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Covid Photo Trip Report: AC/LH YOW-YYZ-FRA-AMS in J/Y

Covid Photo Trip Report: AC/LH YOW-YYZ-FRA-AMS in J/Y

Old May 25, 20, 8:11 am
  #1  
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Covid Photo Trip Report: AC/LH YOW-YYZ-FRA-AMS in J/Y

Background: On March 12, 2020, I boarded an AC 787 in AMS bound for YYZ to begin what was supposed to be a one-week visit with my parents in YOW. By the time I touched down, borders started closing, flights were cancelled, and we entered the era of corona. Having postponed by return to AMS by over two months, I finally made the trip yesterday, flying a circuitous YOW-YYZ-FRA-AMS on AC and LH necessitated by schedule reductions. I don't usually write trip reports, but given the unique experience, I took a few photos I thought I'd share here. Apologies for the vertical orientation; these were all taken on my phone.

Leg 1: YOW-YYZ on AC 7713; operated by an Embraer ERJ-175; seated in J

Due to new entry requirements, I was unable to check in online with my Canadian passport. Figuring this had to do with needing to present my Dutch residency permit, I showed up at YOW bright and early. After clearing the document check, not having had breakfast or my morning coffee, and knowing that lounges were closed and no food would be offered onboard, I inquired whether any restaurants or cafés were open after security. The answer was no, so I bought some coffee and a croissant from the one open establishment pre-security, a Tim Horton's.

Security was down to a single line (no Nexus or business class line), which was no issue given the deserted airport.



After a temperature check at the gate, AC 7713 boarded and departed on time. The load on this E175 was very light; maybe 15% full. In response to covid, AC has eliminated meal service in all cabins on flights under 2 hours and reduced beverage service to bottled water only throughout its operations. And so, this 'CleanCare+' package was the extent of the onboard service. The bag consists of a small water bottle, a surgical mask, and a pair of gloves.



Leg 2: YYZ-FRA on AC 872; operated by a Boeing 777-300ER; seated in J

We landed ~15 minutes early at YYZ, leaving me with a 6-hour layover. AC's normal half-hourly / hourly 'Rapidair' service between YOW and YYZ has been reduced to 'up to 4' flights a day. I'm not sure when the other flights run, but there was no flight after this scheduled 11am arrival at YYZ that would have allowed me to make the 4:45pm departure of AC 872 to FRA. And so, I passed the next 6 hours in a deserted YYZ.









The entire international concourse had 2 restaurants open, serving the 4 flights of the day. I was quite surprised to see 2 departures to LHR so close to each other, but assumed that AC 7200 was rescheduled flight from a previous day's IRROPS.





The terminal was so devoid of human activity that nature has started taking over!



At 4pm, I was summoned to the gate for another document check. Apparently the check-in agent in YOW did not enter the correct information. Then we started boarding (no temperature check this time), and I snuck a shot of the cockpit after clearing it with the SD.



Given my luck, my assigned seat of 1A was deflated. Thankfully, with only 4 J passengers, I had 36 other seats to choose from and opted for 3A.









We pushed back on time only to learn of a mechanical issue. We returned to the gate, had maintenance come on to fixed whatever was broken, topped up on fuel, and ultimately departed 75 minutes behind schedule. This would make my connection in FRA tight.

After take-off, dinner was served. The aforementioned covid adjustments by AC meant no pre-departure drinks, no amenity kits, no pillows, no noise-cancelling headphones, no hot towels, no pre-meal nuts and beverages, no table cloth, no tableware, no beverages other than water, and no choice in dinner options. The SD specifically came by to apologize for the reduced service, which I appreciated even though it was not necessary.





And here was breakfast:



The biggest problem for me was the lack of coffee! It would have been nice to enjoy a hot cup with this gorgeous view:



We ended up arriving at 7:30am, but FRA has implemented a new social distancing procedure where deplaning is only allowed after bags have been offloaded. So it was another 10 minutes before we could deplane. The departure time of my next flight was 8:35am, with boarding at 8:05am. Although AC's FRA Concierge had already protected me on a later flight on KL, I really did not want to extend my stay in FRA (especially with all the lounges closed).

Leg 3: FRA-AMS on LH 988; operated by an Embraer ERJ-190; seated in Y

Once the aircraft door opened, I started the all-too-familiar race through the tangled mess that's FRA. Remarkably, even with so few people traveling, FRA managed to create a traffic jam at security. In the end, I made it to the gate of LH 988 just in time for the scheduled boarding time, but boarding did not commence for another 10 minutes. Boarding was completed in under 2 minutes as there were at most 10 passengers on this flight. Interestingly, LH only advises the wearing of masks whereas AC requires it. On the other hand, LH is still serving food on this ~50 minute flight (a massive cookie along with a bottle of water).

