Day 1a – Air Canada Computer Mess

For the events of Friday, May 29, 2009
Times shown are Vancouver (PST)

8:13 AM – Got up very early this morning (4:30), finished packing and getting ready, and left the house by 6:15. Was at airport about 6:45, and checked in without a hitch. Everything was going smoothly, in fact, until we had loaded the plane and were just taxiing to the takeoff runway at YVR, when the pilot came on to tell us the plane’s entire computer navigation system has shut down without warning and they can’t get it to restart, so we have to go back to the gate and get maintenance to fix it.

I probably don’t have to tell you how problematic it would have been if we’d already been in the air when that happened. While it would be nice to think I could have gotten a free trip to Hawaii or … Cleveland or something if they couldn’t figure out where they were, the reality is it would put us in some jeopardy – over the 2nd busiest airport in Canada with no idea, except line of sight, where we were going. Fortunately it is nothing but blue sky if pilot had to fly manually. Hopefully we’ll get going soon. Worst case scenario – we and our luggage have to get on a new plane.

Air Canada has a new policy on the plane – they turn on the entertainment system while we are boarding and you’re allowed to watch it gate to gate with headphones, but you still can’t use iPod until in the air with seatbelt sign off. They interrupt you with messages as usual but it’s nice to have it right away. Our plane has the newer Enroute system with the iPhone jack so I’m very happy – 4.5 hours of whatever I want to see or do now! Stupid system comes on at full volume though – just about blew my brains out.

8:28 AM – All internal systems just shut down to be rebooted and it’s unbelievably hot in here with no air circulation. I’m feeling claustrophobic all of a sudden – never had that happen before, but we aren’t allowed to leave our seats.

Honestly I really want off this plane – a little concerned it’s not air-ready – but hoping to take my mind off things by writing this. Stewardess is handing out water to us now so I get the feeling we aren’t going anywhere for a bit.

8:37 AMPTL – captain just came on to say they are signing some papers now on maintenance done and we are leaving soon. I had a big layover in TO so no loss to me. I don’t like TO airport much. Plane is, according to captain, completely full and a bit heavy due to luggage. Not sure if he’s trying to freak us out this morning with all this – too much information.

8:47 AM – we have sat here 10 minutes when captain came on yet again – we can’t leave yet because ground crew didn’t close the door when they left the plane after fixing the computer. Pilot and plane crew are not allowed to close it under federal law so we’re waiting fir the idiot to come back and do it himself – and he seems in no hurry to get here. We’re nearly 45 min late getting off the ground so hope we can make up the time in the air. Nice way to waste 200 people’s time on this Airbus 320 – incompetence really irritates me.

9:20 AM – Just had a great meal – paid for in advance with plane ticket (and I forgot I did!) I picked the sliced apples and caramel dip for a snack which was soooo good, and a honey bourbon chicken wrap. The food gets better and better with Air Canada. I was stuffed – it must have been a whole apple and wrap was from Quiznos.

10:45 AM – Just finished watching the movie The Reader. I can see why it was nominated for so many Oscars. Very moving.

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