Here's the full itinerary:
This one is just the first two legs, because I took so many pictures on the 777.
I had just returned from Paris with some friends on the 23rd, and this was the 26th and I was off again to Canada. Paris was for fun, while Canada was for business. I needed to be in YYZ on Monday and YUL on Tuesday. Instead of that, I made a weekend of it and went to YUL for the weekend. Then I made a day trip to YYZ on Monday on the Air Canada Rapidair service.
My original intent was to fly to YYZ on the 7pm flight in the 25th, but I didn't have time to get work and laundry done inbetween. In going to YUL, I could have flown on AA the whole way, connecting in ORD, JFK, or even MIA, but I'm very glad I decided to change in YYZ. As this was a winter Saturday, there was no nonstop DFW-YUL. It operates every day except Saturday in the winter.
A deciding factor in my itinerary was the availability of first class (sold as business class to Canada) seats on AA. The YYZ nonstop Saturday morning only had about 4 people booked in business, so I was relatively sure I could get a seat.
AA 1252 DFW-YYZ January 26th, 2008. N970AN (3DC) Seat 4A.
The flight was rather empty. Business class ended up having 9 out of 16, and there were seats available in coach.
Scheduled 10:55am - 2:50pm. It ran about 15 minutes late.
Photo © Mathieu Pouliot
I was given seat 4A, as we boarded from gate D28 in the beautiful D terminal at DFW. Here's the view out from my window on the winglet-equipped 737-800, looking at a 767-300 that was getting ready to go to Hawaii.
Here's a blurry view inside the business class compartment. It's a really comfortable plane for a domestic narrowbody. I was in 4A and 4B was empty, which made it even more comfortable for the 3 hour flight to Toronto.
While waiting to close up, an MD80 pulled up at D29, possibly arriving from Mexico.
Departure time was 10:55am, but catering arrived at 10:45am. The flight attendant in the forward galley worked faster than I have ever seen a flight attendant work. She got most of her work done in the 10 minutes before we pushed out, and left some items loose above the galley as she did the safety briefing. On the 737-800, the safety briefing was on a video, so she didn't have much to do with it anyway.
During the video, a gentleman across from me asked if he could have his pre-departure beverage. She replied that she was not doing pre-departure beverages. He asked, in an accusatory voice (suspecting the flight attendant of shirking her duties), why she wasn't doing them. The flight attendant explained that catering arrived just before it was time to close up, and we were taxiing already, while the galley was still not prepared for takeoff.
We taxied from Terminal D to runway 17R on the east side of the airport. I remember that when we were over the bridge that connects the west and east sides of the airport, she was still furiously working in the galley. On the takeoff roll, one of those 1 liter bottles of water was still loose, but it didn't fall. I noticed on the takeoff roll how they rotated enough to get off the runway, and once in the air, they pulled back further. That seems to be normal on the long 737s due to how long the plane is and now low it is.
Once in the air, they announced that they would be giving out free headsets (rather than the $2 charge) but that was because the audio system was broken for about half of the plane. I plugged in my Bose headset and discovered the audio was inoperative. It was extremely loud static.
As we reached climb altitude of 37,000, the flight attendant came by with orders for lunch. The choice was a pasta or a barbecue beef sandwich. I've had it before, so I ordered the BBQ beef sandwich. It wasn't as good as I remembered, partly because it was heated for too long in the oven, and was stuck to the bottom of the plate. I looked around and saw others trying to deal with it (because everyone seemed to have ordered the same sandwich). After I knifed it off the bottom, it came off the plate.
Shortly afterwards, we began our descent into YYZ. We had been over cloudcover for the whole flight. The only thing of interest was when I spotted a Southwest 737 with winglets in Canyon Blue somewhere halfway between DFW and YYZ. I zoomed right beneath us.
Here's an airport we overflew as we broke out of the clouds.
As we lined up for the runway I decided to take a video of the landing. I didn't take one on takeoff, because it is awkward to get a decent video from first class.
It looked really cold! It was snowing. One of the first things I noticed was the elaborate deicing pad they had organized. Here is an Eagle with green wings, coming out of decing.
As we taxied in, I was a bit nervous about my connection time. I was hoping to catch the 777-300, and had two hours. I had to clear customs and immigration, and slowing me down was the fact that I checked a bag, due to the bulky heavy clothes I brought with me to fight the cold temperatures. Then I had to get to the other terminal and check in with plenty of time to get my bag checked on the 5:00 Air Canada 777-300.
As luck would have it, even though the bags were slow, customs and immigration was professional and fine. I was through the process by 3:45. I took the train to the Air Canada terminal and found the check-in area they have for their Rapidair service. They call their frequent shuttle service to YOW and YUL their "Rapidair" service.
