December 24th, 2008
The day that I was supposed to get to Hong Kong, on a 2-stop journey: YVR-PDX-NRT-HKG. After days of obsessing whether my flight would be delayed/cancelled due to the inclement snowstorm weather, I get to the airport to find that the YVR-PDX flight on Horizon Air has been delayed three hours, causing me to miss the rest of my journey. Thanks to a very helpful Horizon agent, I was able to be rebooked on Air Canada two days later, but direct.
So, December 26th, 2008, a 11 day vacation turned into an 9 day one.
Departure Time: 13:05
Flight Time: 13h 45m
Aircraft: Boeing 777-333ER
After checking in online, we got to the airport three hours early, to drop off our baggage. The lady at the desk tells us the ones who checked in early are lucky - they are severely overbooked due to the backlog and no one who comes to the airport to check in now is goign to make it on the flight. The snow is still going, but the flight is on-time.
After being thoroughly scrutinized by heightened security, we made it to the gate. There was confusion at the gate, as they had just switched a Tokyo-bound flight out of this gate to another one, and replaced it with the Hong Kong flight. Many confused travelers were still wandering around the gate area despite numerous. I could not do much wandering as for some reason (probably due to no gate being available) they had moved a Toronto-bound flight to the international terminal. No one without a valid reason (i.e. a flight with a gate that way) could get pass the security checking boarding passes.
My limited plane spotting: Air Canada ready to head off to Seoul...
The snowy environment:
The flight and cabin crew arrived a few minutes after us and sat behind us, chatting away (it surprises me how well cabin crews and flight crews are so adaptable with working with new people). I sat there eavesdropping on their bidding of flight positions and rest periods, and emergency exit briefings.
The inbound flight was late, and thus so was cleaning. At this point, we were delayed twenty minutes. No worries, we were soon onboard (following a chaotic boarding process - it was like an all call.)
My limited view of the aircraft:
Twenty minutes turned more into like 45 minutes, as we waited for passengers connecting from Edmonton and Toronto, on delayed flights. They finally arrived, and we taxiied out - to de-icing.
The view outside:
Deicing complete, we waited in line for a take off slot.
We finally got into the air about 2.5 hours after proposed departure time. Now, we can start counting the 13 hours to Hong Kong.
On the climb-out, we had magnificent views. Actually, they were spectacular for the entire flight - we watched the sun slowly set.
Air Canada has always created mixed feelings. The flight attendants are polite and etc, but nothing special. Service wise, I appreciated the water runs every 30 minutes, but meals were horrible - small in portion, and bread rolls with ice chips on top of them (really). The new Air Canada IFE system had a good selection, but the response was slow, and was not available for the 2.5 hour delay. The map was also not available, so I had little idea where we were (despite the pilots' best attempts to keep us updated). I was very cramped. Of course the overhead bins were full, so I had a roll-aboard stuck halfway out the seat, limiting my already cramped legroom. Other than some moderate turbulence for about 30 minutes, it was a very pleasant flight. The 777 with its mood lighting creates a very pleasant atmosphere.
We arrived at about 9:30, 2.5 hours late; there were no in-air delays. Very exhausting, but we were finally here.