boarding card and passport). She assured me I could jump the queue when I got back.
I came back upstairs and jumped the queue to face a few comments from the average business type, which gave me a few smirks. I continued through the security checks which were surprisingly quick. The standard everything in your jacket, belt off and into the container procedure. Before reaching the duty free stores, you go through the second scanner where you have to take your shoes off. I love this part of T3, not because I get to take my shoes off, but it's great to people watch there. You watch people's reactions as they're told by a burly security guy to take off their shoes, some will conform, others have a look of death about them. Fantastic stuff, really.
Upon reaching what BAA call a departure lounge, I grabbed a Latte from Starbucks, sat down with the Blackberry and checked my emails etc.
When the board started flashing, I made my way to our gate. I'm not sure which gate it was from a passenger's point of view, but those of you that know LHR will know what I mean by stand 326.
Once getting into the lounge, there were the standard papers/magazines that AC offer and I took a good look at our plane - C-GDVW fin 909. She's a hybrid one.
Boarding commenced in a relatively short period of time and was quite exciting to be getting on an A340 for just the second time, come to think of it was only my second time on an Airbus, in the past it's been Boeing's only. It was actually an emergency race back from Toronto that landed me on my first Airbus, an A340.
I boarded the plane and was greeted by a hottie of an FA (something of a rarity for AC...jks!) and was pointed to my seat, 12A. I took my seat and snapped this shot:
I met my seat mate for the flight, she was a nice lady, but she was also a diabetic. This is part of the reason why I didn't get time to snap many shots. She had been feeling really rough ever since about an hour into the cruise, as she was friendly and chatty enough, I didn't really mind helping her and getting her meds from the overhead.
Before pushing back, the captain informed us that the in flight entertainment system was down, but should be back up again during the flight.
The push back was pretty long, we were pushed back on H, onto B and quite a bit further back than that, so another aircraft could leave the ramp for taxi before us. I thought that to be a bit weird, but the wait was only a few minutes.
The taxi was smooth and took us right down B parallel with 27R, which was at the time being used for arriving aircraft, so I got to see a few of the early morning arrivals from the other side of the pond. I was surprised how many T7's I saw, I knew a lot were used for the US-UK routes but was staggered to see so many landing, one after the other.
We entered runway 27L with only a minor pause for a BA B763 to depart, I managed to take the following video of the roll, it was nice to see a packed out T4:
With that, the flight across the pond commenced. I believe the tracks were somewhat northern that day and added an extra twenty minutes onto the published time of arrival, yet somehow we managed to arrive 30 minutes prior to when we should have, go figure...
The meal was served about an hour in, and was a hot breakfast. It wasn't as bad as it looked. It was an omlette with vegetables and some other breakfast bits and pieces, such as yoghurt and a croissant. I love how fresh AC's croissants taste, they really don't taste indifferent to something you'd get in a good resturant.
With the meal down and gone, I sat back into the flight and chatted with my seat mate, and made a joke (audiable to one FA) about when the IFE might come back on. As it happened, the IFE wasn't going to come back on, we would have to entertain ourselves for the duration of the flight. When the announcement was made there was a certain rush for the washrooms and people started pacing the aisles, which instantly took away my chances of sleep and some rest, seens as I'd now been on the go for close to 32 hours none stop.
The rest of the flight continued without hitch, and was a smooth ride with regular coffee services. I tried to look out the window but the sun was blinding, and everytime I did the girl (18/19 at most) would sigh lud enough and give me evil stares. She sighed so loud I could hear her, despite the fact she was sat on 12G. That was in flight entertainment for me!
As with nearly all the AC LHR-YYZ trips I've been on, about an hour and a half from arrival, the crew serve some hot pastry type food which are usually really good. I had one containing bacon and cranberry and was really tastey and washed down with the "Second Cup" coffee AC serve very well indeed.
Overhead Ottawa, I guess, my seatmate felt a bit sick, so we spent a few minutes trying to get the attention of an FA, who eventually came and offered her a glass of milk. To be fair to the FA's I think they were pretty tired from this one, a lot more people asking for a lot more stupid stuff because of the lack of IFE, and subsequent rest issues took over. They put on a brave face though and did well.
Upon starting the descent, things became a little bumpy, I knew from checking the WX prior to departure that T-O was having a few snow storms and would more than likely be a bumpy ride down.
As it happens, it was a pretty bumpy ride down, about 10 mins from realising we were on the glide, around Simcoe, I suppose the captain pulled the speedbrakes to max extension. Even as a pilot myself, it still makes you feel like gasping when you're riding as a passenger.
The ride down on the glide was bumpy, lots of pitch and throttle was constantly being jerked around due to the weather (the snow really was bad) and eventually the FO slammed us down onto runway 23, it took us a long time to slow down and we didn't exit the runway until the very last taxiway, H.
The taxi in was slow an agonising, once I know I'm back home (in Toronto) I have an overwhelming urge to run off the plane, clear customs and run into arrivals. I'm just a huge big kid, with tingles and giggles included.
I helped my seatmate and grabbed her stuff from the overhead, she seemed embarassed to ask as she knew the importance of my coming to Toronto if I'd mid grabbing her case off the conveyor belt in the baggage hall. I didn't really mind, she was such a nice person, it seemed the least I could do.
We raced through the terminal and came to that HORRIBLE room where you queue up to go through customs. I tell you, the guy I had that day must not be getting any. He kept me chatting for what seemed like 30 minutes, and was being really anal about the most stupid of things. He knew I wasn't upto anything, anyone with half a brain knew I wasn't doing anything wrong, he just had to carry on. He must have enjoyed it.
I met up with Sue (the seatmate) in the baggage hall and went to the reclaim conveyor. Our bags weren't coming up, they were taking forever, it's as if airport staff knew I was coming and held some sort of vendetta, I was getting real mad real quick, but fortunatley Sue's bag came up and within 30 seconds so did mine.
With that, I cleared the baggage hall and entered the ramp area into T1 arrivals, I said goodbye to Sue and ran to rendezvous point, and straight into my baby's arms...(cue sobby music LOL)
My return flight will be posted at some point in the near future, I hope you all enjoyed this one, and of course, comments are most welcome.
Thanks for reading,