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A Hong Kong Thanksgiving with the AC 77W/Slaveship in Y

A Hong Kong Thanksgiving with the AC 77W/Slaveship in Y

Old Dec 2, 15, 5:35 pm
  #1  
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A Hong Kong Thanksgiving with the AC 77W/Slaveship in Y

That's right, folks! Welcome to an installment of one of the most (if not the most) hated parts of AC: the 10-across Y in the 77W. AC had some pretty low fares starting at $493 for US-HKG routes, and since I had no Thanksgiving plans, decided that this would be a great idea. I booked a SEA-YVR-HKG round-trip and would meet my friends after we all landed in HKG.


As a poor graduate student, you won't see any spectacular hotels or opulent dining experiences, but there's no shortage of ways to have a great time in HK on a budget. We went into the trip with no plans for what we were going to do in Hong Kong, so we kind of made up everything as we went along, because plans are for chumps.

In the end the trip resulted in eating way too much food and renting a car with a bunch of strangers. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride (of not riding 10-across in a 777).

Shameless self-plug of some of my TRs:
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...jq-oz-j-y.html
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trip-...ur-cruise.html
steveman518 is offline  
Old Dec 2, 15, 6:20 pm
  #2  
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I left the office Tuesday afternoon, and then the trip almost didn't start. I had made my way downtown to take the light rail to the airport, only to find out that the light rail was not running, due to someone jumping in front of a train and getting pinned under it. Since the SPD/SFD were securing the scene, service was interrupted for a period of time. This occurred away from one of the downtown tunnel stations, so naturally we had no idea what was going on and were given no information. Even Sound Transit wasn't telling us what was going on, and it didn't help that there was no reception of wifi in the tunnels, causing the platform to crowd and causing people to panic over missing their flights. Eventually I ended up taking a bus to Renton and changing to another bus to get me to the airport about 15 minutes before boarding.

After breezing through security, I made a quick stop at the AMEX Centurion Studio for my customary coffee and snacks and to catch up on some e-mails before heading to the gate. I had previously noticed that the lounge had added a soup in addition to the cold offerings, and that it was still there this time around. For those of you who have been before, I was miraculously able to get the toilet seat to stay up on the first try.





AC8098
SEA-YVR
Dash-8-300
7F

Upon reaching the gate at boarding time we were still waiting for the inbound from YVR. At least unlike UA these passengers weren't lined up in the boarding lanes (and subsequently blocking disembarking passengers).



This was also the first time I flew in a Dash-8 since the last time I went home to see my parents. There's something about the turboprops that really makes it feel like you're flying, whether it be all the bumps, the sheer noise and vibrations, or looking out the window and seeing the blades spinning. After the inbound flight arrived we boarded and were quickly on our way.

Interior


Obligatory legroom shot


Out the window


Once airborne it was an uneventful short hop to YVR with a quick drink service and an arrival at the furthest transborder gates (90s). While waiting to deplane a couple of children sitting near me were asking their mother whether or not they were going to get picked up by the Escalade.
After clearing immigration after being questioned about my Clif bars, I hopped on the Canada Line into Richmond to meet a friend for a late dinner.



My FT tag hasn't been spotted...yet


After dinner I took the bus to Riverport to the Holiday Inn & Suites Richmond Riverport. And by that I mean I took the bus to the final stop and got lost looking for the hotel and was walking around for a good 10 minutes before spotting it.
This Holiday Inn is a little nicer than a typical Holiday Inn, though it's still a Holiday Inn, not the Four Seasons. It basically has what you need for a night's sleep with a basic breakfast the next morning-nothing too fancy, but definitely better than a Super 8 (never again). Overall it was a decent hotel to stay at-just note that the airport shuttle from the hotel only runs on the hour

Two queen beds all for myself


Typical bathroom stocked with Bed Bath & Beyond toiletries
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Old Dec 2, 15, 9:56 pm
  #3  
 
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looking forward to the rest of your report.
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Old Dec 2, 15, 10:36 pm
  #4  
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Originally Posted by steveman518 View Post
There's something about the turboprops that really makes it feel like you're flying, whether it be all the bumps, the sheer noise and vibrations, or looking out the window and seeing the blades spinning.

And by that I mean I took the bus to the final stop and got lost looking for the hotel and was walking around for a good 10 minutes before spotting it.
I last took a turboprop flight, I think from TPA-MIA, and I totally agree. Generally don't run into them too much here.

Also totally been there with the getting lost, even with Google Maps.

I'm interested to hear about the AC 77W experience because generally everything is negative, though a 3-4-3 setup is done on other airlines 777s and works OK.
krazykanuck is online now  
Old Dec 3, 15, 11:57 am
  #5  
 
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It's always nice to remember that people do fly in the back of the bus and still survive. You did survive right? I assume so, since you are writing this report.

