This is the fourth leg of my recent family vacation in Canada. After six wonderful days in Montreal and Toronto, it was sadly time to go home. I also included in the bonus section a review of the newly rennovated Air France/KLM Lounge at Dulles since I figure people may want to see what that's like (without an accompanying report of a 35-minute ERJ145 flight).
UA4997 - Economy - Roanoke → Washington - Embraer ERJ145Not available
UA4963 - Economy - Washington → Montreal - Embraer ERJ145 Not available
UA6198 - Economy - Toronto → Washington - Bombardier CRJ-700You are here
UA4908 - Economy - Washington → Roanoke - Embraer ERJ145 Not available
Air canada transborder maple leaf lounge
We left for the airport roughly 2.5 hours before departure because of the morning traffic. Conveniently, Toronto has preclearance facilities. There was some sort of a premium line available to Amex Platinum cardholders as well as various elites. Both my Amex Plat or Star Alliance Gold would have qualified me for the line. However, it didn't feel like it saved much time (though I suppose the rush would come later).
The Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge was located right after preclearance with a nifty sign outside that let you know how many minutes it would take to walk to your gate from there. Our gates were about 10 minutes away, so we had roughly half an hour in the lounge. It was a fairly large lounge and not very crowded. The majority of the seating is to the right side, with an interesting elevated area in the center. There was also a quiet area tucked away in the corner. Like the previous Maple Leaf Lounge, there was lack of outlets.
There were also a children's room, some sort of theater room, and a business area.
The food spread was rather mediocre. Just some cold items. The only hot item was toast. I helped myself to a few scones and yogurt. Despite the odd shade from the lighting - that's orange juice.
The bathrooms were okay - I'll let the picture speak for itself.
We left with about 10 minutes until boarding, but boarding actually started a few minutes early. At some point, my dad had been upgraded to the last seat in First. Leaving me once again the next-person on the upgrade list. Here is our ride: N509MJ, a 16-years old CRJ700.
Here's my dad's seat:
Here's my seat (an Economy Plus); you can see it's not that much of a difference on the CRJ-700. I was in 8C, the starboard aisle seat in the second row of Economy Plus (which we got to select for free thanks to United status). The legroom was more than enough (or have I just gotten shorter?).
Boarding was complete fairly early - at 10:08am. The captain then let us know it would be a fairly short, 40 to 50-minutes flight. Doors closed at 10:15am and we pushed back exactly at 10:21am. We taxied for a little more than 10 minutes. There was some decent planespotting along the way.
Air Canada 777-200LR bound for Hong Kong later.
Korean Air 787-9
We took off at 10:34 and service began 15 minutes later (slightly delayed due to turbulence). First class got their choice of drinks and a snack basket (my dad said it was worse than the one Air Canada offered in domestic economy) and us in the back got a cup of water plus a stroopwafel. That said, I am really happy that United brought back the stroopwafel. I really enjoy them and find them better than any other snack options on U.S. airlines. For the most part, service was bland and utilitarian.
We began our descent at 11:08am and touched down at 11:25am. We were at our gate about 4 minutes later.
Bonus : Click here display hide
I know this isn't a tourism bonus, but I thought this would be helpful since it is new and no one has reviewed this lounge since rennovation to my knowledge.
Air France/KLM Lounge
We had a short connection, so we could only relax in the lounge for about 20 minutes. Priority Pass has updated its app and website to show that the lounge properly opens at 11:30am. It was very empty when we got there. I really like the interior though, I thought was a very classy redesign. It was a small lounge, but had outlets readily available. I do wonder how they could possibly accomodate all of an Air France A380's business class passengers in here.
There was a nice bar area. I was not sure what is complimentary to Priority Pass customers - was too busy trying to get a quick bite in before our last flight.
There is even a reserved area - I imagine for La Premiere, though compared to the Paris La Premiere lounge, this area has to be a huge letdown for La Premiere passengers. What's with reserved areas in lounges at Dulles? The Lufthansa First Class section in the Senator Lounge here is also a letdown.
The bathrooms were very clean - to be expected given how few guests are here.
The buffet spread was pretty decent.
I ended up making my own "pizza." The mushroom soup was okay.
I don't think many people are using this lounge during Priority Pass hours at the moment - but that should change soon. This is very convenient for anyone departing out of A gates on United Express.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Transborder
Toronto - YYZ
Washington - IAD
United's Toronto to Dulles flight gets the job done - nothing exciting, nothing bad either.
Lounge: The Transborder Maple Leaf Lounge was large, but rather lacking in both outlets and the breakfast spread. It's comfortable enough for a short stay before a transborder flight though and conveniently located.
Cabin & Seat: I actually like CRJ-700s, they're not nearly as cramped as ERJs or CRJ-200s and the legroom in Economy Plus is decent. Regardless of where you sit though,
Service: Service was uninteresting, neither warm nor cold. It was very efficient though.
Meal & Catering: I am very happy about the return of the stroopwafel, but otherwise domestic catering is a letdown compared to the Air Canada flight three days before.
Bottom Line: United has an efficient flight from Toronto to Dulles. It was also the cheapest option for the day we were traveling. Given that any elite members can pick Economy Plus seats for free - it's a good option.
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