Moderators: richierich, ua900, hOMSaR

 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:52 am

*Go easy on me, I know the pictures aren't great, but this is my first Trip Report*
*Those on a slow internet connection may want to go get some coffee or something*

Each year for the past few years, my family has done a weeklong escapade to somewhere hot to get a break from the soul-crushing depressing-ness of Canadian winter  

In 2008, we ventured to CUN with AC. In '09, we went once again with AC to PUJ. And this year, we decided to trust good ol' AC once again to take us to VRA.

We booked this in August to take advantage of $1215 in early booking discounts. We used this to take advantage of a $299 per person round trip Executive Class upgrade. We were able to get a couple of lovely direct flights right to Varadero through Air Canada Vacations. The 6 months leading up to our break passed slowly, but it ended up creeping up on us, and soon enough, the 7th of February arrived.


The evening before, we used Air Canada's website to check in.
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/2990/img1498gx.jpg

Getting ready to go late the evening before.
http://img718.imageshack.us/img718/6696/img1501r.jpg

We called the taxi to arrive at 4:30AM, getting us at the airport around 5, which gives us a leisurely 3 hours to eat breakfast, go through security, drop our bags, etc.

We dropped our bags and ate and the finest food establishment in the whole of Canada, Tim Horton's
http://img535.imageshack.us/img535/6038/img0184q.jpg

After eating the true Canadian cuisine, we went right to Concourse A security. I always chuckle during security, because my completely harmless Dad is always searched head to toe.

As soon as finishing security, we proceeded to the nearby Air Canada/*A Maple Leaf Lounge
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/7537/img1502a.jpg

A few shots inside the MLL. It was dark and photography was difficult
http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/5008/img1505s.jpg
http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/3557/img1513hwdgv.jpg
http://img28.imageshack.us/img28/9951/img1508h.jpg
AC 767 pulling in, to do AC1864 YYC-CUN
http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/1029/img1510l.jpg

We spent most of our time dozing in a few chairs in the mostly empty MLL. At about 7:45AM, we left for gate A16, where our flight, Air Canada 1878 would depart for Varadero.

It was a short walk to the gate, where I looked out the window, and to my delight I found I would be travelling on one of two special livery A319s that belong to AC. AC has 2 319s that don't have standard colours - C-FZUH in retro Trans-Canada Airlines livery, and C-GBIP, the Kids Horizon's/Horizons Enfance. We would be flying on the latter.


http://img682.imageshack.us/img682/7991/acblue.jpg
AC1878
Operated by Air Canada
Departing Calgary International Airport (YYC/CYYC)
Arriving Juan G. Gomez International Airport (VRA/MUVR)
Scheduled departure (gate) / actual departure (gate) 8:40AM/8:40AM
Scheduled arrival / actual arrival 4:10PM / 4:40PM
30 minutes late - deicing delay
Seat 4A
Airbus A319-114
C-GBIP
Fin 285
Delivered to Air Canada in April 1998
Special Livery: Air Canada Kids Horizons/Horizons Enfance



View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Yuda



We boarded the aircraft right on time, and the aircraft was ready to push back on time. However, after sitting at the gate for a while our F.O. came on and informed us that our aircraft was not a priority for deicing this morning and there would be about a 20 minute wait. No big deal, just more time to enjoy the Executive Class seat I was sitting in. This was my first time in Executive, so it was kind of a special flight for me.  

The snow was blowing so hard that there wasn't much to see during taxi and departure, so no pictures.

A powerful takeoff roll in the sportscar-like A319 got us quickly rolling down the runway and into the air. I really love the roar of the CFM engines on the 319. My parents and brother immediately turned to me upon application of full throttle and asked "what is that awful noise?!" I chuckled and said the engines, and assured them it would start to fade in about 10 minutes. The load factor on our flight was quite high, I'd say at least 95%. There were no empty Executive seats and I think I saw maybe 3 empty seats in Economy.