Looking forward to seeing about HK.
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Old Dec 3, 15, 1:00 pm
  #6  
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Originally Posted by lazard View Post
looking forward to the rest of your report.
Thanks for reading

Originally Posted by krazykanuck View Post
I last took a turboprop flight, I think from TPA-MIA, and I totally agree. Generally don't run into them too much here.

Also totally been there with the getting lost, even with Google Maps.

I'm interested to hear about the AC 77W experience because generally everything is negative, though a 3-4-3 setup is done on other airlines 777s and works OK.
Unfortunately I don't have an international data package and the trip was too short to get a SIM, though I was happy that the hotel provided a smartphone for use. For the seat it wasn't necessarily the 3-4-3 that bothered me so much as was the seat itself (at least on the outbound)-the seat itself wasn't very comfortable and I found my back hurting after the flights

Originally Posted by farbster View Post
It's always nice to remember that people do fly in the back of the bus and still survive. You did survive right? I assume so, since you are writing this report.

Looking forward to seeing about HK.
haha yes I did survive on it both ways
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Old Dec 3, 15, 1:24 pm
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So, the day had come for the (in)famous ride. While perusing the AC forum, it seems that most of the 77W HD questions/experiences are either in J, W, or domestic Y, with relatively few long-haul non-preferred/non-bulkhead Y. So, after a quick bowl of rice krispies (breakfast #1), it was off to YVR using the hotel shuttle, and I had a nice chat with the Philippino driver about Cebu (I'd never been, but maybe some day).

YVR on a sunny morning


After a quick pass through security, it was off to the Plaza Premium Lounge to prepare for the flight. As GlobeTrekker35 pointed out in a TR, this lounge is adequate with decent food options, but it's not worth the pay-in fee.

The plane spotting isn't too good, as only a few gates with AC wide-bodies can be seen.


When I arrived around 8:30am, the lounge was very empty, and though it got more crowded as the morning went on, the lounge never felt too busy.





There was a station set up in the middle of the lounge where you could grab sandwiches, desserts, and coffee, along with a small spread.



At the end of the lounge there was a dining area with a more extensive food selection, and I grabbed a second breakfast of congee and yoghurt. The congee was at least passable, and there were pickled veggies as sides that you can add.







After a while I was feeling a bit peckish, so I opted for a third breakfast of a panini accompanied by fruit and a cappuccino. Perhaps the panini makes it a brunch?



I was about to leave the lounge for the gate until they did the switchover to lunch, so I grabbed a first lunch consisting of fishball noodle soup and siu mai from the dining area to go along with some tea. The siu mai wasn't very good, but the fish balls were decent.

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Old Dec 3, 15, 1:52 pm
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I have to think that this title will get edited ...
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Old Dec 3, 15, 2:18 pm
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I arrived at the gate just as boarding began, and my oh my, this plane holds a lot of people. As in, the line went way down the concourse



Unfortunately, since we were at the very last gate in the concourse, there wasn't any good plane spotting, but I did spot this at the gate (it's hard to read but it's an old old skyteam sign with both NW and CO on it):


Unfortunately this dude thought it would be great to stand in the front of the zones 3-5 line while he was in zone 4 and block everyone else from boarding


Eventually we're all onboard and...so it begins

AC 7
YVR-HKG
B77W (HD)
39G

We hear about the 10-across 777s a lot, but walking onto a plane and seeing it for the first time is a little disheartening, even with low expectations going into the flight. Keep in mind I'm about 5'7" (172cm) 145lbs (65kg), so a good bit smaller than many fliers out there. I has previously selected an aisle seat in the middle 4 seats to avoid having two people having to climb over me. That being said, I present the Y cabin



It's all so close together


Obligatory legroom shot


The first thing I noticed that displeased me was how there were only three "slots" of underseat storage for the middle four seats, such that they would have to be shared by the four passengers in a full row (whether it be their bags and/or their feet). I did like the IFE screen which was pretty high-res and similar to LH's system in their newer/refurbished planes. However, AC really really needs to update the content of their system, because Flashdance is in no way contemporary (I mean, 1983?), and there weren't really any good international movies in their selection (even UA's international selection is half-decent).


The tray table, on the other hand, is probably one of the smallest I've seen on an internationally-configured aircraft.


The load in Y on that Wednesday was probably around 95%, so I was extremely happy to have the seat next to me unoccupied. After boarding was completed we were soon on our way. And then there was this guy, who feels that rules are optional and don't apply to him (or his child)-reading the paper with the tray table down during taxi and takeoff, and letting his son stand on the seat during takeoff, landing, and taxi without a seatbelt (plus the child would yell the entire flight and he wouldn't do anything about it). There's always a few of them on a flight and they make the rest of us Asians look bad sometimes


After we reached cruising altitude the first meal service (lunch #2) began. Unfortunately I can only match Iluvdoco in the number of meals I eat, but only because they don't really feed us in Y. So, after the usual "chicken or beef" question, I went with the chicken with noodles with an asian-inspired corn salad and brownie.



