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SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:42 pm

Monday 27th June 2004
Flight No: 5G271
Route: LGW-YYZ
Equipment: Boeing 757-236/ER

Thought I would write my first trip report on my bargain flight to Toronto, which I paid £169 for return including tax. (Not bad if I say so myself for travelling in the peak of the summer season!)

I had a week booked off work and ideally wanted to go to NYC but no such bargains were available. So I saw an advertisement in the London Evening Standard for flights to Canada at this bargain price with, I was a little sceptical at first but it paid off!

The 27th June arrived... Left home at 6am from Northamptonshire and brave the morning rush hour on the M25 around Heathrow, parked at an off site car park (APH). Arrived at Gatwick about 9.20am and there had been some incident at the set down point and the airport parking bus took nearly 20mins to crawl around to drop us off.

Got to check-in to find four desks allocated for this flight, which I was very impressed with and was checked in within three mins. This raised my hopes that we maybe travelling on something larger than a 757, but was soon de-flated when they confirmed seating was six across, but they gave me a window seat!

Spent the next two hours killing some time with a McDonalds and went up to the viewing deck in the departure lounge near the sports bar and saw a couple of US flights take off and then wandered down to the gate. The amount of people waiting for the flight made it obvious it was packed!

Boarding was pretty painless, and upon entering the aircraft was very impressed with leg room and the neat looking blue leather seats. When I got to my seat I found out I was in 23E, right behind the middle toilets and the seat didn't recline much more than inch or two. I also had children sitting next to me for the flight AGHHHHH!!! Nothing more than having screaming kids for an 8hr flight but they were fine for the full duration.

Take Off or Push Back was supposed to be at 11.55am but upon all the passengers boarding with there hand luggage there was no room to store the cabin crews overnight luggage, as this waiting to be loaded by the entrance of the aircraft on the airbridge. So we had to wait for this to be loaded into the hold.

Push back finally took place at 12.20pm and was fourth in position for take off, behind a US Airways A330, Continental 777 and British Airways 777. We were airborne about 12.30pm, and took off on 26L.

As we took off, I could not feel power as we accelerated of been forced back in your seat as I have felt on other 757 trips, and seem to use most of the runway to get airborne.

After take off we did a sharp 180-degree turn to the Right over the airport and then 90 degree turn to the left. As we was climbing northwards a break in the clouds appeared and had some spectacular views over Central London and Thames.

About ten minutes later the pilot came over the tanoy to advise of our route and explained we had just passed over Manchester, and would be turning westerly over the Atlantic to begin our "Trans-Oceanic" journey just south of Glasgow. We was travelling at 32000ft and a speed of 534mph, also apologised about the delay and the computer advised him we should still be landing into YYZ on time and the total journey length was likely to be 7hrs 22mins.

Cabin Crew came around with complimentary soft drinks and alcoholic drinks were £2, so I opted for a JD and Coke! The IFE entertainment began on the overhead screens and the films were extremely second rate (in my humble opinion), and then after that they showed black and white TV programs - Little on Girl on the Prairie! You could buy headsets for £2 or plug in your own, which is what I did.

The meal came around and was of an extremely high quality, there was only one choice and this was meat balls with pasta, Salad, Chocolate Éclair and Crackers with Cheese. They came around offering free wine with the meal and tea and coffee.

After the meal the Pilot came on again advising we was flying over the southern tip of Greenland and would soon be making landfall into Canadian airspace over Newfoundland.

By this time I was getting very restless and sick and tired of people queering around my seat for the toilets at some points there was ten people queuing. Made it extremely difficult to get up and walk around and also to top things off the people next to me were asleep and would have to wake them up for me to move!

I listened to my CD Player and soon came around with some drinks and them "Afternoon Tea", which included Scone, Clotted Cream and Jam!

The pilot came on again to advise we coming over Montreal and about 1.5hrs away and he would begin the decent once over Ottawa and then explained they would soon be getting very busy in the Cockpit and thanked us for flying with Skyservice.

I enquired if I could purchase some duty free and was told due to the configuration on the aircraft they were unable to offer it (I think that means lack of space!).

About 40mins before landing we were asked to prepare for landing and the usual procedures, which I thought, seemed very early, considering most flights I have been on have usually been about 15mins before landing. Landing was pretty normal and some views over Lake Ontario and Toronto as we landed.

As I have wrote so much, will not report on the return journey. But very similar and exactly the same 757 on the route.

On the whole was very impressed with SkyService and the service they offer. Legroom was very good, cabin crew very professional and meals and in-flight service was excellent.

If I had a choice I would not fly on a 757 again on such a long route the single aisle makes it very difficult to move about and gives a feeling of claustrophobia. Much prefer the A330's I have flown on before on this sort of length of route.

Below pic of aircraft operating this route, looks like SkyService wasted no money putting the livery on this aircraft!

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[Edited 2004-07-04 15:13:58]
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:02 pm

Great report!

Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:04 pm

Excellent report!  Smile
Topic Author
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Sun Jul 04, 2004 10:47 pm

To by shock on the return flight on Friday night I saw a TCX 752 flying from YYZ to BHX via EDI.

I didn't know there was British charters flying to YYZ and there was also MyTravel flight to BFS later that evening. Why would charter companies be flying to YYZ as I have never seen Toronto advertised in UK holiday brochures.

