The NetLetter #910
The NetLetter
Since Oct/95 January 8, 2006


Number 910

About us!

Need to know...

Air Canada News

Found on the Internet

European trip, final phase

Terry's Travel Tips



NetLetter Archives

About us!

Since October 1995, Vesta Stevenson and Terry Baker have been issuing an email newsletter for those ex Air Canada types who have provided us with their email addresses. The Newsletter was created by Vesta, who gave the name 'NetLetter' and added 'Between Ourselves' - a TCA periodical with which you are probably familiar with from the 50's and 60's. It was then changed to "Between Yourselves" to avoid confusion when "Horizons" resurrected the name. Then finally simplified to just "The NetLetter".

We believe that our NetLetter, which originates from Vancouver Island, was the FIRST to use this medium to disperse information for retirees of Air Canada.

The NetLetter contains airline related information such as anecdotes or stories supplied by some of the recipients, Internet tips, travel news, cheap... excuse me, "inexpensive" accommodations, tours, interline travel, and, in some small way, we help keep our Air Canada family together and in touch.

Our 'NetLetter' is NOT sponsored by any Pionair group, nor are we seeking any financial support, only the Internet email addresses of those who would like to receive our 'NetLetter'. Please forward this to other retirees who can then subscribe right from the forwarded link at the bottom of this email.


Please visit our Sponsors


Dear NetLetter,

Vesta and Terry would like to wish all our readers a (belated) very happy Christmas and all the very best for 2006. Travel safely.

W. Gord Hykle of Pointe Claire, QC, passed away peacefully on Sat. Dec. 24th, 2005, in his 83rd year.
Gord joined TCA in 1942 and continued with AC in various capacities till his retirement in 1978. He was also a long-standing ham radio operator. Gord is survived by his wife, Marion, 2 daughters, 2 sons and 4 grandchildren.

Dear friends,
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our husband and father. Please pass this news along to those friends of Myron that do not have email. The following Obituary will be posted in the papers this week: OLSON, Myron Dale Alfred - Aviator - of Langley, BC - Passed away December 30, 2005 at age 69, after 9 years battling cancer. Survived by wife Gerdina, children Kari (Dave), Karla, Clarke (Patricia), Amelia (Mitch), and Tessa, grandchildren Megan and Mattheus, brothers Rennie (Janet) and Darryl (Sandy). Born November 24, 1936 in Edmonton, Myron earned his pilot's license while working the ground for Associated Airways. Certified as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer and flew for PWA as a Bush Pilot from 1955- 1966 in the Northwest Territories. Joined Air Canada in Vancouver as second officer on the DC-8, retiring as captain on the Boeing 767 after 30 years of service.
In his retirement, Myron co-founded the BC Floatplane Association and served as a director in the Quarter Century in Aviation Club. Also active in the Langley Aero Club, PAMEA, International 180-185 Club, COPA, BC Aviation Council and the Vintage Car Club of BC. Major highlight of Myron's 25,000 hours-flying aviation career was his participation in the 1971 London-Victoria Air Race, flying a single engine Staggerwing Beechcraft. May he fly forever with God's Heavenly Host, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Redeemer. The Funeral was held on Saturday, January 7 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Andrew's Anglican Church, 20955 Old Yale Rd, Langley, BC. Donations to the Canadian Museum of Flight in memory of Myron would be appreciated.

We now estimate that the NetLetter is read by over 2704 retirees when counting our email distribution and those that print the NetLetter and give them out to their friends.

To get in touch with either the Editor/Pilot or Co- Pilot our email address is still This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To make changes to your e-mail address or to unsubscribe, please see the links at the bottom of the page for "Update Profile/Email address" and SafeUnsubscribe. This is now automated so that you can remove yourself from the list or change your email address (or name) without our assistance. We will still do this manually if you have any difficulties.

Many of our members are having difficulty finding these links. You will need to scroll to the bottom of the page, the link in similar to the following image. (The image below doesn't work but your links at the bottom will).