Needless to say, this portion was tiny (the tray table was barely a foot long if even) and was just passable enough to stomach, but if I hadn't had the food in the lounge I would have been starving after this meal. Obviously AC is not going to win any awards on its Y "dining" anytime soon. After the meal was over the second problem became glaringly obvious: in order to put in more rows containing more seats, there are way to few lavatories to service all the Y passengers. The passenger:lav ratio on UA 777s is about 40:1 whereas the ratio on AC 77W HDs is about 60:1, which resulted in lines for the lavs about 4 deep the entire flight.

At the end of the meal service I got settled in the for the rest of the flight. The one thing I did like about the seat is that when you recline, the bottom of the seat pitches up a little bit to help prevent you from sliding off as easily. I was just able to close my eyes when the lady behind me rammed her knees into the back of my seat. If you're only 5' tall you shouldn't be needing to ram your knees into the seat in front of you. When she wasn't doing that she was stretching out her feet right under my arm rest.



...and when she wasn't doing either of those she was standing in the aisle hanging off my seat-back (and would pull hard on it every time she would get up or back down again). Needless to say I wasn't a happy camper and there wasn't a way she would stop-something about being old and needing her space, or at least that's what I could glean from her cantonese-accented mandarin. Also, I'm not sure whether it's because there were a lot of elderly passengers or just a bunch of accidents, but the call button bells kept going off all flight to the tune of a bell going off every few seconds. I know I accidentally set it off a few times since all the seat controls (including the call button) are built on top of the tiny armrests.

Cabin shots in flight:




After the meal service the FAs for the most past disappeared into the back galley to chat, with water runs becoming more sparse as the flight went on. On one trip to the galley to get some water, I noticed that the FAs were just ignoring all the call buttons and just turning them all off (perhaps they'd been through too many accidental calls or maybe they just didn't care-neither would surprise me).

About halfway through the flight the second meal service began (AC seems to do meal-meal-snack, whereas UA does meal-snack (BOB now?)-meal). It was still the chicken or beef option and I again went with chicken. At least the mains were different between the two meals, and this one was almost half-decent. Unfortunately there was no dessert, so I supplemented the meal with a Clif bar.



When the bread is too hard to cut with a plastic knife, drastic measures must be taken


Uhhh...AC you do know these films came out a while ago right? Also, you only fly to one destination in India...


I spent the rest of the flight working on my computer, and found that sitting in the seat became more uncomfortable. There was really no back support, and the headrest didn't really let me put my head back. I eventually had to sit straight up in the seat to keep my back from hurting, and I feel that back pain is my primary complaint about the seat (though the width would be a problem for anyone bigger than me).

About an hour before landing we were presented with a snack, consisting of a mystery chicken salad sandwich, the likes of which ironmanjt has nightmares about. I'm not exactly sure what the sauce is-somewhere between mustard and mayonnaise...



...at least the crackers were good

Soon we were descending into HKG, and in true Asian fashion, people began getting up while we were still taxiing (stop making me look bad guys...), including that kid I mentioned above standing on his seat. After eventually getting off the plane and through immigration, I bought a Airport Express Tourist Pass for 300 HKD, which includes a round-trip on the express and 3 days of unlimited usage on the MTR. How that we're in HK, let the eating begin!

So, overall the 77W HD sucked major, especially with how it did quite a number on my back. Food was bad, lavs were overcrowded, and I still dislike traveling around other Asian people (ok, mostly traveling with fellow Chinese people)

Last edited by steveman518; Dec 7, 15 at 5:33 pm
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Old Dec 3, 15, 2:52 pm
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There is no where I need to go that would put me in Y on this barge... but thanks for sharing.
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Old Dec 3, 15, 4:14 pm
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This is why I travel in Business/First...thanks for sharing
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Old Dec 4, 15, 4:27 am
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Sounds horrendous, in all respects. Thanks for sharing.
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Old Dec 4, 15, 4:46 am
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Slaveship? Really? Woe is you... What a distasteful choice of words.

Perhaps a bit of perspective would help. Must confess I won't be reading the report to find out if you have any.
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Old Dec 4, 15, 6:51 am
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Not something I am tempted to try to be honest. This looks really bad, even for longhaul Y. AC would not be my choice of airline if I ever had to do longhaul travel in Y.
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Old Dec 4, 15, 8:10 am
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Thank you for the report! Just confirms my desire to do anything possible to avoid 10 across 777!
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