Also would the TCX 752 been configurated in the usual 28 inch seat pitch used on the short haul flights they usually operate this equipment on within Europe?
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Sun Jul 04, 2004 11:32 pm

the thomas cook aircraft runs from GLA to YYZ for canadian affair, it is configured with 187 seats, 35" seat pitch and offers leather seats and top quality entertainment. There is only one thomas cook plane in the fleet with ETOPS and that is the one you will have seen. (excluding A330)

But saying that, if you travel on the A330 from MAN or LGW you still get the standard 30", so id prefer to travel that little bit further to GLA just to get the extra seat pitch.
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Sun Jul 04, 2004 11:52 pm

great first report!!!!!!!

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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 1:46 am

Great first report, thanks.

Just to clarify for gilesdavies and topjet330:

Thomas Cook have 2 757 ETOPS aircraft G-FCLJ & G-FCLK configured with 187 leather seats with 35" seat pitch and a larger recline and all seats recline the same.

A free bottle of water is seat loaded for each passenger but all other drinks are chargeable, as are headsets.

The routes are operated on behalf of Canadian Affairs, the largest UK specialist to Canada, and we currently fly:


Thomas Cook also operate a year round schedule flight from:
LGW-YYC-YVR A330 45J 309Y

MAN-YYC-YVR (Summer only)A330 45J 309Y

Standard seat pitch on all our fleet is 30".

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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 2:51 am

JMC you woudnt happen to know what type of tv screens are on row 1 of the premium cabin on a A330. As i cannot conact you in any other way.

Sorry for taking the post.

I think the trip report was exellent. Skyservice arnt a bad airline, some of the A320's are based in the UK at the moment operating for MYT.
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 4:21 am

The SkyService route I flew on boasted a 33inch seat pitch with Leather seating throughout and used the usual overhead screens for the IFE. Can hold 213 passengers.

The service I received I personally think was better than scheduled carriers as received free wine with the meal and unlike the TCX flights operating to YYZ you received free soft drinks throughout the flight and could go to the galley at the back and would provide you with another drink. If you asked they would not hesitate to give you the full can!

Anyone have info on the 757 I flew on, I assume it is leased as it is all white other than the red writing on the side. (Is it owned by a UK charter company like the 757's SkyService lease in the winter?) These flights are primarily operated on a charter for Canadian holiday makers travelling to the UK called Sunwings.

Why cant more long haul charter flights operated by UK companies operate to this level. I don'y personally think it is down to cost and Canadian Affair offering flights to YYZ from the UK for £89 including tax each way too.
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 4:54 am

it could have been the first choice leased aircraft you went on, there is a picture of it in the very first post at the bottom
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 4:55 am


Great report Big thumbs up,

Sky Service sometimes do fly here (LGW) but at the moment it's that 757. Noisy thing IMO for a 757. I would suggest that it is ex British Airways because of the 757-236 which is their code.


Sam Smile
Despite the name I am a Boeing man through and through!
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 5:37 am

C-GMYH (s/n 25053/358) is a 1991-build 757, first delivered to Air Europa in April 1991.

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Toni Marimon

The aircraft also saw service also with Iberia between 1998 and 2001:

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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stefan Gruenig

Was returned to the CIT Leasing Corp in 2002:

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Photo © Alan Ling

Then joined HMY in the same (white) livery before joining Skyservice.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Mon Jul 05, 2004 6:49 am

Very detailed report...
"Happiness is a flight on a Capitol Air DC-10"
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Tue Jul 06, 2004 3:53 am

Gilesdavies -

Nice trip report - I remember you asking about Skyservice before your trip (I was one of the 'beware, it can be dodgy' replies) Doesn't sound like it was all that bad, esp. at the price point you got...and I agree, I'll take an A330 over a 757 any day

How'd you enjoy Toronto? You got lucky with the weather...

··· [·] oooooooo [·] oooo oo ooooo [·] ooooooooooooooooooo [·]
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:19 am

Topjet330: The screens in row 1 on the A330 are personal screens. They are stowed under the armrests and pull out via an unlocking pin. The video screens must be stowed for take off and landing.

You going away again?

Topic Author
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:24 am

Hi Kevin

Thanks for your comments...

Yes Toronto was brilliant and was even there to see the Canada Day celebrations... You guys definately know how to party and nice to see everyone is so proud to be Canadian! (In the UK were not allowed to celebrate being British, as it would be classified as been racist!)

I especially enjoyed the fireworks over Lake Ontario.

Also visited the CN Tower and Niagra Falls!

I didn't want to leave and could easily move to Canada!

The only down side was when I arrived at YYZ, I had fun with immigrations!!! - I got questioned on my visit to the Canada, why I was here, taken to see a second immigrations officer and then had my luggage searched!!! All good fun, the guys were only doing their job. - But I thought you guys were supposed to be more relaxed than US Authorities!!!

The 757 was OK, legroom was excellent but the single aisle is not acceptable on that length of flight! I have have only flown on A330's on similar length flights and was far more easier to get up and walk around, but I am sure a 767 or other twin aisled boeing aircraft are just as good. (dont wanna start airbus v boeing war!!!)
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:39 am

Really nice report. I was worried that Skyservice would have horrible seat pitch on the 757's much like the other Canadian charter airlines that have operated the type previously. If it is 33" then it's not bad at all.

That all white 757 as Rick mentioned was previously operating for HMY on a "power by the hour" basis, and is now being leased by Skyservice. This aircraft is also being used on flights from YYZ to TLV via SNN.

Thanks for providing us with a trip report on Skyservice, as I had not seen one in a long time. Also, I'm glad you enjoyed Toronto!
"it's kind of like an Airbus, it's an engineering marvel, but there's no sense of passion" -- J. Clarkson re: Coxster
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RE: SkyService London Gatwick-Toronto

Thu Jul 08, 2004 2:11 am


Very good first report. Nicely done.

Skyservice sounds like quite a good product.


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