This is the view from my hotel window this morning in rainy Montreal. The end of runway 24 left is a "three wood" distance away.
Prior to this pairing, I received a phone call from an MLO (Manager of line Operations) giving me a “heads up” about the president of Mongolia being on my flight. He and his entourage would be deplaning in Vancouver via the ramp. I Googled some facts on Mongolia to woo the F/O. I’ve flown over this landlocked arid country sandwiched between the U.S.S.R and China, but knew very little about it, except the Gobi desert looked very uninviting.
My research proved unnecessary. The president and the gang took a later flight. So it ended up a routine flight to Vancouver except with several areas of bumps due to a 150 knot jet stream and us cutting through the tropopause. As one in-charge coined it, “smooth between the bumps.”
Serenity in Vancouver?
A gorgeous day transpired in Vancouver and I think I confirmed it about five times with my F/O.
Now it’s off to Montreal. We taxi out with a nearly full A321 enjoying the “large” day. After the F/O made the “one minute before take off” announcement and getting cleared for take off… the in-charge calls. "Some passenger ran into the washroom puking and defecating!" Oh great!
We denied the take off clearance, taxied halfway down the runway and sat on taxiway “echo.” We decided whether two passengers who arrived from Shanghai should be deplaned. Two out of the five flight attendants refused to work with a quarantined washroom. They deemed it a health risk. Fair enough.
It’s back to the gate we go. The two passengers were deplaned, but their bags had to be ‘sequenced’. Now the flight attendants are exceeding their duty day. Our day is pushing the envelope as well. Soon everything will be going off the rails if we don’t turn this ship around.
(That day CYVR AC operations had a rejected take off because of a bird strike, followed by the pilots calling it a day after the high speed reject). Also the Hawaiian flight returned to the gate after a suspect fuel leak. So operations didn’t like the sight of us returning to the gate)
The flight attendants were offered overtime so they were happy. (Money talks). The F/O and I decided to keep the operation afloat as well. But the thought of enjoying the hospitality of the local establishment, The Flying Beaver, crept into my thought process.
Bienvenue to Montreal
Our duty day poked well beyond the thirteen hour mark and we had to contend with a landing curfew in Montreal. No planes allowed after 1:00 a.m. We touched down at 12:53. Close.
One flight attendant made it known if we parked at 1:00 a.m or later she too would get overtime. (She was on a different schedule than her co-workers) Captain Doug was operating with lots of constraints. Unfortunately for her, the cargo door opened sending an “in” time of 12:58. Close!
So we went the extra mile, but I’m certain we won’t be getting a call from the MLO saying, “that a boy.”
Now I sit in Montreal at an airport layover after getting to sleep at 2:00 a.m. My room is a “three wood” golf shot distance away from the end of the runway. (That is if my golf shot was as good as my landing last night on a wet runway). So guess who has been getting a walk up call every two minutes from departing jets since 7:00 a.m?
The life of an airline pilot. :)