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AC Milk Run YYZ-YVR on 77L in J

AC Milk Run YYZ-YVR on 77L in J

Old Jul 15, 09, 2:06 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: YVR, HKG
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Updated: AC Milk Run YYZ-YVR on 77L in J and YVR-YYZ on 333 in J.

Edit: I've added my return flight on an A330-343X in J. Please find it at the bottom of page 2.

Hi everyone!

I'm going to write my first trip report, and what better flight to write about than AC033's first sector, YYZ-YVR. I've flown this particular flight number four times, but this is the first time that I've had the opportunity to use a NAU cert and try AC's J product on a wide-body A/C.

This TR will probably be useful for those who usually fly Y and are thinking of upgrading versus those who fly F/C/J often (I just don't have the wealth of knowledge about the front cabins!). I've flown as a AC*E since January on about 15 segments so far (all in Y), but this is my first time in AC J.

I also want to get some feedback on writing TR's since I have a couple more interesting flights planned for this year, including YYZ-YVR-HKG-ICN-KIX-HND/NRT-YVR-YYZ, with two segments on OZ (C) and one on NH (Y), the rest on AC (Y, hopefully upgraded to J!).

Flight Details

Flight/Route: AC033 YYZ-YVR
Date: July 6, 2009
A/C: Boeing 777-233/LR
Reg/Fin: C-FIUA #701
Del.: June 25, 2007
Depart: 2030 scheduled, 2035 actual
Arrive: 2221 scheduled, 2225 actual
Service Director: ? I couldn't catch her name but the J F/As were mostly YUL based, with one YVR based thrown in.

Check In at YYZ T1

Check-in for this late-evening flight from YYZ Terminal 1 was fast and easy. Walked over to the dedicated AC*G/Executive First check-in desks and was helped right away. The agent properly put *A "PRIORITY" tags on my bags (it's hit and miss with some agents at YVR Domestic, especially for early AM departures) and stuck my luggage tags not on the BP but a dedicated sheet of AC stock that said "place luggage tags here". I wonder if they could save some money, but it did look nice. The agent also asked me if I had a specific seat preference for the 77L aircraft. I had pre-selected a window seat in the forward cabin so I told her that I was happy with 3K.


Empty check in desks, note the massive line up at the Y desks.

YYZ Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge


AC's flagship 77W welcomes you to the MLL.

After the slowest elevator ride of my life, I'm in the domestic MLL. This is my fourth or so time at this particular lounge. Food options are still soup, salad, chips, crackers, bread, olives, and cookies. I skip them all in favour of water and wine. I'm impressed with how often the service ladies come around to clean up tables.


I wish there was a better view of the apron and aircraft!


Comfortable seats


White wine choice. There are two self-serve bars with a decent selection of liquors.


Good read.


Food service area kept clean.


Showers if you want, BMW room if you like.


I like the BMW M-spec wheel "coffee tables"


There are four or so kinds of chairs to enjoy in the MLL, to suit your preference!


EK 380 in the distance.

Boarding


C-FIUA is pulled to our gate, 139.


Towbar-less tug!


Service vehicles at the gate. I love the perfect circular cross-section of the 777s.

Scheduled boarding time was 1955, and we started right on time. Because AC033 continues on to SYD after YVR, there was a complicated-sounding announcement that confused some passengers at the boarding desk. For passengers flying on the YYZ-YVR leg, you could use any government ID to board. For those on the full YYZ-YVR-SYD flight, you must use a passport. While passengers who were waiting to board cause a bit of congestion around the boarding area, I slipped through the priority lane and was the first one down the gate!


Door 2L on this beautiful 77L.

AC only used one door to board this large aircraft, so I guessed that's why we had started boarding 35 minutes before our scheduled departure. From the above photo you can see that there were still service staff on board. Apparently, the gate agents forgot/missed informing the crew that boarding was about to begin. When I arrived at the door, the service director had a shocked look, and torpedoed over to the nearest phone to let everyone know, en francais, that boarding had started! "Mr. AC340-541, welcome aboard! Through to the far aisle and to your left!" was her greeting to me.

Last edited by AC340-541; Jul 31, 09 at 10:15 pm
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Old Jul 15, 09, 2:08 pm
  #2  
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My seat, 3K


Herring-bone layout, pod-style.


Forward J cabin


Foot rest, "not a seat"


Rows are staggered in the forward cabin, with the middle pair of seats being one row higher than the corresponding window seats (4G and 3K are next to each other).


AVOD screen stowed.


Seat controls. Unfortunately, the buttons were quite sticky from a prior customer's dirty fingers...


12-inch screen deployed.

Overall, my impression of AC's J-pod seats was very favourable. Colour scheme, layout, and ergonomics are very nice. My first time in and the only trouble I had was looking out the window (the window seats are turned about 35 degrees towards the centre of the aircraft).

