So it begins…

25 03 2008

With a nice sunrise shining off the towers outside my building.

Out of the door by 8, I make my way to the free rental car I booked — 2008 Cadillac STS.  Nice ride to go to YYZ.

 

Traffic is surprisingly busy, but nonetheless I am at the check-in counter in 45 minutes.  Nice friendly conversation with the check-in agent — she is surprised how much my luggage can hold.  30 seconds (and an iris scan later) I am in the USA, and at security.  2 minutes later, I am in the MLL, on the phone with Aeroplan rebooking her flight to YCG.  It only took an hour, but she is booked.  Initially the agent was not in the best of moods, but by the end was friendly — helps I am in a good mood I think!

Had a quick continental breakfast, and off to the gate.  No opportunity to take a photo of the airplane I am on because of the configuration of gates, but it is an E-175.

Departing 24R, we had a bit bumpy take off, but then nice, clear, and smooth above the clouds. 

 

It clears up rather nicely when I get over upstate NY.  Instead of the normal loop down the Hudson for an eventual Expressway Visual approach, we land to the south.

 

Quick run to the gate (bag is 3rd off!) I make my way to the M60 bus and over to Columbia to meet Sal — who is putting out fires left, right, and centre.

Sunny and crisp in NYC as we eat lunch in front of Alma Matter.

 

I let Sal get back to work, and make my way slowly to JFK.  I decide to take the A train all the way to JFK — longer, but I have time.

Mostly underground, we come above just before the airport.  We pass over an abandoned graveyard — the most striking thing I have seen an a long while.  If only I had the guts to use my camera more on the Train.

Check in was suitably chaotic – but eventually I got my bag checked, along with being put on the waitlist for Crown Class.

One last pic, of our plane waiting for service:

 

 

Tomorrow, Amman!

-Brian

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YYZ-SFO: On my way

9 11 2007

Off to NZ! Went to work this morning, with the idea that my flight is not at 3pm to Calgary (YYC) then on to San Francisco (SFO), but direct, at 6pm. I make it to my car to take me to the airport, arriving at 4:30. Because of the changes to my itinerary, I was not able to check in on-line. I find out that I do not have a seat in Executive Class (boo!).


YYZ Transborder MLL

They put me through to the gate to deal with this, as there is a later flight I can take if I want to be ensured J access — otherwise I could take this flight and sit in the back. I am on Vacation! I paid for this in points! I can wait!

A very quick run through through US customs and immigration (thanks NEXUS!), I am in the lounge for the first time. The supervisor at check in said that the Lounge would find me a way on to a J flight. Looking at the ticket as a reward ticket the first Lounge Dragon is unwilling to touch the ticket, let alone help me.

I fume over my glass of wine and then see that the Lounge Dragons have changed — the new one at the desk is willing to look, but unable to help “too much calling about the bags”.

Given the amazing help I have had in UA lounges, I am not impressed — though the food and drink selection is much better with AC.

So I go to the gate, and they are about as helpful as the second Lounge Dragon.

Eventually, I find someone very helpful to make the change. The service desk agent is a GEM! She is cheerful, helpful, and efficient. She quickly makes the change to the later flight, with the seat I want, and gets my bags checked in 30 seconds (take that MLL!)

Back up to the lounge for supper, the Lounge Dragon says “boy they sure had to work hard, didn’t they!”. I shrug and make my way for a glass of Californian Chardonnay and some cream soup for supper.

Flight is called for 20:50 — we will see.

-Brian