Hello everyone I'm back with another trip report. My whole family is from Poland (though a good chunk of my mom's side has since moved here), so every few years either someone comes to visit us here in the US or we make a trip over there. The last time we were there was four years ago, and since one of my cousins was getting married during the summer my parents figured this was the perfect time to head over there again. Another one of my cousins also moved to Switzerland a few years ago, so before going to Poland we decided to fly there first and check things out for a few days since none of us had been to that country before. The routing for the whole trip ended up being ORD
, and LO
. Traditionally my dad usually always books non-stop flights, so there must've a pretty big difference in price that caused him to come up with this crazy itinerary. Obviously I was pretty disappointed that he didn't decide to go with the LO WAW
segment on the return because I was really eager to fly on their 787, but at least I'd be getting my first career 747 flights in its place. Instead of covering the whole trip in one report, I've decided to split it up into three different parts, so the first one will be covered here. Now on to the report...(July 5-6)
When I woke up for our trip on the morning of July 5 I was pretty tired since the previous days had been pretty hectic and without much sleep. I had been taking summer classes down in Tucson and my final exam was in the afternoon on July 3. On top of having to study for that, I also had to move out of my apartment, so the last days two over there were kind of a mad scramble. After my exam I flew back to MKE
later that evening on WN
, and the flight didn't get in until almost 1 AM
. Then of course the next day it was the 4th of July so it’s not like I was going to sleep in on that occasion.
Anyhow, once we were all set to go my grandparents and uncle picked us up at about 10 AM
and we started the drive down to ORD
. The traffic was light so we got there in about an hour’s time and there was still plenty of time before our 1:10 PM
flight to YYZ
. We got dropped off at terminal one and after saying our goodbyes we headed inside to check in. When we got up to the self-checkin machine there was some momentary confusion because when I typed in ZRH
as the final destination it said "No reservation found." We eventually got the reservation to pop up after I typed in YYZ
instead. I'm guessing that had something to do with the fact that our first leg was on UA
and then the second one was on AC
. They still gave us the boarding passes for both flights and tagged our bags all the way to ZRH
though. I noticed from our boarding passes that our flight was leaving from the F gates which was in terminal two. I figured we'd have to take the airport tram to get over there but I was surprised to find out that there was walkway connecting the two - though I probably should've assumed there was one. The line for security was short but as usual it was kind of a hassle for me because of all the things I had to unpack (take off belt, shoes, empty pockets, pull laptop out from crammed backpack, etc.). Once we were done with that we walked all the way down to the end of the concourse to gate F12 where our E145 was already waiting for us.
This was going to be my first flight on a fifty-seater in a long time. When my dad booked the trip during the winter, this flight was initially supposed to be with an A320. Seems like these equipment swaps never seem to work out in my favor.
There was still a fair bit of time before boarding, so I decided to walk around to see what else was going on. Seeing as how it was the day after the 4th of July, the terminal was pretty busy with lots of folks undoubtedly heading home after the holiday.
I stopped next to one of the restaurants to watch the end of the Djokovic/Del Potro Wimbledon semi-final and then headed over to the E gates. This DL
DC-9 was pushing back for its flight to DTW
- built in 1975 and still going strong!
I did a daytrip from ORD
back in May just to get on the DC-9 one last time, and since they're no longer a regular at MKE
this might end up being the last time I ever see one up close. It’s definitely been one of my favorite planes to fly on, so if anyone of you still have a chance to get on one these last few months I encourage you to do so.
I was starting to get a little hungry at that point so I grabbed some McDonalds and then went back to the gate. While I was waiting for my order there was some older guy there who was making quite a scene demanding his money back. I don't know if it took him too long to get his food or if they messed up his order, but he definitely could've toned it down a bit. Once I was back at the gate I ate my two cheeseburgers and then waited for boarding to start.
I headed back to seat 16A and even though I had the single aisle seat, I had forgotten how cramped it is on these small jets. I'm 6'1 but couldn't stand up straight without hitting my head on the ceiling. I could tell even the rest of my family was a little surprised because I'm sure they've become accustomed to flying solely on mainline flights. Once boarding was finished we pushed back and made a bit of a long out to runway 14L. We waited for a UA
767 to land on runway 22R and then took off to the east.
Continuing our climb-out over Lake Michigan.
Not long after takeoff the lone flight attendant started the drink service and I got some ginger ale and a cup of coffee. She later passed out the immigration forms and since there were only lines for four names on each card, I filled one out for myself while my mom, dad, brother, and sister went on the other card. Overall there were a couple of scattered empty seats on this flight, particularly towards the back where we were sitting. As we got closer to YYZ
the clouds started to thicken up and the captain had announced earlier that the weather there was indeed pretty dreary. The flight attendant informed us that it would be a little bumpy during the descent, but it ended up being pretty smooth. We made a loop around the airport and then landed on runway 24R. It was a quite landing without and thrust reverse - which is kind of a letdown because that's one of my favorite parts of the flight!
We taxied over to one of the ground-level boarding gates across from terminal one.
