Hey everyone! Long time no blog huh? My schedule with school, work, and activities has been much more hectic than expected, so I’m so sorry I have not blogged in a while. Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, happy New Year, happy late everything! After much delay I bring you my Air Canada trip report! Note: Considering I got left behind on my second flight, this report will be good! I formatted some of the pictures as thumbnails now, let me know how everyone likes that, just click on each one to see it full size!
My flight was on Thursday October 24, 2013 to YYZ (Toronto). I took AirCanada (AC) for multiple reasons, Star Alliance milage awards on my UA account, relatively fair price, good reputation, and non-stop. Although West jet sounded very appealing, and having returned from the trip now wishing I had, I went for AC. My flight was AC939 at 12:15pm departure, 3:28pm arrival to Toronto, flying economy. After I finished off some last minute packing at home I headed out to FLL at around 10:30am. Traffic on 595 (Broward county’s east to west highway) was light, and arriving to FLL was relatively easy and fast and finding T2 was just as fast (FLL has a color coded system for the terminals). Arriving at T2 around at 10:50am, we grabbed our bags from the trunk and said our goodbyes to our dad and entered the building. Like I have mentioned before, FLL is no HKG with amazing structures or concessions, but what it lacks there it makes up on efficiency 100%. Once I entered T2, I went to make the line for the AC desk to check-in, there I discovered AC, like most modern airlines, has switched to automated check-in machines. Being my first time using the machines it was a bit confusing, but now having gone on a few other flights using them I think they are much faster than agents, however I do miss the interaction with the agents, it just makes the trip seem more exciting. After a swift check-in I headed to security where I was greeted by a very long line, but with interesting people around me making jokes about the situation!
Post security I headed to my gate and plugged into the wi-fi and updated the blog on the go! While waiting for our boarding time, the gate agents announced the flight was sold out and for our convenience if anyone wanted to check-in their carry on, they could do so now for free to save space on the plane. Not wanting to go through the hassle of finding a spot for our bags, nor having any direct plans after landing we opted to check in for free. The gate agents could of been nicer, after all they were employed by AC and not swissport like others at FLL, they were a bit rude in the tagging process and dealing with customers asking about adding their duty-free merchandise in the bag (i.e. alcohol). Working in customer service myself, I did not find their treatment just, given they were not dealing with absurd situations. Once we checked our bags in, boarding began momentarily. We quickly boarded the A320, my 8th Airbus trip (I’m a Boeing man myself), we were sitting pretty far-back as I got our tickets a bit too late for being early. But no problem, we placed our personals under the seat and settled into the seat. My disappointment in AC began here.
My seat front pocket was broken, so it hung stretched out hitting my knee the whole flight, I brushed it off (although not even Spirit had damages like that when I flew them circa 2010.) I heard AC had a widely recognized in flight magazine, so I pulled it out and buckled up for take off, we promptly took off from FLL on time and we were off to the great white north! As I began reading the magazine which was quite intriguing and very good, my sister saw an article she wanted to see and went to grab hers, which was not there, I understand that happening as its not often that people take the magazines. We called the FA over, a young woman came by, we asked her for a copy and before anything she asked, did you check your pocket twice? I became quite disgruntled at this, the magazine is pretty big, its not going to get lost in a small pocket. I nicely replied yes knowing that this probably hadn’t been the only flight she had operated today, and she said give her a second and came back with a copy that was pretty damaged with missing pages, but we let it go. We decided to try out their recognized AVOD system as we browsed the food menu. It was having issues since we took off, as the FA’s had to reset it plane-wide twice. However it was pretty easy to use and the selections weren’t bad, although I thought AirBerlin had a better system. The FA’s passed out complimentary headphones to passengers, I grabbed a pair since my headphones weren’t working with the system. The AC headphones only worked on one side, and my sisters were so low that you had to concentrate to hear, we switched headphones, and turns out it was the system that was broken.
Already pretty disappointed with North America’s only 4 star long-haul carrier, we decided to try out their food. I ordered an appetizer of cheese and crackers, and the pepperoni pizza they had on menu for the main course (I hadn’t eaten since the night before!) I received it right away for a hefty price, although the flavors were average, they hit the spot. However the pizza was quite cold, but I did’t see the use of complaining, I think my FA’s were pretty done with me already. After eating and washing it all down with a cold Canada Dry ginger ale, I watched a movie (Monsters University, which was very good!) and took a short nap, then before I knew it we touched down in Toronto and quickly taxi’ed to our gate. YYZ is pretty nice airport, very modern and efficient in design, staff wise it could of had a little more, there was only 1 person handling all international passengers at immigration (excluding Canadian nationals who had a separate line.) But we moved through it eventually and grabbed our luggage and braced the cold of Canada, I’ll finish up with the Airport Ian Review (AIR) of YYZ:
Architecture student: YYZ was very nicely designed, very modern and large spaces, plenty of windows providing plenty of natural lighting and views onto the runway and concourses. While I would of laid out certain parts a bit better, or added more people movers to make the walking journey to the exit faster, it was well thought out overall. There wasn’t any elements that were particularly stunning like DUS, it was pretty and I wouldn’t mind being delayed in it. as Canada’s main entryway from the east and most directions, it is adequate, much more than many US airports.
Frequent flyer: I wouldn’t mind constantly flying through YYZ, feels a lot like FLL in the efficiency department, but much prettier and better designed structurally, as well as much newer. I didn’t get to visit a lot of the terminals or concourses, it was still enjoyable and I could see how it would be appealing to connect or constantly fly through YYZ, but maybe on west jet? I give it a 7/10 on the airport scale!
! Read part two for what happens next, and my over all thoughts of AC and the trip!