My journey home after Seattle pride was sub-optimal.
I was booked on an Alaska Airlines flight at 07.00 on Monday morning from Seattle to Portland. I was then connecting to an Air Canada flight from Portland to Vancouver where I connected to another Air Canada service to Toronto.
The problem was that Sunday afternoon is the Cuff block party at Seattle pride. I was with friends. I might have had a drink or eight. I think I got to sleep about 01.00 after perhaps making a new friend.
I checked out of the Seattle Westin (which I’ve previously reviewed here) around 05.30 and Uber’d to the airport. I was through security and had a good 45 minutes to boarding. I was hung over to buggery. I found a diner in the airport and had the carbiest, greasiest food I could find. It helped. A bit.
I boarded. We took off. We landed in Portland. I wandered to the next gate where I sat for a bit. I found a burger which helped the hangover a somewhat.
The Air Canada flight (like the Alaska one earlier) was also a Bombardier Q400, although was running around an hour late. My connection time was meant to be 2h 15 minutes, so this reduced it to a little under an hour and a half.
Again, we took off and I napped. We landed in Vancouver and taxied to the gate. There then followed a *long* walk, perhaps a good 700m to the main terminal. There was an Air Canada lady asking if people were connecting to a domestic flight. I was, so she gave me an orange card. I walked on and entered the immigration hall and my face dropped. It was utterly packed.
However there was a sign for those with an orange domestic connections card, like the one I was given. I followed it and it lead to a gentleman checking boarding passes – he saw the orange card and directed me into an empty tensa-barrier maze that lead to some immigration machines. I completed the formalities there and handed my slip to the friendly immigration officer and was on my way in under five minutes.
I walked into the customs hall and again there was a section for people with an orange domestic connections card. It was also empty and I was through there, into an elevator, and up onto another level with another 200m walk and finally a security check-point.
There was only one scanner working and perhaps 40 people ahead so took about 15 minutes go get through and for me to re-enter the airside area. By this time it was just under an hour before my next flight was due to board. I nipped into the Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge for a quick pit stop and headed to the gate were the boarding queues had already formed.
The four hour flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER and I had seat 4A. Air Canada have the B/E Super Diamond reverse herringbone seat installed in the aircraft. I have to say of all the off-the-shelf business class products out there, this is one of my favourites. It’s well laid out, spacious, has all aisle access and quite private too. There was a great IFE with a touch screen remote control too.
By this point I had mostly got over my hangover and decided to enjoy a glass of Prosecco whilst boarding was still completing, and the other passengers were settling in.
It wasn’t long before we were in the air and the in-flight service started.
The lovely crew came around with hot towels and took drink orders. The Prosecco must have helped the hangover so I felt it was time for a gin and tonic; it was served with some warmed nuts to nibble on.
Lunch was quickly brought out and a table cloth laid out.
Compared to my United flight the previous direction, the quality of the food definitely seemed a step up. The food seemed a little less mass produced and tastier. The wines were massively better.
Cheese was offered round to the cabin. Purely for review purposes I opted for a glass of port as well.
Then the crew separately went around offering dessert. I was on a roll by this point, so felt I may as well have a glass of Cognac too.
With that I decided to nap for the remainder of the flight!
Apart from the bloody obvious point of not booking a 07.00 flight on the morning after Seattle Pride and the Cuff block party, it was a remarkably pleasant journey.
Vancouver immigration was a complete zoo, but thanks to their connection programme, I breezed through.
Air Canada’s domestic transcontinental business class I thought was excellent. It was a fantastic hard product, with engaged cabin crew, good quality food, lovely wines plus a choice of cheese and then dessert.
Whilst still a business class product, I felt it was a significant step up from the service that United provided on the way out and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.