Thank you

Alan Rust - ACFamily Administrator

  • Need to know...
  • Vesta

    Holiday employee travel tip... check if you're going to a non-DCS station. In yesterday's travel tip we talked about the importance of carrying ZEDs and listed a number of stations that could be problematic during the holiday season. Today, we're talking about why keeping some paper coupons close at hand is a good idea.
    To avoid any unpleasant surprises at the airport, before you leave home verify if any of your destinations are Non-DCS stations (a non automated airport). The confirmation page on your Web booking will let you know in bold if one of the stations on your itinerary is Non-DCS and you need to fill out a coupon (e.g. Sidney, Australia). One coupon per passenger, per segment is required. If you are not the person travelling, ensure the ticket holder has a photo ID to present at check-in and that they are registered prior to their arrival at the airport. The coupon must be filled out properly, be legible and include your signature. Any incomplete or illegible coupons will be charged at the Partner service charge rate. For more details about how to take some of the stress out of leisure travel, check the Employee Travel Site at under "What's New."

  • Air Canada News
  • Air Canada to launch four new routes. December 17th's start-up of non-stop service to Santo Domingo via Toronto, Air Canada will become the only carrier to operate scheduled service between Canada and the Dominican Republic's capital city. The service will operate three times weekly during the winter and spring holiday peak travel periods and twice a week for the balance of the year. In Vancouver, we will launch daily non-stop service to San Diego, bringing up to 20 daily flights to California from cities across Canada. Air Canada Jazz will operate the San Diego service with Bombardier CRJ-705 aircraft.

    Also Calgary will launch two new routes - non-stop services to Orlando and Abbotsford. The direct flights linking Calgary with Orlando will be operated on weekends during the winter season with A319 aircraft, and the Abbotsford service will be operated three times daily by Jazz using Bombardier jet aircraft.

    Montreal welcomes first two Embraer 190s. December 15th, our first two Embraer 190s - fins 301 C-GWEN and 302 C-FFYI - arrived in Montreal from São José dos Campos (Brazil). These two aircraft are the first to be delivered equipped with the new state- of-the art IFE system that will become standard throughout our fleet - i.e. 8.9-inch-wide digital TVs with touch-screen controls featuring audio and video on-demand at every seat.

    The IFE system will be operational in January. Other amenities include roomy overhead bins and cabin interiors that offer plenty of head room, extra-wide aisles and Air Canada's new seating and cabin design. The E190s are configured to provide a choice of two classes of service with nine seats in Executive Class and 84 in Hospitality Class. With these deliveries, Air Canada becomes the first North American airline to operate two different Embraer models - we currently operate 14 Embraer 175s with delivery of one more expected in January 2006. We will have four 93-seater E190s delivered by the end of this year with final delivery of all 45 E190s on order scheduled to be completed by early 2008. The addition of these two Embraer Jet types to our fleet will increase our operational flexibility by allowing us to tailor aircraft size to market demand, thereby giving Air Canada a strong competitive edge in the domestic and transborder market.

  • Found on the Internet
  • The massive Howard Hughes flying boat was officially called the Spruce Goose. Hardly. In reality, the gigantic seaplane was the HK-1 (for Hughes and Kaiser) Hercules. It was not until some very contentious congressional hearings that the term "Spruce Goose" was used, and then only in a very derogatory fashion, intended to insult the creator of the aircraft.
    Naturally, even though the wooden airplane contains virtually no spruce in it (it's birch), the name stuck.

    Qantas dreams big with 787 order Qantas is set for the most aggressive expansion in its history after revealing plans to acquire up to 115 787s valued at almost $15 billion at list prices for its mainline brand and the launch of its new long-haul, value-based product Jetstar International.

