Flight Report : AC 016 Hong Kong - Toronto


AC 016
Hong Kong - Toronto
October 20, 2005
Loading Factor : almost full in Economy
Flight Time : about 15.5 hours nonstop
Equipment : Airbus A340-500

The jet was parked at the far reaches of the terminal building, which gave an abundant opportunity to do some plane spotting. I didn't take the automatic people mover. Instead, I walked along the length of the terminal to see which visitors were at HKIA that day.

Ground staff were from United Airlines, a fellow Star Alliance member. I was a little surprised that there were no Air Canada-uniformed ground staff at the gate. After all, there are two daily flights between Canada and Hong Kong each way.

The Airbus A340-500 is a state-of-the-art ultra long range intercontinental aircraft which entered into service in mid 2004. Air Canada was the first North American operator of the A340-500. The increased range of this aircraft enabled non-stop routes such as Toronto - Hong Kong.

Taxing for takeoff.
Ascending to cruising altitude. The Toronto - Hong Kong route is Air Canada's first and only route with personal televisions, a special feature on the A340-500. There are several channels to choose from on the touch screen. The selection was far smaller than competitor Cathay Pacific though, and it lacked Hong Kong programming.
Approaching the skies over Taiwan.
Sunset over East Asia
One of the unique aspects of this long flight is the fact that since it flies against the earth's spin and is so long, passengers get to see 2 sunsets - 1 just off Taiwan as Asia enters the evening, then sunrise over the North American west coast, and sunset again on approach to the east coast.
The sun begins to rise again over the west coast of North America.
Approaching Toronto
It wasn't a very eventful flight. There wasn't a lot of turbulence but the flight was certainly long. Air Canada is not the first airline to fly nonstop on this route though. Cathay Pacific has been able to fly Hong Kong - Toronto nonstop during the winter months before.
Fall colours on the final descent into Toronto

Final Thoughts

Service was decent.
Air Canada's service isn't anywhere near the top in the world, but the crew got their work done. However, they kept on counting passengers several times before push-back, which I thought was a little inefficient and cumbersome.

Food was reasonable.
I believe most flights that have Hong Kong catering get Hagen Daaz ice cream, since AC is one of several airlines that served that brand for flights from Hong Kong. The ice cream was made in France.

Toronto's passenger-handling abilities at the infield terminal are questionable.
It took a good 35 minutes from leaving the gate to arriving at the immigration counters in the main T1 building. The reason for the delay was because there were not enough buses to take all the passengers on the flight from the infield terminal to T1. Upon asking an Air Canada agent with a walky-talky at the bus boarding area why there are no buses, she claimed that the airline was not responsible for the buses, which is quite ironic because why would she be there when she can't control anything? It wasn't a very happy ending to the long 15.5-hour flight.

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