Seat controls were easy to manipulate. Ample lighting and two fresh air vents at the seat. Pillow, blanket, headphone covers were all at the seat already.

There is extra padding on the seat belt, which I found out later to be an airbag? Interesting.

Service


Pre-flight drink service was either orange juice or water for this domestic flight.


Lights dimmed for the safety demonstration. It did not work properly and the FA's performed a manual demo.


Window in the lavatory. Nice touch on the 777s.


Fruits and Passion products.


Drink service started promptly after the seatbelt sign came off.


Gin and tonic, with nuts. Served Bombay Sapphire this time around.


The neck of the glass used was perhaps a bit narrow to enjoy drinks with ice, but nevertheless it was a very beautiful glass.


Appetizer came pre-plated.


Bocconcini and tomato, with cucumber, frisee, and marinated zucchini.


A nice portion size, but chilled too much for any real flavour to come through. Cheese texture was a bit too hard also, as a result. Didn't notice the small packet of salt and pepper until later.


Don't remember exactly which wine this was, but I believe it was an Italian Cortese?


Warmed herb roll. It became quite hard as it cooled.


Frequent drink service was a plus. Unfortunately one FA didn't ask which white I had before she topped my glass up.
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Old Jul 15, 09, 2:09 pm
  #3  
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Salmon with a mixed vegetable medley.


Comparable to the press photo on the website! (AC.com)


Quite flavourful, vegetables were not overcooked, so I was quite pleased with this entree.

In-flight photos

I love these... here are a few from my flight!


Flying west... nice reflection on the GE-90's!


Canadian terrain...


You can see the reflection of the blue seat lights in the window.


All-Canadian route today.

Service, Part 2


The fully-flat seat is great...


Pre-landing snack. Ice cream mousse (vanilla) and hot tea. A great treat to have at 38,000 feet!


A freshly-baked chocolate chip cookie. Crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside... and still very warm! Excuse the poor photo quality!


The ambient lighting goes into "sunrise" mode to wake everyone up.

Service Summary

Overall, I found the FA's to be adequate. No one was naturally cheerful or overly talkative. There was no special recognition of status passengers, not even when taking orders for the entree. I wasn't blown away by the service, but it was a great step up from Y...

One thing that did make my flight even more memorable was that the First Officer walked through the J cabins to smile and say hi to the passengers. I asked him if I could see the flight deck and he said that would be possible only after the engines were shut down at arrival... what a nice way to end my flight!

Arrival

We landed on 26R, and had a quick taxi to C52. I waited in the forward galley while everyone walked back towards the 2L door. While waiting, I took a sneak peek at the crew rest area on the 77L, which is immediately aft of the cockpit.


Up the steps is a little rest area for crew!


I made it this far before being called down by the FO.


My best shot of the flight deck... if only I could ride jump seat!

A few thoughts on YVR


The renovated/expanded C-Pier looks good!

On each occasion that I've flown AC033 into YVR, I've found that the luggage takes an inordinate amount of time to arrive at the carousel. Tonight was no exception, as 20 minutes passed before the first bags arrived... Does this have to do with the fact that a significant portion of bags are continuing in SYD? Or are the baggage facilities at YVR Domestic outdated/insufficient to handle the loads of a 777? Anyways, a minor irritation to deal with, even with Priority tags.

Conclusion

Thanks for taking the time to read my TR on this very common flight... I enjoyed my first experience onboard AC's J and as a result have booked two more YVR/YYZ flights coming up in J also...

Any suggestions are welcomed and feedback encouraged!
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Old Jul 15, 09, 2:16 pm
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Great trip report and pictures. I'm impressed with the level of service AC offers on this domestic run. This looks miles ahead of what most US airlines offer domestically including United PS. I'll have to make it a point to snag a segment on another AC 777 and try to catch this flight when connecting out of YVR. I love their C product but have only flown it once.
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Old Jul 15, 09, 2:28 pm
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Excellent trip report - the photos look great. AC has an outstanding product for a domestic flight - I would gladly get right back on board and fly down to SYD!
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Old Jul 15, 09, 5:59 pm
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Really nice selection of photos, especially the ones taken on board.

Originally Posted by bschaff1 View Post
I'm impressed with the level of service AC offers on this domestic run. This looks miles ahead of what most US airlines offer domestically including United PS.
The product is very good, but it's typically only on YVR-YYZ/YUL and YYZ/YUL-YVR that you get the pod seats and the extent of cabin service shown.
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Old Jul 15, 09, 8:15 pm
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Excellent trip report..Great pics as well.. Thanks for sharing....
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Old Jul 15, 09, 11:01 pm
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Originally Posted by RTW4 View Post
Excellent trip report..Great pics as well.. Thanks for sharing....
I agree. What is an excellent trip reports! I'm glad that he flown on operate 77L aircraft. I am never been flown on 77L before. I have been done it before for 3 times where I flew on 77E aircraft. I'm sure he will have more opportunity to take a best photos shot inside the cabin view and entire concourse, too. I noticing that he sneaks into the crew rest behind the cockpit. I remember one of my F/A ask me not go inside the crew rest in the economy class. I am trying to get peek inside. She told me that I am not allowed to get inside the crew rest. I knew where the crew rest in middle section of Y class.

