Friday, 13 March 2015

On the trip down

The flight attendant on the YUL to PHL called the aircraft a "Canada Air" CL 65. As we taxied along, she walked past my seat whereupon I pointed out that the name was "Canadair" and she should get it right as "the factory was right over there" and gestured vaguely to the left hoping my geography was right.

Now that I reflect on the matter, I hope that she was even more wrong as Canadair is now deeply a part of Bombardier and has been for a while. While I was studying aircraft engineering, Bombardier already had its paws on Canadair. The point of my fear is that the plane might have been old enough to vote or even buy booze in the U.S.!  I might have sat in it when it was being built the weekend Denise F. died.

On further examination of the data, Bombardier refers to the planes as CRJ-200's.

Then again, Bombardier is still building Regional Jets whereas Boeing is no longer building 757s like the one I am currently sitting in. This jet could be older that the "Canada Air".

US Airways/American Airlines makes Air Canada and WestJet look very good. In flight entertainment is an overhead screen showing a movie I have no interest in and there are no power sockets for recharging electronic devices. Then again the age thing might be at work. One of the panels in the lavatory near my seat was held in place with masking tape and it took them nearly two hours of flying time to turn off the seatbelts sign.

The online check-in process for the second flight initially put me in a "B" seat, i.e. a middle seat, neither window or aisle. There didn't seem to be a free (using two senses of the word (no cost and available)) aisle seat for me to pick. Then I began to wonder what the red seats near the front were. They were exit row seats which didn't have an actual cost attached to them but were reserved for people who could meet the physical and mental requirements. The first was being able-bodied. The second was two-fold: you had to be smart enough to operate the door properly and be fairly fluent in English. * As I met these requirements, I leapt at the opportunity to get an aisle seat. As well, it was near the entry door.

The plane loaded in good time and the doors were closed and armed. Then we waited for a time before it was announced that some one hadn't serviced the lavatories and we would have to wait a bit. We ended up taking off nearly an hour late. In theory, clement weather patterns mean the plane should be able to take up for some lost time. However, we will still be late and there is something of a cut-off time for check-in at the hostel. Originally, I had about two hours after arrival. Now, it is a darn sight tighter.

The cheesesteak I found was very tasty, though ultimately an exercise in beef, fat and salt. Unexpected pleasant surprise was the Yards India Pale Ale.

Update: at 8:45 it was announced we will only be about 15 minutes late. Still not impressed.

* On the safety card, there was a full panel devoted to exit row procedures which began with a warning blurb to this effect in English, Spanish and French. The rest of the panel was in English only.

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