    GROWING PAINS FOR "BABY BRANSON" AIRLINE Martin Halstead attracted international attention last month when he started up his own airline in the U.K. at age 19, booking flights between the Isle of Man and Edinburgh. Dubbed the "Baby Branson" for his youthful entrepreneurship, Halstead's AlphaOne airline has so far been off to a rocky start, facing delays and cancellations. Maintenance problems caused a switch from 18-seat Jetstreams to a lone Navajo Chieftain. The Navajo was grounded last week after a part was found to be out of date, and the company's Web site is still not fully functional. Halstead said last week he still plans to move forward with the venture, expand routes, and add the Jetstream next year.

  • European trip, final phase
  • The final phase of our European coach trip -

    Friday Sept 23rd
    Today, we left our hotel at 7:30 in very foggy weather, which took several hours to clear completely. We traveled over the French border where there were long queues, probably caused by tourists, who had made purchases in Switzerland, getting their duty free forms signed.
    We passed the remnants of the Maginot Line en route to Paris. The Maginot Line was built in the first world war and intended to halt an advance of an enemy from the east. But the pill boxes were so far apart that the enemy found little resistance. Graeme told us about the pre war 11 rich Mulhouse family who had a collection of rare Bugatti motor cars and, after collaborating with the enemy, had their car collection seized after the war and placed into a museum for the public.

    We started to hit the traffic just south of Paris and had to get to the north side for our hotel. To avoid some of the congestion, our tour director, having consulted his street map, directed Freddie to an alternate way though a park and several suburban side streets.
    Our hotel in Paris, the Sofitel Paris, is brand spanking new, in fact the area around it is still under construction, and it is quite a feat for Freddie to get the bus negotiated safely to the hotel entrance Throughout Europe we noticed that gasoline ranged from euro 1.14 to euro 1.35.
    Our evening tour of Paris was excellent, and for supper we were let loose in the Montmartre area where we enjoyed a pizza. From the top we could see the Eiffel tower lit up, which, from time to time, changed colours. And a multitude of churches and buildings which completed the kaleidoscope. To get to the Sacre Coeur we took the tramway, but we walked down the multitude of steps and took our bus back to our hotel.

    Saturday Sept 24th
    Next day, after a nice breakfast in the hotel, we were taken on a guided tour of the city passing along Avenue Des Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde, then onto the south bank and past the National Assembly Palais, Arc de Triumph, several museums and we saw several thousand roller blade and in-line skaters who took up a whole boulevard. Our guide told us that this happens every Saturday. We ended up at the Eiffel tower by 9:30, early to get in line as groups have preference before the general public. Unfortunately, the elevator for the north leg was malfunctioning and we had to wait about ½ hour before we could ascend to the second level. The energetic types of the public elected to walk up, a long ascent! Cost is euro 7.50 to the second level, although not the highest, still provided a commanding view of the whole of Paris and, after we had walked around that level, we came back down. We then proceeded over to the quayside and joined a river cruise boat for a trip along the river Seine. The female commentator spoke rapidly in 4 different languages and told us she found learning languages easy and was planning on tackling Chinese next. We saw Notre Dame and various other points of interest. Our estimation is that the boat held about 950 passengers, and it was full.
    We were dropped off outside the Opera house for an hours free time which we used to go into the Gallerie Lafayette department store near by.
    This store was about 6 floors and, in the centre, it was all open to a domed ceiling which looked like filigree, and each floor had a balcony. The merchandise was of such high quality too.
    Later, after lunch, we were taken to the Musee de Louvre for two hours, where we had a guided tour of, mainly, the French artists. My wife Dawn and I wanted to see some Flemish and Dutch work, so we left the group and rejoined them later when it was time to leave the museum.
    The evening was the highlight of the whole tour, according to our tour director a visit to the Moulin Rouge. We had excellent seats for supper, which included wine and champagne, and to see the show. The show was full of dynamics, great dancing, several comedy spots and lovely looking talented girls dancing. The costumes, what there was of them, were colourful and gorgeous. The hall probably held approximately 900 patrons, the tables are all in very close proximity to each other. There did not appear to be sufficient exit areas and, if there were, no way to get to them should the need arise. There were as many waiting outside for the next show when we left. There is a second performance which starts at 23:00, but does not include supper, only drinks. We got back to our hotel at 23:30 a long day. We said a tearful aurevoir to our group in the lobby.

