Hello everyone, this is my first post here on airliners.net. I have been reading the forums for many years, especially the trip report section, but never managed to register... But after finishing this trip I thought its a good incentive to register and contribute to the forum... So, yeah, here I am
By the way, English is not my primary language so please be patient with me if some of my sentences do not make a lot of sense... Shortly about myself: I am 23, studying, but used to work for a big German airline before and also work part-time for a cargo airline right now.
About the trip:
Three friends of mine decided to go on a three week holiday to Toronto and asked me if I wanted to come along as three is a pretty bad number for traveling, considering there were two double rooms booked and there was a spot available in the rental car. So, yeah, why not? I had to do my own flying arrangements, because I couldnt stay as long as they did due to my university and working schedule. I initially wanted to go for the Air Canada 777-300ER FRA
, but then saw that KLM was flying the MD
-11 to YUL
. Their fares were a little bit higher, plus they were going to the wrong city, but I decided that it was worth it to go the detour. As my forum name indicates, I am a huge MD
-11 fan, but never actually managed to fly one. So this was my chance! While my friends flew to YYZ
by Air Canada 767-300 out of MUC
, I was going alone to YUL
, and decided that I would add a little bit of flying action to go from Montreal to Toronto: namely via New York, to visit some friends over there, and adding Porter Airlines (ironically going via Toronto´s city center airport) and back on Delta, to catch another airliner I was missing: the DC-9, via Detroit.
Okay, enough of the preparation, end of February I could finally start my trip. My friends were already in Canada at this time.
Flying time: 51 minutes
During boarding, people were already commenting about this "can of coke from before world war one".
We departed straight out on rwy 14L and the small plane was really noisy, shaking and the windows were really low. Luckily, the only empty seat on that flight was next to me, so it was okay, but if someone would have been sitting there, it would have been horribly cramped. And it would have been difficult to look out of the window.
The flight attendants served orange juice in a tiny can and some cookies; there was no choice at all. But it was okay.
Soon, we were on approach into Amsterdam.
In Amsterdam, we took a bus tour around the ramp after deboading. My transfer time was only a little bit more than one hour, so I directly headed for the gate. AMS
seems like a good transfer airport in Europe, but in my oppinion it is not comparable to transfer airports in the US, like Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit and others.
I approached my gate and found myself at the end of a huge queue which were lining up in front of it, as there was an additional security screening in front of the gate. Seeing the masses of people lining up, I thought that it was going to be a full flight...
-11 "Audrey Hepburn"
Flying time: 6:57 hours
And one more, I just love this bird...
The advantage of the additional screening was that people came to the gate one-by-one, and as boarding was already open, people went into the plane like this and there were no long lines, no people blocking the aisles and the usual boarding chaos.
View from the boarding bridge with the visitors place in the background
I directly headed for my seat. The whole row was empty, and in fact, although I was one of the last persons to board, the whole cabin was quite empty. I was very happy when the flight attendants started walking around and closing the overhead bins, always a sign for a completed boarding. Seems like I am pretty bad in guessing aircraft load factors from queue lenghts
View to my right... ( note the reflection)
View to the front, lower angle....
A lot of space, very comfortable seats...
View to the front, upper angle...
Already now, I was quite impressed by the MD
-11: the cabin was new, clean and the seats were comfortable with enough room. The windows seemed to be bigger than what I´m used to by other planes, can anyone confirm that? The whole aircraft felt very spaceous and roomy, probably due to the fact that it has a very high ceiling and you directly enter the cabin when boarding, not going through the galley... I hope you understand what I mean...
Cool effect over the wing, while taking off...
Over the atlantic
Okay, while over the north atlantic, this may be a good time to speak about the service. The flight was very comfortable, as the cabin was really empty. The crew was friendly, however, the service was rather limited; a very small lunch (beef) with only small sides, not a lot of drinks were served. The personal screen was good in its size and the offerings were acceptable, of course not comparable to the IFE of EK
and so on, but it was okay. I didnt care so much, as the best inflight entertainment was on my right, where I could now see New Foundland.
Flying over the St. Lawrence
Unfortunately there were clouds over Quebec City...
We left the cruising altitude and went into the clouds... We didnt have any view for about 45 minutes, and we circled around for about 30 minutes before going in to land.
Pretty cool landing, with cool vortex effects over the wing and some reverser action
In the customs hall, the screens which usually state something like "Canadian passport holders this way, other passports this way" were showing the olympic hockey results; Canada just killed Germany 8-2. Yep, my first impression: Canadians are definiately crazy for hockey!
Evidence for Canadian hockey crazyness number two: (There were pucks all over the room, build functionally into the room)
I only had one evening in Montreal, so althought the weather was really nasty, I went into the city.
Okay, I did some more pictures, but I am pretty sure there are better ones out there, so I won´t upload more. It was raining and people were watching the Canada-Russia hockey game in every restaurant and bar I could see, there was almost no one on the street. I decided not to watch it at an sports bar, but to head back to the hotel, I was getting tired and all my clothes were wet from the rain.
The next day, I took the shuttle to the airport as my time in Montreal was running out and I would go to NY.
Funny Porter ads, I like this racoon
There was a big snow storm over New York and Continental had already cancelled all their flights into YUL
, and a lot of other flights were indicated with delays and cancellations. The (very friendly) check in guy marked by second boarding pass with "CONX" for connection, however, I was afraid he wrote "CANX" for cancelled on there. Another (also very friendly) Porter staff at the gate however calmed me and said that my flights were going okay, just the first one was delayed by 45 minutes which is not so bad I guess, facing the risk of the cancellations...
