This is a VERY long trip I took to Toronto (YYZ) from Singapore (SIN) in September. I was originally scheduled to fly on United to Tokyo and then onto Chicago and Toronto on American. Unfortunately my travel agent screwed up and on the day before my flight, I had to change my booking onto another airline. Got my new ticket and found out I’m traveling EVA airlines to Taipei and Vancouver and then to Toronto on Air Canada.
Date: 6 Sep 2000
Airline: EVA airlines (BR 286)
Aircraft: Boeing 767
SIN-TPE 4hrs 25 min
Rushed to Changi from work and got there 1-½ hours prior to departure. The line at the check in counter was almost non-existent and I was able to check in quickly. Got my 3 boarding passes and watched while the check-in guy put a tag on my luggage saying YTO. I asked him where YTO was cause my ticket said YYZ and the guy just shrugs and hits the button that takes my bag away. Upon further questioning he tells me that since my first point of entry into Canada is Vancouver and I gotta go through customs there, the bag will be taken off and I can try and sort out the mistake (or whatever) there. Since I saw YVR on the baggage tag as well I decided not to worry and hope for the best. I was hungry as hell and since some friends who had traveled EVA had not very good things to say about them decided to grab a donut before I boarded (just in case). The flight was at 6:55 pm and boarding commenced at about 6:30. The flight was boarded row by row and J class passengers could board at any time. Since my seat was in the front of economy I boarded last. At 7:10 we were still sitting around waiting for something to happen. Since I had a 40 minute connection time at TPE I was a bit worried about this delay but at 7:15 we pushed back and after a short taxi we were on the runway and airborne by 7:25. One thing I noticed about EVA at this point is that after the safety demonstration and just before the take off roll, all the F/A’s (only female by the way) stand at the front of the section they will be in charge of and bow to all the passengers. Nice touch I think.
I was in seat 12 C (I think), an aisle seat in the center section of the aircraft. The seating was a 2-3-2 configuration and since there was no one in the middle seat I could use the armrest without having to share with someone else. Seats were a bit cramped and the legroom was not great. No PTVs either but that was something I was prepared for. The flight was about 70% full so there were some empty seats at the back and after we took off I walked back and found 3 seats to myself and stretched out. After the seat belt sign went off the F/A’s rushed around with landing forms and hot towels and within minutes of this the beverage service started. Got me a Taiwanese beer (not too bad) and some bags of peanuts. Within the hour they started the dinner service. After all the stories I had heard I was pleasantly surprised to get a rather good chicken meal with a very interesting corn salad with some strange looking (but good) sesame dressing. There was wine for those who wanted it but I stuck to the beer, which by now had grown on me. Coffee and brandy topped off a nice dinner and then the IFE started. News in English followed by news in Chinese and then a movie. The movie was really bad so I just listened to the audio and stared into the blackness of the South Chine Sea. The F/A’s kept going around the aisles asking passengers if they needed anything and were always attentive and helpful when asked for something. My only complaint with this airline is that even though the FA’s do speak English, it is rather halting and it’s sometimes difficult to get yourself understood. Also I was not allowed to visit the cockpit but then they have their rules about things like that. Halfway through the flight the FA’s went around with glasses of juice and water and this was really good. Not a full beverage service but those of us awake appreciated it. An hour before landing they had the usual destination guide and after that we had one more round of juices and water before we started our descent. As I mentioned we had lost some time at Changi and I was hoping we would make it up in-flight but due to strong headwinds we landed in Chiang Kai Shek International with only 15 minutes to go for my next flight. Since it was on the same carrier the FA’s told me not to worry and sure enough there were ground staff to show passengers to their connections. Before I forget, the FA’s did another one of that ‘bowing to the passengers’ things after landing and this time everyone started clapping. According to someone I overheard this is quite common on EVA flights and passengers clap to show their appreciation for the service and quality of landing!?!