All in all, it was an interesting experience. Obviously, I would not recommend flying during these times if it can be avoided. Here's to hoping we can find a vaccine and return to normal before too long. Hope you enjoyed this write-up.

Last edited by capedreamer; May 26, 20 at 12:58 pm
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Old May 25, 20, 8:26 am
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Thanks for sharing, hopefully you arrive safe and healthy in AMS.
As I have expected, a disastrous onboard service in J class. Almost everything is reduced to nothing. The food served onboard is an audacity to what Premium service should be!

I truely support your opinon NOT TO TRAVEL DURING THE PANDEMIC AS LONG AS THEIR IS NO VACCINE.
I do not support airlines watering down the premium services and still cashing up the premium price for it!
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Old May 25, 20, 9:56 am
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Thanks for sharing that, very interesting experience indeed. I'm glad you got back to Amsterdam safely.
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Old May 25, 20, 10:51 am
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Is it safe to assume there is no hot food served on the flights now, even in J?
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Old May 25, 20, 11:01 am
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Thank you, @Redmax and @Symmetre!

Originally Posted by TheCanuckian View Post
Is it safe to assume there is no hot food served on the flights now, even in J?
Correct. Well that's the case for AC at least. Not sure about other carriers.
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Old May 25, 20, 11:08 am
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Glad you returned safely to AMS - also glad you could find places to eat at YYZ during that 6-hour layover

I assume that at YOW, you had to consume coffee etc from tim Horton’s BEFORE you entered security queue?
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Old May 25, 20, 11:13 am
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Originally Posted by gaobest View Post
Glad you returned safely to AMS - also glad you could find places to eat at YYZ during that 6-hour layover

I assume that at YOW, you had to consume coffee etc from tim Horton’s BEFORE you entered security queue?
Thanks and yes, that's right. I asked about taking the coffee past security but was promptly shut down.

Another reason to avoid flying these days if you can!
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Old May 25, 20, 12:04 pm
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No Signature Suite preflight meal before departure out of YYZ, another big cut from the normal J experience.
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Old May 25, 20, 12:07 pm
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Thank you for sharing a very informative and sobering trip report!
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Old May 25, 20, 12:18 pm
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Great report! Coincidentally, I also flew LHR to YYZ a day before you and returned last night too. Thought I'd spend only two weeks in Toronto, it ended up being two and half months! Feel very fortunate to be able to shelter at home in Canada while much of Europe suffered a far stricter lockdown. Regarding AC7200, that's a cargo only flight — it's interesting that they show up on the departure boards.

AC848 was a similar experience to yours, apparently 43 passengers onboard the 77W and 10 in J. I also had a deflated seat, hard as a bench. Fortunately had my pick of alternative seats like you did.
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Old May 25, 20, 12:21 pm
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Thank you for this very interesting trip report.

Well, this shows why it will take a very long, long time before international longhaul flying will pick up again.
Those big corporate spenders are not going to pay or fly in C if they receive a service like that. Business travel will only be done if it is not avoidable.
That means all big airlines with huge intercontinental fleets will be in trouble for the entire year 2020.
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Old May 25, 20, 12:53 pm
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Thanks. Great read in times when we can't travel.
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Old May 25, 20, 1:22 pm
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Thanks for sharing. I don't see traveling internationally this year, but if I do I certainly won't be paying for business class with such dramatically reduced services and amenities.
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Old May 25, 20, 2:56 pm
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Originally Posted by Redmax View Post
Thanks for sharing, hopefully you arrive safe and healthy in AMS.
As I have expected, a disastrous onboard service in J class. Almost everything is reduced to nothing. The food served onboard is an audacity to what Premium service should be!

I truely support your opinon NOT TO TRAVEL DURING THE PANDEMIC AS LONG AS THEIR IS NO VACCINE.
I do not support airlines watering down the premium services and still cashing up the premium price for it!
We understand you are cranky abut covid 19 and its restrictions but reading how grouchy its making you is very tedious on every covid travel post
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Old May 25, 20, 4:26 pm
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Originally Posted by warakorn View Post
Thank you for this very interesting trip report.

Well, this shows why it will take a very long, long time before international longhaul flying will pick up again.
Those big corporate spenders are not going to pay or fly in C if they receive a service like that. Business travel will only be done if it is not avoidable.
That means all big airlines with huge intercontinental fleets will be in trouble for the entire year 2020.
Indeed. While some of us will want to fly as soon as restrictions ease, few will pay for J before the re-opening of lounges and the restoration of J service. I am sure that AC know this, and will try to restore something as soon as possible, but that will depend in part on the FA union, etc.
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