Sunday, January 20, 2019

Away for the holidays - Brisbane to Vancouver - 3


Our flight to Vancouver's departure gate is 213.  It is down on the ground floor which means we will be taking a bus to the plane.  With all the gates they have at this airport, I'm surprised they could find one for China's own airline.

But, it's back on the bus, and basically, it's a free for all at the gate then once you're off the bus.  Of course, it's still raining and there we are, forced to walk up steps with everyone crowding each other to get out of the rain and the staff aboard trying to make sure everyone has a boarding pass

It doesn't work very well when families get separated at the first person had the boarding passes.


Airlines should never let the passengers see the external state if the plane.  Whilst it might be mechanically sound, and the interior looks like it's been recently refurbished, the outside looked very dirty and unkempt, not giving a very good first impression.  The proof, of course, will be when we land safely.


Taking off was not as smooth or quiet as the last plane, and there were a lot of creaks and groans through the fuselage which I tried very hard to ignore.  I suspect this plane has different engines and technology to the other, particularly when it comes to the wing tips.  This plane is definitely an older model of the A330.

The flight leaves at 23:55 so after dinner, a chicken and noodle concoction that tasted fine, and lashing of watermelon, the impression I got it was time for sleep.

It might because they turned off all the lights.

Sleeping on planes is something few people can do, particularly if you are in economy.  Seats do not recline very far and I don't think the human body was designed to sleep sitting up and relatively contorted position.

Fortunately for me, I seem to have a knack of falling asleep in my chair while writing, which doesn't say much if it's putting me to sleep, and after reclining my seat wriggling about to find a comfortable position, over the next six hours I manage to get some fitful sleep.

This flight hasn't seemed to take as long as one expects of 9 or 10 hours in the air.  It might be because we are about an hour or early due to some astonishing rail winds, up to 350kph, on the fact, the seats are relatively comfortable and the seat pitch is definitely more than the usual 31 inches.  I mean there's a good six inches between my knees and the next seat, where they are usually touching it.

Breakfast has come and gone, it may have been appealing if I'd been more hungry but I was still full from three tubs of watermelon last night, and another three this time.

Vancouver beckons.

Getting off the plane and getting through customs and immigration presented no difficulties, and then there is only one problem, no inbound duty-free, and we are told it is one of the few airports that doesn't have it.

So much for not buying it in either Brisbane or Shanghai, but perhaps the prices will be low enough to obviate that issue.

Not to worry...

Next, we exit the customs area and out into Canada, looking for the limousine to take us to the hotel.  Usually, as you exit the customs area there are a group of drivers waiting.  As our plane landed about an hour earlier than usual sometime there is a problem.  Not this time.  He's there waiting.

We walk out into the cold night air, and it's not very far.  And imagine the surprise when we discover we have a stretch limousine.  With party lights and dark windows, we didn't get to see much of Vancouver between the airport and hotel.

We are staying at the Hilton Metrotown in Burnaby, about 20 minutes from downtown as they call the city center here.  It didn't take all that long, which was probably a good thing, because we were all very tired.

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