Arr 06:53 (+1)
As this was my first flight on Air Canada, I was not sure what to expect. Surfing the internet courtesy of McCarran Airport's free Wi-Fi, I learned about project XM and the IFE. This was unexpected since I had not heard about project XM before. During boarding, I was pleasantly surprised that our Airbus A320 aircraft was equipped with the project XM in-flight entertainment system!
After many years flying from McCarran, this would be the first time I have flown from Terminal 2. I was not impressed whatsoever. It's obvious this terminal is in need of replacement and I hope McCarran officials address this soon. A world class city like Las Vegas deserves to have a world class international terminal. At the moment, this terminal isn't even on the same level as some of the domestic terminals I have traveled through.
LAS Terminal 2
After boarding and the safety demonstration, we headed for runway 25R to begin our journey to Toronto. After a long take off roll, we were airborne. Not long after, the IFE system was activated. I watched the movie Vantage Point and listened to a few XM channels. I was very impressed with the amount of content available on the system.
Service was above average, but nothing to write home about. The flight attendants were courteous and professional, but only came around once for a drink and snack service.
Soon we started our initial decent into Toronto. Unfortunately the IFE service was discontinued thirty or so minutes prior to landing. I do not see the need to turn off the system for takeoff/landing although I'm sure there is some reason for it.
Soon after, the flight attendants made an announcement reminding us about the emergency exit locations. Apparently Canadian regulations require crew members to remind passengers about the locations of emergency exits on the aircraft on flights with duration of four or more hours. I've been staring at the Exit/Sortie sign for four hours; I know where the exit is! Like the IFE system being turned off for takeoff/landing, I am sure there is a reason for this procedure as well.
We landed on runway 24L and were soon at the gate. My brother and I found our way around YYZ fairly easily as customs and gate information is well signed and easy to follow.
Toronto Customs Area
Our aircraft prior to boarding
After a brief stay in Toronto, we were off to Montréal! After being impressed with the IFE on the A320, I was expecting a similar experience on this flight. Unfortunately, this would not be the case. The interior of the aircraft looked warn and was in need of replacement. Hopefully AC retrofits this aircraft soon as the dirty looking carpet and seats on this aircraft were not worthy of Canada's leading airline.
The audio in the safety demonstration video sounded garbled and was difficult to understand. The flight crew apologized for the audio troubles with the safety demonstration video but confidently stated we (the passengers) "got the general idea."
After landing in Montréal
I came for the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix after years of attending NASCAR races. This was the first of many Formula One races I plan on attending in the future. The city of Montréal was amazing! The whole city was full of history and culture. Not knowing any French, I thought I was have a difficult time getting around however navigating the city was fairly easy.
Formula BMW Racing
Formula One Race
Formula One Pit Lane
Formula One Podium
Before leaving, I also stopped by the ICAO and IATA Global Headquarters. Unfortunately the public library inside the ICAO was closed as it was undergoing renovations.
ICAO Global HQ
IATA Global HQ
Too quickly my time in Montréal was drawing to a close and soon it was time to head back to Vegas.
On the taxi ride to the airport, our cab driver almost side swiped another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle rolled down his window and started making gestures towards us. After noticing our cab driver laughing about the whole incident, I told him he was still a better driver than Lewis Hamilton. At least our driver obeyed all the traffic signals! We arrived at the airport shortly thereafter.
Prior to Departure
After departure from runway 24R, we were on our way back home. I decided to purchase a Chipotle Chicken Wrap for $6. The portion was relatively large and the meal was quite tasty! I observed many passengers also buying food onboard. I mainly listened to the XM channels on the IFE system during this flight. I also viewed an interesting Air Canada Project XM "Extreme Makeover" video which showed the first A320 receiving the latest Project XM interior upgrade. Also, the IFE system went down for about 30 minutes a quarter of the way through the flight, which was mildly annoying. We also experienced mild turbulence all throughout the duration of the flight.
All in all, my experience on Air Canada was generally positive. Their in-flight entertainment system is top notch and worth paying a premium over other airlines which may have lower fares but not as high quality of a product. The people and city of Montréal were amazing and turned my trip into a memorable experience. Finally, the Formula One race was excellent especially since Ferrari or McLaren Mercedes didn't win!
Thanks for reading!
EDIT: Added missing dates
[Edited 2008-06-11 09:04:04]