*The pictures have been hosted elsewhere and resized, so hopefully this works better*
Each year for the past three years, our family has done a week long trip to a warm, Caribbean place. We took Air Canada all three years. The first year, we went to CUN
, then on the second year, we travelled to PUJ
. This year, we decided to venture to Varadero, and planned a side trip to Havana.
We booked in August with Air Canada Vacations. There was a very healthy $1200 in early booking bonuses, and there was a $299 round trip/person Executive Class upgrade, which we happily took advantage of.
As the months slowly passed, we began to prepare for our upcoming vacation, until the wee hours of February 7th, when it finally became our happy week-long reality.
Getting ready the evening before
We got up early the next morning, and our taxi was right on time. We made it to the airport around 5AM, just as planned. There was no lineup at the check-in areas, we went quickly through check in security and went straight here:
Air Canada/Star Alliance Maple Leaf Lounge
Food area at the MLL
Ground vehicles on the sleepy tarmac
HP Business Centre in the MLL
We checked the FIDS and decided to head to gate A16, where our flight would be departing.
I looked out the window at our gate, and lo and behold, there’s the Horizons Enfance aircraft. Lovely, I’d be flying on a special logojet. Coolio. (Y)
Plane next door, I believe leaving for YVR
Our boarding call was right on time, the pre-boarding
Operated by Air Canada
Departing: Calgary International Airport (YYC / CYYC)
Arriving: Juan. G. Gomez Airport (VRA / MUVR)
Scheduled departure / arrival: 8:40AM / 4:10PM
Actual departure / arrival: 8:40AM / 4:48PM
C-GBIP, fin 285
Delivered to Air Canada in April 1998
Executive Class (North America)
We started to push back from the gate at approximately 8:45AM, but shortly we were informed that we’d be delayed for about 20 minutes due to the fact that deicing was busy, and our flight wasn’t a priority at the time, so we’d have to wait. We finally took off at about 9:35.
It was such a grey, miserable day in Calgary when we left, so I didn’t bother taking any pictures on the ground. After a surprisingly smooth takeoff roll, we lifted off and burst through the clouds:
Not long after, we were handed these menus for our breakfast:
I chose the waffles meal.
My excellent breakfast. (note: it was served nicer than this, I started eating a bit :P)
The waffles and the whole meal was excellent, I think they’re the best waffles I’ve had, actually. Good job AC
The flight attendant that served the J section on this flight was very friendly, offering constant drinks and snacks.
And the IFE is gone
And the enRoute system is back up
Watching Two and a Half Men
Compensation for issues with the IFE (described in comments)
We began our rather quick descent in to Varadero.
Juan G. Gomez Airport, runway 06/24
I didn’t have a lot of time to take pictures, my family was anxious to get off the plane and start our vacation. We cleared customs/immigration/security and went right to the baggage claim area, which basically is basically the exit. All of the *A priority bags had been taken off the conveyor to be grabbed at convenience (even though they didn’t have the big orange tag). Good job for the Cuban bag handlers.
Unfortunately, there’s not as much praise here for the Calgarian bag handlers. My bag did not make it to Cuba. Alternatively, it was sent to CUN
on the flight a couple gates over. I was too annoyed to take many pictures after this - this bag had all of my clothes in it, as well as some of my dad’s clothes, and a bunch of my mom’s stuff too. It wasn’t exactly a good bag to lose. However, I had it by the next afternoon, which was good on AC
Air Canada’s IFE system has been a little bit unstable. Some love it, others hate it. It’s had many issues with being unstable. I’ve never had any instability issues with it until this flight. The only issues I’ve had it is the non-functional features like the map. I was quite pleased to see that C-GBIP had a working moving map feature. However, there were two IFE resets necessary. The IFE stopped working at the very front (it basically froze up), and then started spreading back until most seats weren’t working. The resets only took about ten minutes.
’s new Executive (N.A.) seats are quite comfortable. I can never sleep on planes, so I didn’t really test that, but the only thing I would say is that they could recline a bit more and the footrest is basically useless, but overall a very comfortable flight.
What can I say? The constant drink and snack service, along with the delicious breakfast made a very very good impression on me of AC
’s J class. Top points on this one.
Our F/A was very friendly and professional, and helpful and apologetic with the IFE issues. I commend Amy for her great work (if she’s reading, haha)
The ground staff in Calgary were not what I was expecting from AC
. Usually they’re pretty friendly, and professional, but the people at the check-in counters were yelling at eachother about some stickers for something, and it just seemed very brash and unprofessional. The lost bag didn’t help their rating, either.
Ratings, for Air Canada Flight 1878, YYC
IFE - 7.5/10
Service - 9/10
Ground Staff - 6.25/10
Overall average rating = 8.2/10
Some scenes from our hotel and the area around it:
After a very enjoyable week, it was sadly time to come home.
A bus operated for AC
took us back to VRA
Didn’t think that still existed
OR 763 departing
My ECASA boarding pass
Our aircraft pulled in to gate 3.
The stubby little 319 pulling in to gate 3
We boarded, and left right on time.
A less-friendly F/A served a pre-departure drink, and we were on our way.
Takeoff video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km4KECJ3b7s
The menu for this evening’s dinner
Drinks and non-warm nuts after takeoff
Salad served first (with dessert, for some reason)
Salad eaten, entrees served
Relaxing with some 30Rock
The rest of the flight went fairly uneventfully.
Our plane landed, the bright cabin lights lit up, and all of us now-tanned Canadian vacationers have to return to real life.
We arrived at a B/C gate, which is slightly odd because B/C gates are used almost exclusively for transborder and occasional domestic flights.
This isn’t quite right, but ALL of our bags arrived here fairly quickly
And so, that concludes my trip. Most of my comments remain the same, but I will change this:
The food was pretty good. It wasn’t as great as the outbound trip, but it was alright. The beef wasn’t the best, but my brother and mother truly enjoyed the chicken and ravioli dishes.
The IFE on this flight worked perfectly without a single hiccup.
The lady was a little crazy, and she felt rushed. Not as good of mark for her.
Ratings - Air Canada 1879, VRA-YYC
IFE - 10/10
Service - 6.75/10
Ground Staff - 8/10
Food - 7.5/10
Comfort - 8/10
Lounge - N/A (not used
Overall average rating = 8.05/10
did a great job with these flights. Highly recommended.
Thank you, everybody, for reading!