When last we saw each other, your humble flight-reporter had just arrived airside in the domestic terminal in Vancouver, ready for a short layover before the final leg home to Toronto.
Thanks to the wonders of the International Date Line, this flight actually leaves “before” the flight from Hong Kong that got me here left HKG. Fun with time zones!
As I’ve done flight reports on this route a number of times already, and this was a flight that departed after dark and arrived really after dark, I’ll probably go through this one pretty quick.
We pick up the action upon arrival at the impressive entrance of Air Canada’s domestic Maple Leaf Lounge in Vancouver. A quick scan of the boarding pass, and we’re in the elevator and upstairs into the lounge.
When we get there, the lounge is busy, but not as busy as it often is. The domestic MLL at YVR is a decent size, but a little smaller than one would probably expect for AC’s second-largest hub. It’s laid out in a single large room that’s partially divided by various partitions.
There’s also this dining area alongside the buffet.
And a small business centre.
Good apron views from this lounge — cool to see Qantas’ Queen in town.
A decent array of various reading materials are available.
The bar and buffet are about on par for major MLL standards. I seem to arrived between “lunch” and “dinner” hot dishes times, so instead, it’s a variety of salads, soups, and snacks out on display. From a bar perspective, it’s nice to see something a little different on tap in a rather nice pale ale.
I enjoyed a little bit of said pale ale along with some dips, pita chips, and a shortbread cookie for dessert. All of it is pretty good. Especially the beer.
We spend a little bit of time catching up on e-mail and generally puttering. The lounge is fine, aside from the guy sitting behind us who spends the whole hour-plus on the phone, loudly talking to what I presume is a co-worker. Mostly with profanity-laced bragging about how much more his employers should be paying him than what they are. Not a great example of the finest of lounge etiquette.
Unfortunately, though, it’s almost time for our flight before our lounge buddy can complete his conversation, so I guess we’ll never find out, in totality, exactly how fantastically super-awesome he is. It’s a short walk from the lounge back towards the gate from which we’re departing, which is, unfortunately, completely obscured from our view in the waiting area. So I’ll have to try for a plane shot in Toronto.
Flight: AC152 From: Vancouver (YVR) To: Toronto (YYZ) Date: 1/7/2016 Aircraft: Airbus A321-200 Registration: C-GITU Seat: 2F ATD (STD): 17:52 (17:45) ATA (STA): 01:23+1 (01:06+1)
Boarding is called just a few minutes behind schedule. Our ride tonight is an A321, although it doesn’t really matter, AC uses the same 14-seat layout on all of its narrowbody Airbus fleet these days, from the 319 to the 321. These seats are about average for a narrowbody premium class product, decently comfortable and with quite large enough.
Legroom is about what one would expect.
A look out the window as boarding continues.
Although this flight features the older in-flight entertainment product, it seems like this one has definitely been loaded with new movies for January, including The Martian, which I’ve been looking forward to seeing, so I pop it on immediately.
After the latest latest version of AC’s IFE offering on the refurbed 77W to Beijing, and then the newer IFE on the high-density 77W to Vancouver, the older interface seems clunky, unresponsive, slow, and a little off in terms of calibration. But hey, it’s there and it works, and there’s a movie I haven’t seen. So that’s a plus.
Pre-departure services begins with a choice of water or orange juice, as standard.
Menus are then offered, and orders are quickly taken. I opt for the cod, while my mom goes for the veal stew.
Boarding is quickly done, the safety video rolls, and we’re up and away into the night sky over Vancouver and eastward bound.
Once our climb is well-established, service begins with a hot towel.
Followed by bar service — a Caesar is in order for this flight, and it’s accompanied by the usual array of warmed and somewhat oversalted almonds and cashews.
About half an hour later, dinner service begins with the appetizer/salad on a tray, along with the usual AC bread. The bread’s not great, but the appetizer is quite enjoyable, with a little bit of everything, flavour-wise. Unfortunately, we’re back to the regular (non-lemony) balsamic vinaigrette again.
Next up is the main, and it does not disappoint. As a rule, AC’s fish dishes are pretty good, when it’s not salmon. I like salmon. I just haven’t really met an AC-prepared salmon that I’ve liked yet. Anyway, this cod is done very nicely, not overcooked, with a bright, tasty sauce to it. It was a good choice, although the veal stew also gets good reviews, and I hope to get a chance to try it someday soon.
Dinner wraps up with the AC premium long-haul domestic/transborder special dessert, cookie and ice cream. The cookie is good, and fresh-baked on board, although it does make me pine for the days when this dish also included an oatmeal raisin cookie, which I preferred to the chocolate chip. Oh well. A little bit of Bailey’s to round out the meal, and dinner, and my movie, come to an end.
To pass the time, I stick on a documentary on Watergate through the eyes of Dick Cavett. Unfortunately, I fall asleep during it, which was not part of the plan — as this flight gets in at about 1:00 am Eastern time, I didn’t really want anything that could keep me awake for more of the night than I was already going to be awake for.
I wake up with about 40 minutes left in the flight, and put on an episode of The Nature of Things about the allergy epidemic. That serves to pass the time, and soon enough, we’re descending into snowy Toronto.
Our journey ends at T1, next to our twin sibling in the AC fleet. We’re quickly released and airside at Pearson, and finally get a chance to get a look at our bird.
And so concludes this particular journey. It’s unfortunate that we didn’t get down to Singapore, but other than that, a pretty good experience and a great way to kick off the new year.
Thanks for reading!
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Domestic
Vancouver - YVR
Toronto - YYZ
Nothing terribly exciting on this bog-standard AC J jaunt from Vancouver to Toronto. The timing of this flight is both nice, and a pain. Nice that it's the latest departure out of YVR that doesn't require a red-eye, but a bit of a pain in how late it gets back to Toronto, and given the number of widebodies on YVR-YYZ, it's not quite as desirable to end up in a narrowbody on this route.
Pretty good catering, though, and the IFE worked. So all in all, a decent end to this long journey.
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