The M Experience
The M experience is called like this because of the simplicity of being in three M-starting cities (Mexico City, Miami and Montreal). The conclusions of the experience will be posted on the second part of this, my first report.
This is my first trip report so I’m proud to present you my first solo flight on a commercial flight to the best holidays I’ve ever had so far. This trip took me from one of my two homelands, Mexico and the other one being England, UK, to Montréal, Québec, Canada for a two week trip and stay with some family friends to practice my French and to attend to the Montréal Jazz Fest in its 30th Edition with the fabulous opening act of Stevie Wonder. The whole trip was done cheaper by travelling from Mexico through the US and then up to Canada. The first flight follows:
Monday June 29th, 2009
Gate 34, Terminal 1
Scheduled time of flight: 3h19
Actual time of flight: 3h22
After waking up at 03:30am I was just exhausted but eager and willing to make the 10-hour trip to the wonderful and lovely Montreal, Canada. This was my first flight on a Boeing 737-800 and the first of four in the entire trip which was basically flying on AA B738 metal. I chose my seats as soon as I got my e-ticket sent to my email and the confirmation of the trip. I love being in the window seat although as annoying as it might be for some people to have to climb over other people to get to the restrooms, I really don’t mind holding on to my bladder for 4 hours (since the boarding began quite late that time at around 0645) and just have a front row seat to spectacular views of the takeoff, climb, level-out, cruise over the Gulf of Mexico, which I normally don’t get to see on transatlantic flights to and from MEX because of various reasons, normally fatigue... and also the new approach to a new airport destination added to my memoires.
From the minute I sat down in the aircraft until we started up the engines, it was a very quiet scenario. With all three seats for me, I took advantage to put some stuff there and secure at least two seats because of me being really tiresome. It was still dark when everyone boarded and still when we were pushed back.
This is the video of the line-up and takeoff from Runway 5L and an eastwards ascent towards VOR APN (Apan) passing beside the volcanoes in beautiful morning light and moisture during departure. Enjoy!
Here are some pictures of our climb to initially 33,000ft passing at around FL180 beside Popocatépetl and Itztlazihuatl volcanoes (Note: I might be mistaken in the spelling of the volcanoes’ names) level-out and cruise over the Gulf of Mexico.
This could be an AA Advertisement for Mexico.
We cruised at 36,000ft from the middle of the Gulf of Mexico heretofore our descent over the Everglades and all the way to the Atlantic Ocean to pass over Virginia Key for a Runway 12 bumpy and windy landing on which if you hear closely, you’ll notice my expression and a little squeak.
There were two Lan Chile B77Fs parked and an American Eagle E145 waiting for out flyover its departure runway 27 and that’s where it got bumpier. It was a fast and hard landing with the immigration steps to take for my next flight. We parked in Gate D3 beside one of my favourite airliners, the B752W N631AA.
My other flight was just two hours away and thinking it would be enough, I was completely mistaken and had to re-check-in my luggage and pass two times through security and I had to run literally to the other side of the terminal to be able to make it to my connecting flight. I was planning on using my time in MIA to spot, take a break and feel the Tropical heat, but I was not able to do so and instead I just sweated because of the running. Also I had some trouble passing through immigration in MIA because my British passport is issued in Mexico City, and barely days before I flew, the officer told me there was a problem and that two things happened:
1-I wasn’t yet registered in the system. Completely false and because he was so naïve he forgot to check and pass the passport through that serial number detector thing (I don’t know what it’s called…) and after 10 minutes absent from his desk he returned saying I was cleared to go.
2-In between checking whether I was in the system or not, he asked me why I had issued my passport in Mexico and I explained my double nationality and he asked me for my Mexican passport which doesn’t have a visa because I use both when traveling to the US and Canada and he wanted to send me back to Mexico and well, then he stood up and went and checked with a colleague and I was so embarrassed whilst waiting in front of an empty desk with over 15 people waiting in line for the immigration clearance as well. He returned and let me passed and apologized for his mistake and let me through with now under an hour to make the connection possible and a hell to pass through customs and re-check the luggage.
The connection was possible and as I arrived to the gate to my surprise the boarding hadn’t begun so I calmed down, went to a Magazine stand and bought just a bar of Musketeers and an Orangina, which basically was my lunch that day.
Monday June 29th, 2009
Gate 43, Concourse D
Scheduled time of flight: 3h24
Actual time of flight: 2h14
We parked next to one of the then-active A300B of American Airlines. N8005B.
We pushed back almost an hour later than scheduled and we did a very fast taxi to runway 26L and the intention of the captain and female first officer was clear, we were going to have to make it up in the air and as much in the ground as well. After arriving to the waiting point of runway 26L, the captain made the pre-takeoff announcement for the cabin crew – “Crew. Prepare for takeoff”. And so two of the three flight attendants near me at the rear of the aircraft stood up for pre-takeoff check and to make sure everyone had fastened their seatbelts. As soon as they got up, the captain pushed the throttles and we started our takeoff roll, by that time, the flight attendants came rushing down the aisle as they were by the middle of their designated section and had to go back and by the time they actually sat down we were over 1,000ft in the air heading eastwards and then we made a right turn to fly over the Atlantic Ocean with spectacular cloud formations and turquoise water near the Florida coast.
Our takeoff roll was unusual and windy. We started to rotate a bit early but couldn’t get off the ground so it was a bit long our takeoff it was.
Sorry for the quality of the pictures. The window was filthy.
We made our way north-easterly of NYC and west of Boston and we flew over land after an hour and a half of just the Atlantic Ocean’s waters. We came back to land over Connecticut for an almost Northern route towards Montreal.
I was pleased to be getting near Montreal as we felt the loss of altitude immediately as the engine power was reduced and we started seeing the clouds closer to us and the ground items getting bigger and bigger. The funny thing about this leg of the trip is that I was seating next to a Mexican couple that came on the exact same flight as me from MEX and we were talking the last hour of the flight about what there would be in Montreal and what we would be doing in our trip once we arrived. Delightful couple they were.
We made a runway 24L landing with an approach almost over the city of Montreal, maybe passing over the YHU VOR and passing just north of the Olympic Stadium and Mont Royal. The female First Officer was in charge of making the smoothest landing by hands of a woman I’ve ever experienced. During the approach you can hear us discussing about our trip.
As we vacated the runway we headed towards Gate 80 passing by a great number or aircraft I had only seen in pictures (provided by Airliners.net) such as the AF A343, LX A332, AF and AC 773, KL MD11 (which I hope to ride someday being in Montreal next year, I’ll get to that don’t worry) the Air Transat A310 (!) and the Beechcraft 190 of Alliance by AC.
We parked at Gate 80 beside an American Eagle E145 and Air Canada Jazz C-FWJS.
This concludes the first part of the trip report. The second part is on its way and I’ll explain the reason of me going to Montreal later.
Thanks a lot.