    Sunday Sept 25th
    Today we leave the European continent for home after an exhausting 16 days in a coach driving through the countryside. We saw marvelous scenery, architecture, good food and had very little sleep!
    There were just 6 of us on our bus for Charles de Gualle airport at 8:00, another small group leave at 10:00, and the rest of the tour leave, with Graeme for London. Several of the Aussies/Kiwi's are taking a UK tour for another 16 days, a couple are taking a narrow boat for a week on the canals in the UK, two girls are flying back to Italy for a spell before heading back home via Singapore.
    We made the airport in fine style. Our friends took off for the customs to get their form signed for the export of the leather jacket they had purchased, while Dawn and I lined up to check in. By the time we got to the first screening, our friends had not turned up, so we had to go to the back of the queue, which was about 50 people long. Just then an Air Canada agent asked one couple if they were checking for Montreal, they said no, so they were directed to another queue which was waiting alongside, so we switched too. If Air Canada had placed some decent signage up, there would not have been such a confused state. Some passengers waited, as we had, for about ½ hour before reaching the first screening only to find that only the Montreal flight was being handled. After that line up had cleared, then the Toronto passengers were processed through the first screening. There were two flights to Montreal and, one couple got to the final check in desk, only to be told they would have to wait as only the first flight for Montreal was being processed.
    I imagine that, when the higher hierarchy of Air Canada travel, they are in Business/Executive class and sequestered in the Maple Leaf lounge, only to board their flight at the last minute, when the bemused crowds of passengers have been sorted out and checked in. If only the Air Canada executive paid more attention to what is going on in the concourse and making some sensible resolutions to some of the congestion and confusion.
    Where are the Public Relations people when you want them?
    We finally got checked in and made our way to the lounge. Here is another confused state of affairs, not Air Canada's fault though, when the flight is called, by row number as usual, the passengers start exiting through the revolving doors which, believe it or not, are timed, and close when time is up. This is because immediately outside the lounge is the corridor for the arriving passengers who also have a time when the same revolving doors open for them. Who on earth thought that system up where arriving passengers are on the same level as departing passengers? The old saying applies, the French come up with a process and look for the data to apply to it.

    So we are back home now, getting ready for our trip to Kauai over the holiday season.
    Oh yes. after we landed in Toronto, we joined our friends and spent 6 days driving across the U.S. back to BC - very enjoyable.

  • Terry's Travel Tips
  • Continuing the saga of contingent travel from NetLetter 909 -
    The airplane still has to depart without interruption such as a mechanical problem, ATC delay, bad weather or other operational problem. And we all find out the hard way that when things go wrong, you had better have an alternate plan up your sleeve;

    Plan B.
    Most physicists have never heard of Newton's Law of Commuting. It states: When a disruption occurs to an airline's scheduled service, the effect will be infectious to other airlines on a cumulative basis. Of course there are some logical reasons for this law; for example, all the passengers delayed from your canceled flight must be accommodated on other airlines. However, there are also inexplicable disruptions that occur concurrently. Mystical forces work against you. Airline A has a mechanical; airline B's flight is delayed; a flight attendant doesn't show up for his or her flight on airline C; a storm front moves into the Midwest -- you get the idea. Of course, by some obscene twist of fate, all these problems occur one after the other. While you stand there fat, dumb and happy with your boarding card in hand, it all goes to hell in a hand basket. That's when Plan C comes into effect. Every experienced commuter knows you gotta have a Plan C.

    Plan C involves going to an alternate airport with the hope that you will be able to get a seat to your primary destination from that point. Maybe Newton's Law of Commuting has not yet been complied with in this part of the country. Yet. So, instead of going standby from Toronto to Los Angeles, maybe you opt for San Fransisco instead. Wisely, you realize that there are many flights from San Francisco where United Airlines pretty much owns the route to Los Angeles, and they are a Star Alliance partner. Keep as many options open as possible; that's the commuter's creed.