Bombardier Dash Q400 (I think^^)
Flight time: 1:20 hours
The seat next to me was empty again. The cabin was clean, the seats were good with a looooot of legroom, the flight crew was very nice (and pretty
) and they served drinks and a cookie which was bigger than the lunch served at the KLM flight. (!!) What I liked was that the flight attendants asked everyone for their drinks and then went into the galley and brought everything personally on a tray. This is much more personal than going around with the trolleys. Later on, they distributed some water bottles. I have to say: I am very impressed by this. Excellent service.
Nice, but really bumpy approach into YTZ
The lounge, free for economy class passengers! With free computers with internet, sofas, free drinks, free food, free newspapers.... Unfortunately I couldnt use it long because the delay shrunk my layover time....
Bombardier Dash Q400
Flight time: 1:15 hours
There were only a few passengers going to NY, and they all were screened very toughly in the jetbridge by some officers. I was assuming to go to that screening aswell, as they saw me taking the picture of the plane and I had my foreign passport visible in my hand. For any reason, they just waved me in front to the plane, I think I was the only one they didnt screen. Don´t know why, maybe my friendly face
Indeed some bad weather in New York, but we made it. Again, Porter airlines delivered a perfect service. I´m truly impressed and I think that this could be a role model for so many other airlines..... That would make flying a lot better than it is nowadays.
Then, I had a nice talk with the immigration officer.
Officer: So, you are coming from Germany?
Robert: No, Sir, from Canada.
O: So you live in Canada?
R: No, I´m just there on holiday.
O: When did you arrive in Canada?
O: Yesterday? *Looking sceptical, checking the pages of my passport.
So what are you doing here?
R: I´m visiting some friends.
O: When are you leaving?
R: I´m leaving on Saturday. (this was after three days)
O: You are only three days in NY? Why did you go via Canada?
R: I am making a Canada holiday, and in my Canada holiday, I decided to include a trip to NY.
This continued forever, he was asking about my job, my previous visits to the US,..... I can understand him, because of the lenght of the trip to the US, but I dont really understand what is so weird about someone going to NY from Toronto. I mean, its not so far, and both are touristic attractions. Anyhow, I am lucky he didnt notice I was coming from Montreal and then would go to Toronto, because already now he was very probable thinking if the should put me into one of these extra rooms for further examination. Which he, at the end, didnt do, and I could finally grab my bag and go to the train station.
USS Intrepid, one of the sights I wanted to go to, were of course closed. On this picture, you can also see the density of the snow that was falling on this day.... Luckily, I wasnt up for the normal sight seeing as I´ve been there a couple of times before. For someone doing the standart first-visit program, it would have been very bad timing, because most of the buildings were covered by low clouds and it was difficult to walk with all that snow pushed to the sidewalks.
Next day, I had to wake up very early to catch a very comfortable Coach USA bus to Newark.
Flight time: 1:15 hours
Again, I was very lucky; the next flight to DTW
, two hours later, which I initially intended to take, got cancelled. My flight was okay, however, with a change in equipment, from a DC-9-30 to a -50(?) Not sure here. But luckily it didnt change to an A320 or so
(Note that US Airways Nevada logojet in the background)
The flight was standard. Due to the change of a/c, I was sitting more in front than I wanted to. But the flight was full, I had the only empty seat in the aircraft next to me. Again lucky. Standard Delta service, a drink and a cookie. To be honest, the DC-9 was far less exciting than I had expected. If I wouldnt be an aviation nerd, I guess I wouldnt even have noticed that it was an old aircraft. It also had a new cabin, with the Delta seats.
While disembarking I asked if it was possible to visit the flight deck, as I wanted to see the old styled cockpit. The pilots agreed and led me in. They were very nice and talked about how they love to fly the DC-9. "But you got a very new one", they said, "just rolled out of the factory" he said with a smile and showed me a registration plate, indicating that the plane was build 1979.
Now, I had about two hours layover in Detroit, so I used the time to walk around, passing at this fountain where people write their name and travel dates on the rocks. Very nice idea!
is a very good and modern airport, I liked it a lot. Sad, however, that most planes were in DL
colours and only a few remaining in the red/grey colours.
Flight time: 46 minutes
After boarding, apparently someone was on board who shouldnt be onboard. The gate staff came, talked to the FA
, talked to the captain, they asked on the PA, no one reacted. Then the captain got really impatient. "Okay folks, we are all adults here. We are going to Toronto, so if there is anyone here who shouldnt go to Toronto, he or she should know!"
We waited around 30 minutes at the gate, I fell asleep so I dont know the outcome. However, we departed half an hour later, with an almost full flight, and for the first time in this trip, someone was sitting next to me, making it really cramped.
Uneventful flight, no service due to the short flying time, we landed in Toronto and stoped at the apron..... And waited for five minutes, ten minutes... Then the captain: "Folks, I just asked the ATC guy for an update. They said they have to clear the snow on the apron. But I dont see any snow here!" (In fact, the ramp was cleaned from any snow). Ten more minutes later: "Okay guys, please don´t shoot the messenger! They say they don´t have a gate available. But I see like what? Ten, fifteen empty gates here!? What a bunch of-" He didnt continue. I think the was pretty angry and that was good in the perception of the customers. They didnt feel like being treated bad, they liked his honesty. At least, this was my impression.
Well, after a total of 1:20 hours standing in Toronto, we finally docked at a gate and there I was again, in Canada!
Okay guys, I think this is enough writing for today. I will post the second part tomorrow, sorry about that, but I have to go sleep at some point
In the meantime, any comments or questions are welcome. And I promise: the hockey, that was mentioned in the title, will come. For sure!