We waited a few minutes for them to unpack the gate-checked bags and then headed outside into the drizzle. Here's our E145 after the flight from ORD
When we got to the immigration checkpoint I went up to one of the guys with my passport/customs form, and I don't know what this guy's deal was but he was definitely the rudest, crankiest guy I've ever come across in all my years of flying. I didn't mean anything by it, but when I "slapped" my passport down onto the counter he must've taken it the wrong way because he responded by saying "Why you mad?". At that point I thought he was just being sarcastic or whatever so I just told him I was tired, and then he said "How's that my fault?". He looked at me as if he expected some sort of response, but I really had no idea what was going on or what his problem was. Eventually he got around to checking my passport, though he said something along the lines of "Let's see if we can do anything for you here" - seemingly trying to intimidate me and scare into thinking he wouldn't let me through. When he finally gave it back to me he said "Go. Are you happy with yourself?". Maybe I should've said something a little "sharper" back to him, but the whole thing really caught me off guard and I didn't really have the energy to deal with, so I just got out of there ASAP. This was my first time in Canada, so definitely not a very warm welcome.
Anyways, with that nonsense taken care of we walked down to our departure gate #81. Here's the 763 for our flight to ZRH
I wasn't too hungry at that point, but I knew that the servings on these transatlantic weren't too big so I decided to play it safe and get something to eat while I was there. We went over to this place called True Burger and I got myself a bacon cheeseburger along with a fancy Stella Artois. It was pretty expensive for everything (+$20 per person) but I'm not gonna lie it was one of the best tasting burgers I've had in a while. After I was done eating I walked around a little bit to check out what other planes were hanging around. I'm not familiar with YYZ
's layout but I'm guessing this must've been the international terminal due to all the flights heading overseas. Here's an up-close encounter with an EK
There was also a LO
787 at the gate that was going to WAW
- my first time seeing it in person! Unfortunately I couldn't really get a picture of it’s because the view was pretty obstructed due to the jetway/building. When I got back to our gate I went up to the podium to see if I could get some of our seats changed because for some reason they were scattered all throughout the aircraft. We had 13A, 17A, 17B, 19A, and 33K. The flight was pretty packed so I could only get 33K changed to 16A, but at least that put us all a lot closer. I then just hung around the gate and waited for barding to start.
I initially had decided to sit in 13A, but when I saw that row didn't have a window I moved back to 16A. Once everyone was aboard the captain announced there would be a slight delay due to some cargo that needed to be placed aboard, but we ended up sitting there for about 30-45 minutes. When we finally did push back, we taxied out to runway 24R and held short for a WS
738 to land.
We then took off and climbed out over the city of Toronto. The weather had improved somewhat since our arrival so the climbout was smooth.
Dinner was served a little more than an hour into the flight and the options were chicken or some sort of pasta. I decided to go with the chicken. It also came with type of noodles, and then a small salad and chocolate mousse for desert. Overall the meal was pretty good, but if I hadn't of eaten at YYZ
I most likely would've still been pretty hungry afterwards. I also got a small bottle a wine to go along with my coke, and I guess I've become too accustomed to flying is the US because I was a little surprised that it was free. Do US carriers offer alcohol for free on transatlantic flights?
Once dinner was over the sun started to set, though similar to my flight to Poland four years ago it never got totally dark out.
I then turned my attention to the PTV and started playing around with it to see what it had to offer. All of my previous transatlantic flights had been on LO
's outdated 767s, so clearly this was a huge upgrade in terms of IFE. The mood lighting was a nice touch too. I eventually decided on watching Lincoln, since that was the only recent Oscar-nominated film that I had yet to see. Throughout the rest of the flight one of the flight attendants came through the aisle every hour or so giving out juice and water. Here's a cabin shot once the lights went out.
When I was done watching the movie I tried getting some sleep, but I'm not the type of person who easily falls asleep in cars/airplanes and it was no different here. I was maybe out for like 30 minutes but that was probably it.
Soon the sun started coming back up again and since I was sitting on the left side of the aircraft I had to keep the window shade closed for a while because of how bright it was. About an hour and a half before landing the lights came back on and we were already over London.
The breakfast service was somewhat disappointing - it was just a large chocolate cookie with a cup of coffee. On my LO
flight four years ago we actually got a small meal for breakfast, so this was definitely a step down from that. During our descent into ZRH
we did a complete 360 turn over France, and I'm guessing that was due to all the inbound traffic because while we were on the downwind for landing I could see several aircraft flying past us. After lining up with the runway we landed smoothly with runway 34, but again it was quiet landing without any thrust reverse. Is that supposed to be some sort of fuel-saving measure?
We then taxied over to terminal E and joined the other various international arrivals.
It turns out quite a few people on our flight had connections, and the delay ay YYZ
definitely didn't help. After we let those folks get off we took the airport tram over to the baggage claim.
Our bags came off the belt pretty quick and then when we exited into the arrivals hall my cousins husband was already there waiting for us. We loaded up into his car and then headed off for the start of our vacation!
This is my 27th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it! As I mentioned at the beginning of the report, this will be will the first of three parts so stayed tuned for the rest of my trip. I'll include some pictures from Switzerland in the next report. As for my flights on UA
, I've got no major complaints. I'll still probably avoid flights on fifty-seaters at all costs, but the weather wasn't too bad and the flight was short enough to the point where it was bearable. It was my first time flying on AC
, and it looks like they've got a pretty good product for transatlantic flights. YYZ
is also a very nice, new, modern looking airport. Thanks again for reading!!!
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