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In Search of Aurora and Glacier AC Y, DL Y+ & F, WS Y

In Search of Aurora and Glacier AC Y, DL Y+ & F, WS Y

Old Sep 5, 16, 9:55 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: HKG; LHR
Programs: BA GOLD
Posts: 74
In Search of Aurora and Glacier AC Y, DL Y+ & F, WS Y

Hello all travellers,

My next trip report covers my short summer travels to Toronto, Yellowknife and Alaska! This trip is put together in different pieces, so the ways I fly may not always make sense - but hey, flying is half the fun, even in economy (or "slave class", as I call the economy cabin on Air Canada).

Anyways, I flew over 20,000 miles and spent a substantial time in air flying, so I find it fitting to share with you my trip on this forum.

Here's a little introduction:
My parents always wanted to go see the Northern Lights and they have been to Iceland to try there. They did not succeed and my sister was bitterly disappointed as well (I was not on the Iceland trip sadly!) So when my mother stumbled upon an article saying that you can see the Northern Lights in Yellowknife in late summer, we knew it was the place to be for summer. It turns out to work out quite well: because I have an internship at UNESCO until the end of July and my sister has a course to attend until about the same time. So we decided that last two weeks of August would be our travel dates.

Then Air Canada had a promotion, with tickets to Toronto and Vancouver at US$900 each all-in. As you will all concur, this is not a good deal in any sense, but ex-HKG is notoriously expensive and it is peak season, and it was cheaper than CX, so we took the offer.

--Dubious food

Then, we put in the WestJet segments to Yellowknife and the hotel bookings. I was always going to stay behind for a few days to venture around. I did a little research and found a decent Delta fare to Alaska, with three out of four segments upgraded after status matching to Delta's Gold Medallion.

In Alaska, I went on a local tour kayaking on an iceberg lake to reach Spencer Glacier where I hiked on it. It was surreal and one of the most incredible things I have ever done.

So, 12 days, 20,000 miles, a wonderful journey. This trip report is rather long, so please bear with me.

As with my previous reports, I will attach below links to my blog, and then write up the report also here in the posts that follow.
  • Introduction
  • Slave Class to Toronto [#2]
  • Sightseeing in Toronto [#8]
  • One of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Niagara Falls
  • WestJet Take One: Toronto to Yellowknife via Edmonton
  • Spirits Dancing on the Lonely Planet: Aurora Hunting
  • Subarctic hiking and fishing
  • WestJet Take Two: Yellowknife to Calgary
  • A First in Delta: First Class to Seattle
  • Alaska with Delta’s Comfort Plus
  • Spencer Glacier Sea Kayak and Hike via the Alaska Rail Road
  • Anchorage in the rain
  • Redeye in Domestic First: Anchorage to Vancouver via Seattle
  • Home with Air Canada: not dead yet!

Previous Report:
South Australia 2016: Kangaroo Island, Limestone Coast and Wine, CX Y/J

Last edited by Herman Lam; Sep 16, 16 at 10:06 am
Herman Lam is offline  
Old Sep 6, 16, 1:30 am
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Location: HKG; LHR
Programs: BA GOLD
Posts: 74
Slave Class to Toronto

Link to more detailed review (including lounge) in my blog here

Since both my sister and I have never been to Toronto before (we went to Vancouver 9 years ago, in 2007), so our first stop was Toronto. We got tickets on the daily direct on AC, which was our second choice. We wanted CX at first, of course, because they run the 9-abreast 77Ws on the route, instead of the 10-abreast 77Ls AC uses.

But AC it is. Not the worst in the world to be honest.

We arrived HKG 3 hours prior to departure, but the AC counters are only open 2 hours 20 minutes before departure. So a good 30 minutes wait for us.

Long queues were beginning to form as the counters opened. Maybe AC should consider opening their counters a little earlier than 2 h 20 mins before departure.

I used the SilverKris Lounge of Singapore Airlines, though AC recommended either United or Thai. It was excellent as usual.

I did a little wine tasting. The wine offered in the bar was actually decent!

IMG_3255 by Herman Lam, on Flickr

Boarding was soon called. Gate 49 today - one of the furthest gates in the main concourse.

AC boards by zones. Zone 1 for J passengers, Zone 2 for *G and PEY passengers, Zones 3-5 are for general boarding.

"Slave Class!"

Really restricted legroom even at bulkhead

One good thing on AC is that you will be well-fed with passable food and a lot of drinks will be served until you drop

G&T to start

Meal no. 1 with white wine. Wine was good, the meal so so

After dinner drinks

Meal no. 2 over Alaska

Meal no. 3

Wrong safety cards loaded on the flight...

My PTV screen for half the flight

Nearly there...

Passable quality but good amount of food. Crew was friendly and warm.
Seat comfort was a major issue. It felt really narrow and even in bulkhead, I couldn't get out easily. IFE was not working for half the time, which makes the 16-hour flight seemed even longer.
Herman Lam is offline  
Old Sep 6, 16, 1:44 am
Join Date: Dec 2001
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Their planes are old and the food looks awful.
Bretteee is offline  
Old Sep 6, 16, 1:48 am
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Dare I ask what meal #3 is/should be?
nequine is offline  
Old Sep 7, 16, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by nequine View Post
Dare I ask what meal #3 is/should be?

I also tried to fathom it out.
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Old Sep 7, 16, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post

I also tried to fathom it out.
DanielW is offline  
Old Sep 8, 16, 11:49 am
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Originally Posted by DanielW View Post
Thanks DanielW, I should have figured it out, but I still won't rush out to order it.
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Old Sep 16, 16, 10:05 am
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Sightseeing in Toronto

Link to full post and lots of pictures

We spent two days in Toronto: it was my first time so was it my sister's first; my parents visited twenty years ago in the winter - so Toronto in the summer was new for everyone in the party. We had a packed itinerary as we tried to cover all of Toronto's must-dos.

Casa Loma was first:

A wonderfully-built castle in Gothic Revival style... it features lots of rooms, and my favourite is the conservatory:

Other rooms

We then headed to the Royal Ontario Museum - my favourite attraction. Its exhibitions cover much depth, which was surprising. And there was a good exploration on gender ambiguity and sexuality in Edo Japan - directly posing challenges to the dichotomy we know of: male and female.

Equally amazing was the dinosaurs:

Toronto Islands offer good view of the city - and a good place for relaxation

Last but not least would be the aquarium and the CN Tower:

And the Toronto City Airport as seen from the Tower:
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