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Joined: Thu Jun 01, 2000 11:50 pm

Air Canada To Tokyo - Trip Report

Mon Aug 21, 2000 3:20 am

I just got back from Tokyo on Air Canada's Airbus A340 (Flight 001/002). This was a first for me on AC and the A340. A few observations:

The A340 really does have a loooong take-off roll. On both the Toronto-Tokyo and Tokyo-Toronto legs the flight was only half full but we must have used the entire length of the runaway to get airborn. Of course, the aircraft must have been fully loaded with fuel for the 14 hour trip, but I've flown 747-400s that used less runaway and took off with greater power and a steeper climb. Which brings me to another observation: the A340's ascent appeared to be gradual and gentle - almost like a Constellation ! I felt none of the usual light G-forces upon take-off that I've felt when on a 744 or a 757, or even an Airbus A320.

In any case, the A340 is a remarkably quiet aircraft. Strangely enough, it does not appear to be unusually large when you're inside the cabin. Also, it appeared to be dwarfed even by the JAL MD-11s parked on either side of it at Narita (although the MD-11 is shorter than the A340 by 9 feet or so). I smiled wryly when I heard a fellow passenger point to the A340 and ask his companion complainingly as to why "we were flying a small plane." I guess in comparison to all the 747-400s parked at Narita, the A340 does look smaller, but this is still after all the second longest widebody in the world !

In any case, Air Canada's service in coach is fairly good. Seat pitch isn't that great especially if you're over 6ft tall, but it's still better than most US carriers. They really do need to install PTVs in coach especially for a flight like YYZ-NRT. The food aint bad, although it could be better. Food's a lot better on SQ or Virgin. The flight crew were friendly, efficient and eager to help. I'd fly Air Canada again.
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