A fairly powerful climb, and we burst through the clouds
http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/285/img1520bf.jpg
AC's transborder/North American Executive Class
http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/9538/img1530w.jpg
Our menus for breakfast
http://img38.imageshack.us/img38/476/img0262lg.jpg
http://img717.imageshack.us/img717/5427/img0263o.jpg

I chose the waffle meal. It was delicious. (I made a mess of the cutlery, it was presented nicely).
http://img716.imageshack.us/img716/8332/img1519t.jpg

After breakfast, I sat back and enjoyed Air Canada's enRoute touchscreen AVOD system. The system has always been pretty good, the only thing I didn't like is the overall sluggishness of it and the usual lack of a working map. However, when I started to use it today on this flight, it felt fairly fast, and to my pleasant surprise, I did not see "This feature is currently unavailable", but a map.

For a short person, plenty of legroom
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/8761/img1545a.jpg

Drinks kept on flowing and snacks were offered numerous times. Our flight attendant was very friendly. There was 1 F/A for the Executive section, which on our little plane was only 14 people  

Unfortunately, the IFE system began to quit out. My mom wanted to turn off the map and watch TV, but it wouldn't move from the map, although the map worked fine. I wanted to watch something on my iPod, and wanted to stop the movie on my PTV, but the screen just went black, except for the movie controls. Apparently this sort of spread through the cabin, and they had to reboot the system. I've heard stories about reboots taking up to an hour, but it took about ten minutes, and then a few screens at the front of the plane started flashing the bright red "Welcome aboard" screen, and soon enough all of our screens were back and we could watch once again. This same thing happened again in about an hour, but another reboot was done and everything worked well after that.

Staring in to the black nothingness of a malfunctioning IFE screen :P
http://img190.imageshack.us/img190/6287/img1521z.jpg
This serves as my temporary IFE while the system is rebooted
http://img64.imageshack.us/img64/7778/img1532bz.jpg
Working again, and watching Two and a Half Men
http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/8254/img1544q.jpg
Getting close...
http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/3765/img1549t.jpg

I thought I had some pictures from our descent, but I guess not, as I remember taking some but I can't find them.  

We landed in Varadero on runway 06 at Juan G. Gomez Airport. It was a very short taxi to the fairly small terminal with only 4 gates. Customs/immigration and security was very quick, and I was hoping to have time to take a picture of the Arrivals area, however, I right away saw most of the *A priority bags had been taken off the conveyor. However, I noticed that my bag was not there.

We thought "oh, well, the priority tag doesn't always work" and waited. Bags started becoming few and far between, and then the belt just stopped. No bag for me. You must understand that my bag is the biggest of my family's luggage, and had a lot of extra stuff in it, as well as extra clothes, all of my clothes, and a whole bunch of other assorted stuff in it, so it was a bit of an important bag not to be there. So, after stumbling around for five minutes, we finally find someone that represents Air Canada. She was very friendly, and submitted a search for my bag. My bag arrived at our hotel, the Blau Varadero, the next afternoon.

Now, this was a bit of an accident by the ground handlers in Calgary. Up above, you will remember that I showed an AC 767 a couple gates away from ours. That flight left about a half hour earlier than ours. However, it had a similar flight number, it left at a similar time, and it was only a couple gates away, so I understand this mistake. AC1864 was this flight, and it was going to Cancun. So, my bag ended up in Cancun. They sent it on AC1257 to Toronto, and back down to VRA and had it delivered to my hotel. I was only a day without my bag - hats off to Air Canada.

The all-important blue bag arrives!
http://img714.imageshack.us/img714/5426/img0283p.jpg

Our hotel provided some lovely photo scenes:

http://img682.imageshack.us/img682/1803/img1555u.jpg
http://img706.imageshack.us/img706/3995/img0286gn.jpg
http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/9864/img1553m.jpg

Varadero beach was just beautiful.

After spending a week in this beautiful country, it was unfortunately time to return to Canada. Another Chinese bus took us right back to VRA, and dropped us off here:


http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/7293/img0518w.jpg
I love Executive Class. 
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/1611/img0520b.jpg
FIDS
http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/3985/img0526p.jpg
OR 763
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/4230/img0530eu.jpg
My boarding pass
http://img46.imageshack.us/img46/489/img0538q.jpg
Our stubby-looking little 319 pulling up to gate 3
http://img713.imageshack.us/img713/5180/img0541w.jpg
Our departure gate
http://img682.imageshack.us/img682/7991/acblue.jpg
AC1879
Operated by Air Canada
Departing Juan G. Gomez International Airport (VRA/MUVR)
Arriving Calgary International Airport (YYC/CYYC)
Scheduled departure (gate) / actual departure (gate) 5:10PM / 5:10PM
Scheduled arrival / actual arrival 9:30PM / 9:35PM (approx.)
Seat 3A
Airbus A319-114
C-FYJE
Fin 255
Delivered to Air Canada in 1996