Date: 6 Sep 2000
Airline: EVA airlines (BR 10)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-400
TPE-YVR 10hrs 35 min
Ran all the way to the gate and made it with a few minutes to spare. As usual I was one of the last to board and this suited me fine. I was concerned about my bags making it to this flight but the ground staff (who’s English was a lot harder to understand than the FA’s) told me not to worry about it. I had seat 48 G, an aisle seat on the right side of the aircraft. These seats had a footrest coming off the seat in front but were still cramped as hell. I was not looking forward to being cramped up for the next 10 hours but at the same time was excited about my first flight over the Pacific. I noticed that on this aircraft as well, there were no PTV’s in economy but there were those 14-inch TV monitors hanging from the ceiling all over the place. In the absence of PTV’s I think this is a lot better than one large giant screen up front cause whenever someone walks past, your view is obstructed. This flight was full and after a 10-minute (12:10 am) delay we were rolling towards the runway. Safety-demo, bow to passengers, take-off (quite a long run as we had a full flight), seats belt sign off, hand out landing forms………..At this point the FA’s went round the cabin requesting the passengers to close the windows (not sure why. must be some sort of regulation for night flights) By this time I had made friends with the guy sitting next to me and found out he too had acquired a taste for Taiwanese beer (on his flight from Kuala Lumpur) and before you know it the guy has called the F/A and asked for 2 beers for now and then keep them coming. To my surprise the FA didn’t bat an eyelid and was off to get our beers. The beverage service was accompanied by the dinner service this time and dinner was a choice of curried spicy chicken with rice or black pepper beef. I had the chicken first and since I was so hungry as my last meal had not really filled me up I asked if there were any extras on board. The FA said no problem and I got the beef this time (apparently a lot of people had refused meals cause this flight took off just after midnight and they wanted to sleep). After a highly satisfying and surprisingly delicious dinner I lay back to enjoy the beer buzz I had going and to watch the movie. This time it was a better movie. I think it was Keeping the Faith but I fell asleep about halfway through. Woke up after 3 hours when the FA’s were doing the first (of many) juice rounds. The next movie had just come on. It was Frequency and this time I stayed awake through the whole movie. Nothing to report about the rest of the night (or was it afternoon, cause we had bright sunlight outside) I must say that the FA’s never rest on EVA. They keep walking around asking passengers if they need anything and about 6 or 7 hours into the flight they started serving cup noodles to those passengers who were awake. They showed another movie at this point but it was in Chinese so I just went back to sleep. 2 hours prior to arrival breakfast was served. This was a choice of Fish noodles or porridge both of which I hate and so I had to survive on the roll and some fruit. I wasn’t very hungry though so I didn’t mind. After clearing of the meals, screening the destination guide and some very welcome hot towels we began our descent. A very smooth landing and a loud round of applause from the passengers for the service and silky-smooth touch down.
Date: 6 Sep 2000
Airline: Air Canada (AC 156)
Aircraft: Boeing 767
YVR-YYZ 4hrs 30 min
I was ecstatic to see my bags again in YVR and after going through customs walked to the domestic terminal. At check in I was told that YTO did not exist and had my luggage tags changed (phew!) Got some coffee and went to the gate to wait for the flight. Flight was scheduled for 10:40 pm and boarding started at 10:20. Again I was seated at the front of economy but this time in a window seat. Push back on time and take off shortly after. I noticed that this aircraft had no PTV’s even in business class. I have never traveled on Air Canada and I took this to be a sign of things to come. For Air Canada fans I have to state now that I was very unhappy with the service. No hot towels or anything of the kind. A beverage service was offered with NO BOOZE. This I found strange cause this is the first time I have been on a flight where alcohol has to be paid for (I have traveled a fair bit, but never on an internal flight). Dinner was served shortly and I don’t remember being offered a choice. It was just put in front of me. Well anyway it was cold roast beef and I can’t complain about the quality of the meal. After dinner I was a bit thirsty and when I pressed the bell for the F/A no one came for at least 15 minutes. I had to go to the galley to get myself a drink and I noticed that this happened to a few people. The next time I tried this, also with the same results and from then didn’t bother pressing he button. Just walked to the galley and asked for it myself. I believe this lack of service may have something to do with AC’s recent takeover of Canadian and since they are the monopoly are taking advantage of the passenger’s lack of choice (I could be wrong, this may have just been one bad flight. I have been told by a few friends that AC has always been good to them). The IFE consisted of CBC news, the movie Keeping The Faith (again) and some sit-com that I can’t remember. Nothing much else to report except when we reached the Toronto area it was 5:30 in the morning and since aircraft are not allowed to land before 6 we were put in a holding pattern for 20 minutes. It was quite cool looking at 12 aircraft going around in a huge circle. Landed at 6:00 am as we were first in line and was out of the terminal by 6:45.
I must say that EVA impressed me a lot more than Air Canada. This may be because I went onto the EVA flight expecting a lot less and on the AC flight a lot more. Overall a very nice experience and if you guys like this report I’ll post a report of the return journey. Any feedback on the trip report would be welcome since this is my first.