Vancouver 2010 - Pt.1: US Airways PHF
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I will also be making some videos after I finish writing and publishing my TRs! I hope you look forward on reading the other parts of this TR
and watching the videos that will follow.
During my last visit to Vancouver four years ago, my family joked that we would return to Vancouver for the 2010 Winter Games. Little did we know, we would actually return!
We have family in nearby Richmond, so our lodging and part of our food expenses would be taken of. All we had to do was get ourselves there.
Booking in late October, my dad paid the full fare from PHF
, myself paying the $99 companion fare. We had booked a maximum three-leg trip, and we were planning to pay a $50 same-day change to add an extra leg. I was very excited to get the chance to go to the Olympics!
In December, we also made reservations with Amtrak, Virgin America and Air Canada for a "Pacific Coast Side-Trip" leaving that day after the Closing Ceremonies.
The six months from the time of booking to the day before departure went by very fast. Since then, PHF
had announced the new arrival of Frontier Airlines coming up in May, and also has constructed the new concourse.
When the time came, I had lined up nine flights and one train for this journey:
Amtrak Cascades 513 VAN-SEA
As I followed the Olympics leading up to our departure, I couldn't wait to get into the action awaiting in Vancouver!
25 Feb 2010
N242JS - CRJ
My dad and I were dropped off at PHF
three hours early to fit into my mom's busy schedule. We also wanted to get there early so that we could try to add a fourth leg to our journey to Vancouver.
Upon arriving at the check-in desk, we were told to wait while the US agents were busy with paperwork. There was a standby passenger awaiting news for his flight there as well. After the standby passenger was helped, we waited as we watched the US staff wander around their counter aimlessly before they called us up for check-in.
Unfortunately after all that waiting, they were not able to change our itinerary and add that extra leg for $50. We passed through security and waited for our CRJ.
Not only does PHF
see commercial and private visitors, but the military conducts many touch-and-goes during the day. They kept us barely entertained as we recorded their impressive operation and waited for two hours for the flight.
Our plane to Charlotte arrived as we prepared to embark on our Olympic journey!
Flying US out of PHF
usually limits people to flying a CRJ or Dash-8. By now, we've gotten used to it.
The other US aircraft in PHF
We were soon in the air. My first flights of 2010 did excite me, especially considering my destination! But, I was still persistent to get that fourth leg on my itinerary, so we decided to use my US Airways Club pass in CLT
. Before entering, however, we would try to get our extra flight in by asking the club representatives for help.
One good thing about flying those dreaded CRJs to CLT
is the opportunity to de-board straight to the tarmac!
New FIDS near the E concourse!
We arrived at the Club and learned that our preferred DFW
options were full, but there was room on the CMH
option. I quickly made a mad dash down to B16. For those not familiar with CLT
, B16 is at the very end of the B concourse! I finished my fast-walk sprint only to find out that there was no more room as they had already issued the standby passengers tickets.
We went ahead and rendered my club pass and enjoyed the club. Wi-fi from T-Mobile for non-club members had to be accessed from a card given by the front desk. The food had improved over the last visit: Milano cookies, cheese and crackers, Sun Chips and their famous spicy trail mix combination. Mu dad enjoyed taking pictures as well.
I ventured outside the Club and soaked in the sights and sounds of the Main Atrium.
After shooting video from above the Bank of America Business Center, I checked my balance at one of the convenient Bank of America ATMs and ordered my traditional fried okra and two pieces of fried pickle from Carolina Pit BBQ.
My dad and I soon made our may to our next flight.
N604AW - Airbus 320
Since my dad was a credit card holder for one of US Airways' programs, we had priority boarding in zone two. We arrived at our gate...
only to find out that there had been a gate change!
By now, they were in the middle of boarding procedures. We ended up having to check in one of our carry-ons because there wasn't any more room in the overheads.
My flight notes
Being in the middle seat may be a dread, but not if you can start a conversation with the window-seated passenger. She was headed to Bakersfield to visit her grandkids. She let me take some pictures out the window over the duration of the flight.
Meal service soon started after departure. My dad and the other lady bought a turkey ranch ciabatta club for $7.
On the other hand, I pulled out my $2 of fried okra and fried pickle from Carolina Pit BBQ and ate that contently.
Two drink rounds and a meal round were conducted for our flight. I took every chance I got when the lady got out of her seat to take pictures.
Soon, we started our descent into PHX
We had another two hours in PHX
before connecting to YVR
. My dad and I decided to go look for some dinner to kill some time.
FIDS in PHX
Our plane to YVR
We went to a burrito place for dinner. My dad bought a rice bowl, and I myself bought a burrito.
For $7, we thought this was a rip-off.
After dinner, we returned to our gate. My dad's phone was draining battery at a very fast rate for some weird reason, so we wanted to find an outlet, fast.
To my dismay...
Air Canada luggage tags for Vancouver 2010.
N664AW - A320
We soon boarded. The F/As had Vancouver 2010 pins with their uniforms.
Placards make finding the registration so much easier!
Interesting tray ad.
More wing views.
Shortly after I finished taking taxi and take-off videos and pictures, a drink service followed. I was curious to try one of the mixers (the alcoholic beverages without the alcohol) for $1. That pomegranate mixer lasted me the whole flight, as I had to dilute it with ginger ale many times.
I got quite bored, so the bottle became am interesting photo subject.
During the flight, I talked with one of the locals and learned about their opinions and ideas of Vancouver and Victoria. I also got some shut-eye before arrival.
We landed in Vancouver very close to midnight.
After clearing the customs area (which was amazing too), we arrived in Vancouver Intl's amazing arrivals hall!
We waited for my uncle to get the car as my dad and I caught up with my aunt. The midnight arrivals were coming in, and we left YVR
. We stayed with our relatives in Richmond, near the fishing village of Steveston.
That night, we changed plans. Instead of going to Victoria the next day, we decided to stay in the Vancouver area to absorb the Olympic experience as much as we can. We came to Vancouver to celebrate the Olympic ideals with the world, and wow, what a party it was going to be!
Continued in Part 2!
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[Edited 2010-03-05 22:34:09]