http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/803/img0543z.jpg
We boarded, and quickly taxiied and took off, and then we were served drinks and nuts
http://img198.imageshack.us/img198/1517/img0548g.jpg
Tonight's dinner menu
http://img200.imageshack.us/img200/3331/img0547lj.jpg
Appetizer and dessert served together, entrees served later, for some reason
http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/1748/img0560l.jpg
I thoroughly enjoyed the IFE, which on this leg worked perfectly.

Our sleepy aircraft is nearing Calgary
http://img33.imageshack.us/img33/7290/img0569sh.jpg

After a kind of rough approach, we touched down on runway 16 at Calgary International. Sleepy people deplaned the suddenly-bright aircraft, and headed down the jetway, back to real life, and their home.

We went through the pretty empty customs area, and then claimed our baggage.

This isn't quite right, but our baggage came out here anyways
http://img705.imageshack.us/img705/7028/img0571b.jpg

Overall, Air Canada produced a very nice Executive Class product for North America. My family agreed that the food was excellent (although on the return leg it was served kind of weirdly, haha). The seats were comfortable for the 6 hour plane rides, and the IFE was outstanding. Overall, AC did a great job on this one.

Ratings:
IFE: 8/10
Food: 9/10
Comfort: 8/10
On-Time: 9/10
Service: 8/10
Ground staff/baggage handling: 7/10
AVERAGE: 8.16/10

A last note: I know this was probably boring for most everybody, not a lot of people want to hear about a vacation flight within North America, but I had a lot of fun trying one of these Trip Reports for myself, and I enjoyed doing it. I thank you all for reading it (if you've gotten this far). Stay tuned for the probably more exciting bit of this trip report. This one was long, but you didn't think that was ALL, did you? No, there's still plenty more pictures from the side trip to the beautiful city of Havana! Stay tuned for that!

Thanks,
Thomas
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
lychemsa
Posts: 1863
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 8:39 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Fri Feb 19, 2010 7:30 am

I noticed that AC meals / service in C is excellent; it's Y that's the problem.

What hotel did you stay at in Varadero? You are lucky that you can go there. We can't but when we will it will become "overcrowded." So it's a good idea to go now.
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:14 pm

AC's C class is excellent, and I haven't found Y to be bad either, the food isn't great but not terrible. We stayed at the Blau Varadero, a 4 star all-inclusive resort.
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
akhmad
Posts: 2502
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:20 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Fri Feb 19, 2010 6:52 pm

Hi Thomas,

Congratulations! You have done a great job with trip report. I really enjoyed it!

Thank you for sharing.

Cheers,
Suryo
There is no deity except You. Exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:30 pm

Thank you very much Suryo! I tried my best for my first one:

Quick note: I just realized that I did not say anything about my dinner! I had the beef and potatoes option. The beef was quite good, a little chewy but very flavorful, and a good portion. These meals don't look huge when they set it down, but they are filling! My mom couldn't finish her breakfast, she had the omelet.

My beef tenderloin meal
http://img708.imageshack.us/img708/3196/img0562f.jpg
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
davidca
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat Jun 27, 2009 4:15 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Sat Feb 20, 2010 5:46 am

Nice TR! Glad that you enjoyed your holiday. Look fwd to seeing the pics of Havana.
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1774
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:00 pm

You need to reduce the size of your pics, and then host them here. Most downloaded halfway through, and made reading your report difficult. And yes I did go get some coffee and came back to enjoy reading the report  . Hope you can fix it
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:26 am

I'm sorry it didn't work for you, Flightsimboy.

I've had a couple issues with it loading, it seemed that previously all of the pictures would load but some of them would be half grey, but now it seems to be working, so if you get this issue maybe try reloading.
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
egyptair269
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:41 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Sun Feb 21, 2010 5:11 am

Nice TR!! Food looks great, and so does general service.

Looking forward to flying AC again, my last experience was on on their old 767s (before the rennovation), hoping to have a better one now that the interiors are refurbished. Might be flying them this summer  

Salam,
EgyptAir269
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:11 am

Thank you everybody!