PS. You saw EK A380 is in YYZ?
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Old Jul 16, 09, 12:06 am
  #9  
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It seems that AC has enhanced the presentation of their meals on domestic flights--it's nice not to see the plastic salad bowls in J. I hope the presentation is not just for the 777 and other internationally configured aircraft.

Great report and picts!
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Old Jul 16, 09, 1:17 am
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Originally Posted by bschaff1 View Post
Great trip report and pictures. I'm impressed with the level of service AC offers on this domestic run. This looks miles ahead of what most US airlines offer domestically including United PS. I'll have to make it a point to snag a segment on another AC 777 and try to catch this flight when connecting out of YVR. I love their C product but have only flown it once.
Miles ahead include ps ? What is different from ps other than the seat ? Look carefully there is not even table cloth or cloth on the tray !

I think you should also remember AC often swap out widebodies to narrowbodies on this route for some reason. I have booked several times specific operate on 77W and 333, it end up with 321 both times. They just made up a reason because J and Y loads are low, so they are going to use a small aircraft, connecting pax stay, other pax move to the next flight.

Last edited by ORDnHKG; Jul 16, 09 at 1:29 am
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Old Jul 17, 09, 1:48 am
  #11  
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Thanks for all the great feedback, everyone!

I'm booked on seven more (at this time) YVR/YYZ segments from now until November, with at least three of those in J. I've chosen my flights carefully and have only widebodies booked so far. My three J trips will be in 77L, 333, and 763, so if nothing changes (hopefully) I will be able to gauge the differences between AC's widebody fleet while doing this wonderful and exciting (sarcastic) route.

ORDnHKG:

I've been on AC033 a few times and yes, one time it was a 321 instead of the 77L, but that was known to me when I booked my flight, so for me it wasn't an "at-the-gate" switch.

AC doesn't have that many 777 or 333 aircraft, and I'm thinking they do a lot of repositioning between YVR and YYZ, so sometimes I guess they are subbed in or out for operations reasons? However, poor loads or not, if the 77L that is scheduled for YVR-SYD is sitting on the tarmac at YYZ, they're going to have to fly that plane over, right? :-)

This is one reason why I like flying AC between YVR and YYZ: you get to fly their entire fleet, even the E-190/175 and CRJ-705 if you connect through YEG/YYC!
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Old Jul 17, 09, 3:05 pm
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Originally Posted by AC340-541 View Post
However, poor loads or not, if the 77L that is scheduled for YVR-SYD is sitting on the tarmac at YYZ, they're going to have to fly that plane over, right? :-)
I think they can leave that plane at YVR, doesn't need to do YVR-YYZ and back. That was my case 333 is suppose to do YVR-YYZ-LHR, the 333 just stayed at YYZ, didnot even fly to YVR. I asked them the reason, they just said because the loads were low.
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Old Jul 17, 09, 4:26 pm
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Thanks for the TR and pics!
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Old Jul 17, 09, 5:27 pm
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
I think they can leave that plane at YVR, doesn't need to do YVR-YYZ and back. That was my case 333 is suppose to do YVR-YYZ-LHR, the 333 just stayed at YYZ, didnot even fly to YVR. I asked them the reason, they just said because the loads were low.
A widebody aircraft that is on YYZ-YVR is due to an international mission almost all the time. We do our 333 overnight maintenance in YVR so they are flowed out there each night.

How many times have swaps happened to you? The number of times AC033 has been swapped from 77L, I can count them in one hand and I have fingers leftover. (Unless it was preplanned and YVRSYD wasn't operating)
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Old Jul 17, 09, 5:29 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by ORDnHKG View Post
Miles ahead include ps ? What is different from ps other than the seat ? Look carefully there is not even table cloth or cloth on the tray !
Individual suites vs non individual suites in J, that to me is already miles ahead.

I think you should also remember AC often swap out widebodies to narrowbodies on this route for some reason. I have booked several times specific operate on 77W and 333, it end up with 321 both times. They just made up a reason because J and Y loads are low, so they are going to use a small aircraft, connecting pax stay, other pax move to the next flight.
Who made up a reason that loads are low? 77W and 333 are International aircrafts so if we need it elsewhere for operational reasons, obviously we will take it from a domestic flight first if needed. This doesn't happen very often so 2 times hardly qualifies as 'often'.
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