When I checked in, I was not using a business ticket, but was using a ZED pass for personal use, as I was going to YUL on my own. Even though I had low priority for a seat, the agent was very cordial, and said that not only was the flight very empty, but it allowed her to give me a seat right away. I asked for and received a window seat..41K.
I was through security by 4:00pm, as there was no line of significance.
Here's the 4:00pm Rapidair 767 to YUL.
Some European flights. I saw KLM 777, Air France A340, Olympic A340 (and saw it again in YUL), which are in the pictures. A BA 777 taxied in as we pushed out later.
There's a big charter airline that I didn't really know about, called Skyservice. Anyway, they have a big operation at YYZ and YUL, and use some A320s that are still in MyTravel and First Choice paint, which was amusing to see! I don't know that I have ever seen a MyTravel or First Choice narrowbody before. Usually I only see their heavy jets.
Here's another shot of the charters.
Here's a view of Air Canada's terminal 1.
As I walked around, I saw my 777-300 being towed in from the hangar to my gate. C-FUIL. It looked huge.
And here it is up close. A bigger plane than I had flown to France. There weren't too many passengers in the boarding area for such a big plane.
Finally it was time to board, and I hadn't expected to see the really awesome Executive Class seats Air Canada has installed. There were lots of them inside the 777-300, which boarded from two jetbridges. The jetbridge split, and Executive Class boarded from L1, while Economy boarded from L2.
Here's a better pic borrowed from a.net
Photo © Eric Fortin - AirTeamImages
Very impressive. Especially for a 1 hour flight!
Walking into economy class. Very spacious.
The overhead bins are so large and so high that they have a convex mirror in them so you can see if you left any items in the bin.
The view from my seat as people were still boarding.
Here is the view outside at the huge wing. Notice all the snow on it.
On the floor were some wrappers from a previous flight and an improper cleaning that had asian writing on them. I surmised the flight came from PVG.
Looking into the cabin now with the bins shut. I had all 9 seats to myself on my row! The flight was rather empty. I started checking out all the features on this very modern, updated aircraft. The more I looked around and observed, the more it impressed me.
The video monitor was rather large.
I started considering what deicing was going to be like--I had never had a good view during deicing before.
I'm glad they could squeeze me in.
I'm not sure what this is. It looks like a USB port on the left side of the screen.
On the right side of the screen was a powerport. It was an actual power socket. It was impressive compared with the normal strange power ports. This was an "Empower" port, and they were hooked up on the right two seats of each section of three seats. So, A didn't have one, but B and C did. This pattern repeats across the cabin.
We pushed out, and taxied up to the deicing pad. We were adjacent the Air France A340 F-GLZH. It reminded me of one of those gas station car washes, because, as we taxied, a big display that said AC420 on it had a message, that printed "SLOW" and then "STOP" and red lights came on. Then 2 deicing trucks pulled up to each surface area. Here's a video!
That was rather interesting to watch. First they cleaned off the snow with a high power blast, and then followed up with the bright green stuff. I'm sorry if my high-tech vocabulary has lost a few of you.
The sun was setting as we were deicing, so by the time we took off it was dark. The early winter sunset made my takeoff video become a night video, but it has good sound, so it's OK.
The glycol on the window kind of messes up the focus, but it's still somewhat watchable.
During the climb, they turned on the videos and started a beverage service. I got a nice hot tea to keep me warm. The crew was friendly, but they were rushed, having only about 30 minutes of usable time to complete the service on the 777, even though it was empty. I had a really good experience with Air Canada staff on some of the other flights, which will be in the next report.
The most interesting and unexpected part was where the cabin lights started changing colors. Here are a few shots of the different colors.
The blue is the color that remained on through our taxi-in.
On the video screens, there was a full selection of movies and tv on demand. The map was not active during the flight, which is a bit of a disappointment, but I chose some British Comedy to watch.
British comedy show that had an aviation-related scene, if you know what this is!
A zoomed out view giving the size of the monitor.
I didn't get through the 25 minute show when they began shutting things off and descending into Montreal.
Landing at YUL. It's a dark video (since it was at night) but it has a good cabin interior shot at the end.
Our 777-300 was going to do the 8:45pm YUL-CDG flight, so we parked at the international terminal. We had to wait for some international traffic to clear, before they could give us a clear shot out of the terminal to avoid customs and immigration. We waited for about 15 minutes.
Some shots walking off the plane.
I had to claim my bag again, which wasn't a big problem. I do usually just carry a bag onboard though. I noticed at the belt, as each bag came through, an Air Canada employee with a handheld scanner was scanning the barcode on each piece of luggage, which recorded in their computer system that each bag made it to the belt.
Part 2 will follow.
Thanks for reading.
[Edited 2008-02-26 19:08:36]