Indeed, the food was great. It was very hot, too, the waffles burned my tongue, and then the coffee burned it worse. LOL.

The only thing I wish these seats had it a better foot rest. I really see no point to the current one, it basically raises your foot an inch off of the ground, not all that comfortable. The seats, alternatively, were quite comfortable. They don't recline as much as they did previously, but I see why. If they had kept the recline the same, it would have been an utter pain in the arse to use the PTV as it's a touchscreen only control.

@egyptair269, I've been on both the old 762 and old 763 and can vouch for the fact that they're pretty terrible. One of the 763s I flew on wasn't too bad, but the 762s were awful. They don't make me proud of our flag carrier. This experience, however, was excellent.


Thanks all for viewing and commenting!
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
egyptair269
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:41 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:32 pm

Quoting aluminumcity (Reply 9):
@egyptair269, I've been on both the old 762 and old 763 and can vouch for the fact that they're pretty terrible. One of the 763s I flew on wasn't too bad, but the 762s were awful. They don't make me proud of our flag carrier. This experience, however, was excellent.

I agree. The 767 doesnt do AC Justice.

Hopefully this summer, I'll try their 77Ws, they look fantastic!
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:26 am

The 767s are best described as morally reprehensible  

Thank you for reading everybody. The AC 777s indeed are amazing, I can't wait until AC operates more of them out of YYC, and I've heard from a couple AC guys that YYC will be getting a number of 787 routes - YYC-FRA and YYC-LHR will apparently be done by 787s when they're delivered.
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
User avatar
longhauler
Posts: 6485
Joined: Sat Mar 06, 2004 12:00 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:41 am

Quoting egyptair269 (Reply 10):
I agree. The 767 doesnt do AC Justice.
Quoting aluminumcity (Reply 11):
The 767s are best described as morally reprehensible

You do realize the B767s you describe have long since stopped flying?

The B767-200s were retired years ago. The B767-300s have alll been retrofitted with new cabins featuring AVOD at every seat/class and J class suites with flat beds.

The only exception are 3 B767s which haven been retrofitted as well, but targetted at low yield markets. They have domestic J seats without AVOD, with overhead screens for IFE. You can detect these aircraft as they are the only B767s in AC's fleet with 8 doors, instead of the usual 4 doors and 4 overwing exits.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Tue Feb 23, 2010 3:21 am

@longhauler

I do know all about this, thanks. The 767-200s were finally retired just over a year ago. I'm saying both of ACs old 767 styles were morally reprehensible (obviously joking/exaggerating, hence the wink emote)

I have only been able to fly on the 762s and the 763s which have not been updated at all, so my experience with AC 767s have not been great. I'm sure the new ones are fantastic.

I'm also pretty sure egyptair269 was talking about the oldstyle 763s.  Smile

[Edited 2010-02-22 19:24:52]
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
egyptair269
Posts: 114
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 10:41 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Tue Feb 23, 2010 4:47 am

Quoting longhauler (Reply 12):
You do realize the B767s you describe have long since stopped flying?

The B767-200s were retired years ago. The B767-300s have alll been retrofitted with new cabins featuring AVOD at every seat/class and J class suites with flat beds.

Yes I know, I flew the 767-300, before they were retrofitted, in March 2008 on LHR-YYZ.

I understand that they have been retrofitted now, infact, Air Canada's project XM has extremely impressed me, I wish other airlines could do something similar to that.
 
aaexp
Posts: 61
Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 5:36 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Tue Feb 23, 2010 8:51 am

The pictures in this thread still don't work for me.
I can see pictures on all other trip reports, so what needs to happen?
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:52 pm

I think I need to change the host. I might delete this one and post a new one, not sure if that's against the rules or anything, but I think people are still having image issues, so it might be necessary.
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1774
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:38 am

Would be a good idea to, because I haven't been able to read either report. Now you know an AC report should never go unread   
LAX772LR - "Answer to goofy question:" in response to my question about the B737-MAX8 being grounded. 48 hours later all B737-MAX8 grounded worldwide. Go figure!!
 
aluminumcity
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:04 am

RE: AC YYC-VRA In J - Part One: Flights (Many Pics)

Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:37 am

Hahaha, indeed, because the AC is such an exotic airline, and the 319 is such an exotic aircraft :P
"Well, if I were flying on an MD-80, I'd be taking those anti-depressants too."

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 44 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos