I planned this trip months in advance. I was going to take 3 relatives, on buddy passes, from Vancouver to London, and bring them back 3 weeks later. So I had to go to Vancouver, pick them up, take them to London, and come directly back to Winnipeg for Easter dinner. So this trip report highlights the trip to London, and the immediate trip back. Later on, I will add a PART 2, detailing the trip to go get them and bring them back 3 weeks later.

Winnipeg-Vancouver is a difficult route to fly employee standby. I was lucky enough to get a Business Class seat on the first morning departure, flight 295, now operated by Embraer 190 aircraft as opposed to Airbus equipment.

The flight was full. We departed off RWY 31, on schedule. Shortly after departure, a cold plate was served. These cold plates are usually pretty good, and I don't mind not having a hot meal served in J-class at all.. cause it's usually just a small omlette anyway. I slept for most of the flight, so not much to comment on.


We landed ontime, on RWY 26R at Vancouver. A relative picked me up at the airport, and I went to my bro's condo, and spent the afternoon in Vancouver. The next morning we would make the trip over to London.

We few options for getting to London this day. The nonstop Vancouver-London flight was out of the question, cause it arrived London too late for their connecting 12:00 noon flight on Iberia to Spain. So we had to take a Toronto, Ottawa, or Montreal connection. The Toronto connection would connect us to the brand new 777-300/ER, flying it's first transoceanic flight for Air Canada, so we chose to take this, and route via YYZ.

We checked in 1 hour prior to the 09:00 B763 flight to Toronto. Upon checking in, I noticed some "Canadian Celebrities" checking in at another counter. I told my bro... "hey look, it's Mr. Leahy and Randy from Trailer Park Boys". Any non-Canadians won't know what the hell I'm talking about, but Canadians who watch TPB will definitely understand how freakin hilarious this was. So he went up to them, and snapped a photo. I asked where they were going... it was Halifax via Toronto (on the YYZ flight after us). Wouldn't that be funny flying to YYZ sitting next to Leahy and Bobandy!

Our flight left on sked, we departed off 26L, and because the flight was full, I didn't have a window seat... so no vids, and only 1 cabin shot. The flight was a typical 4 hours for this sector, and buy-on-board meals were offered.

The Toronto-London flight was quite full, and the boarding area was jam packed with tourists, cause Lufthansa was boarding their 346 at the neighbouring gate. People everywhere. We were called for seats at last minute, and were scattered throughout the Y-cabins because of the high load. I was in the rear Y-cabin with about 50 kids from Estevan, SK would were pretty damn loud, but shortly after takeoff when the entertainment units were activated, it quieted things down a lot. I tried to sleep for most of the flight, when the sun went down. Champagne was served shortly after takeoff, to commemorate the first overseas journey of this brand new airplane for Air Canada.

I awoke to a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic, just shy of Ireland, so I snapped a few shots, and got ready for breakfast. Our descent was routing, and we didn't even have to enter a holding pattern in LHR, which is actually abnormal. Arrival onto RWY 27R was ontime. Clearing customs didn't take long, so I went and showed my bro where to meet me in 3 weeks, said good-bye, and went to checkin at T3 checkin, for the return journey on the same plane! I listed for priority J-class standby which costs a bit more, but is worth it when you are travelling so much over such a short period of time. I asked if 11K was open in J, and was onloaded right at the front counter.


After clearing security, I found myself back at the gate, without much time to spare (layover was only 2 hours). The flight back was pretty full in Economy, but because it was the middle of a long weekend, and an early morning departure, J-class was booked pretty light. When I stepped onboard, I realized I was the only pax in the aft J-cabin. Inflight asked if I would re-seat to the forward cabin, but I asked to stay where I was. They weren't too thrilled about this idea, cause it's easier for them to provide service if everyone is in 1 cabin, but I said... "there's no windows open up there, right" and she said no. So they took me up there for the safety demo, and I went back for departure. Then I went back up for meal service, and went back for hours and hours of sleep. The new J-class seat will take some getting used to... it is a little narrow, and the angle is odd, but for long haul comfort and the ability to sleep lie-flat, it serves it's purpose really well.

We arrived into Toronto ahead of schedule. I had another quick connection to the Winnipeg flight, and really wanted to make the 12:55 flight in order to make it back for Easter dinner. So I ran through customs, and security, and was given seat 12F for the last flight home.


Not much to comment about for this flight. I was still tired after so much back-to-back flying, that I slept for the entire flight. I made it home in time... the journey was really good, and shortly I will add Part 2 for the trip back to London to pick them up.

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