US239 Vancouver YVR - Phoenix Sky Harbor PHX STD-STA: 1429-1736 Actual: 1433-1706 A319-100 N834AW Seat 1C to 1A
With the online check in completed at home, I was able to print the boarding passes using the automated kiosk just by scanning my passport. There was a queue to check the baggage and during security with only 2 lines open while the Nexus lane was closed. It was about a 15 minute wait before I crossed security, and it was only after the security officers opened another lane during the middle of the wait for Nexus card holders.
Maple Leaf lounge at YVR
Immigration clearance was fast as is usually the case every time I travel to the States from YVR, so I was into the departure concourse in less than 20 minutes after depositing my bags, leaving me with more than an hour to spare in the Maple Leaf lounge. This is perhaps worth the premium for flying into the States from Canada since US immigration in their own airports are usually so crowded that waits of more than 30 minutes to clear immigration is common. Meanwhile at the lounge, the US Airways plane has not even arrived when I got myself some cookies and iced tea. Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounge is a pleasant place to be in and have a variety of magazines, more than my last visit.
US Airways Airbus A319
Last call for boarding was called at around 2:10pm and I proceeded to gate 86 which is just one gate away from the lounge, so it was an easy walk. Upon boarding, the senior flight attendant asked very nicely if I could switch my aisle seats to allow a couple to be seated together and I obliged. The first class cabin is full at this time and there was one more pax in 2D who arrived last. When I enquired for space to put my carry on items, they mentioned it was packed but upon understanding my seat in First and given that I agreed to switch my seats, the senior FA ushered me to the overhead bins above row 3.
Take-off from Richmond, BC
Columbia river in Washington State
The FA even mentioned that she could bring my bag out once we took off and the service in this flight was one of the best I have experienced. Seats are like any other domestic first class and it was very well maintained. The FA asked me what I wanted for drinks and I got water without ice. There was a couple more passengers before the crew closed the door early and proceeded to the runway. It was an early departure and we took off on time if not for the long taxi time.
Snacks and ginger ale onboard US Airways
Bulkhead First Class on the Airbus A319
Service in this flight was just a choice of snack packs which included chips, mini pretzels and almonds. The FA would come back with the tray again later in the flight. Passengers were also asked for drink orders and I ordered one ginger ale. I have to say the FA catering the First cabin was very attentive, all the while offering passengers drinks and encouraging me to take more than one pack of snacks.
Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah
Aerial view of Grand Canyon, Arizona
Another positive to the flight was the views from the snow capped mountains of Washington to the salt flats in Utah and finally passing Grand Canyon. The view out of the window made me glad I had the window seat. The pilot also mentioned it while we were going to fly by Grand Canyon which I appreciated since three was no inflight monitors or moving map in the cabin. All things considered, this was perhaps my favourite intra-America flight to date.
Sunset at Phoenix Sky Harbor
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Trans-Border
Vancouver - YVR
Phoenix - PHX
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