    If plan C fails there is only one option left: Panic, otherwise known as plan D. If you reach plan D, you are in deep doo-doo. In fact, that's what the "D" in Plan D stands for.

    Interline World Vacations -
    For information and reservations, please call 1-866- 279-8480
    CALL NOW TO BOOK at 1-866-279-8480

    Airline Specials -
    Newly pricing and departures on the fabulous Shongololo Express trains in South Africa offer superior value for your interline dollar. These are once in a lifetime trips. Many new cruise departures for later in January and into February have been introduced. New 4 night sailings from Royal Caribbean International have been joined by some new 7 night Bahamas programs introduced by Norwegian Cruise Lines.
    SHONGOLOLO DUNE EXPRESS - NAMIBIA BY RAIL ===================================
    16 Day - The Dune Express
    The Shongololo Express is one of the worlds great train adventures. It allows you to travel comfortably and securely at night, while waking up to new scenery every morning. Multilingual guides and their air-conditioned Minibuses travel on board the train. The packages include a multitude of activities, giving you unprecedented freedom of choice.
    Experience the magic of Namibia in an affordable and fun filled way aboard the Dune Express. This exciting 16 day adventure also includes the Cape, South Africa.

    Route Highlights include - Namibia:
    Windhoek - Etosha National Park - Ombili Bushmen Settlement - Lake Otjikoto/Tsumeb - Swakopmud - Sesriem/Sosssvlei - Fish River Canyon; South Africa: Worcester - Klein Karoo/Breede River Valley - Swartland/Winelands/Hermanus - Cape Town. (see itinerary for in-depth descriptions of route).

    Feb 14 to Mar 1, 2006 Departure - Cape Town to Windhoek Plus Package (Includes Excursions) Ivory Class - $3020 USD per person based on double- occupancy. Gold Class - $3699 USD per person based on double-occupancy.

    March 7 - 22, 2006 Departure - Windhoek to Cape Town Plus Package (Includes Excursions) Ivory Class - $3020 USD per person based on double- occupancy.
    Gold Class - $3699 USD per person based on double- occupancy.
    Call for details on Ivory single occupancy rate.
    Airfare not included - Call our Travel Experts for Quotation. All rates per person based upon double occupancy.

  • Smilie
  • Smiley

    Some Aviation quotes -
    "Bums on seats" was how Captain Eddie Rickenbacker of Eastern Airlines liked to describe the airline business.

    A commercial aircraft is a vehicle capable of supporting itself aerodynamically and economically at the same time.

    Once you get hooked on the airline business, it's worse than dope.

    These days no one can make money on the goddamn airline business. The economics represent sheer hell.

    A recession is when you have to tighten your belt; depression is when you have no belt to tighten. When you've lost your trousers - you're in the airline business.

  • Sponsors
  • The mailing and formating of the NetLetter for HTML format is provided compliments of the ACFamily Network and Nerds On Site. Content is researched and submitted by Vesta Stevenson and Terry Baker. Thank you for letting us into your homes!

    Important reminder, for all new articles, submissions and or comments for the "The Netletter" please send to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. please add to your Address Books.

    This e-mail address has been set up so that both of us (exclusively) will get an automatic copy and so we can keep up with the continuity of news for the NetLetter.

    Please support the ACFamily Network
  • NetLetter Archives
  • The archives of the NetLetter are kept on the ACFamily Network Forums area. They are in plain text format so you can print them from there if desired. If you are not a member of the ACFamily Network yet, we encourage you to join us there. Non members can Register here. (It's Free!)

    NetLetter Archives Link
    email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Current Mail List

    Join our Mail List

    Please use the form below to sign up to our mail list.
    Thank you for subscribing to The NetLetter.