100 Hours in North America (via first QF A380 flight in 2 years)

NSun

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My AC flight back to YVR was a 737. But not just any 737 but a 737-MAX, the one that was grounded due to MCAS.

I knew it was a MAX going in but other than the rego there was no evidence it was a MAX. The pilots just said a 737 and the safety card said 737-8. But it was quite a fine cabin with seatback screens and the newer mood lighting.

Rego was C-GEKZ. According to flightradar24 it was built in April 2019 so obviously spent a lot of time grounded. According to other forums it had only entered service a month ago.

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To be perfectly honest I did have a heightened heartbeat for a brief second halfway in the flight but the flight proceeded without issue. Surely if something did like MCAS happened again it'd be the death of Boeing which is why it's taken so long to "unground it".
 

NSun

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Made it to YVR at 3pm and saw the 787 that'd take me home pulling in - VH-ZNH "Great Barrier Reef".

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I waited until check in opened at 4.15pm. There were a few people there already and couldn't help striking up a conversation with them. One group was a couple who had spent a few weeks in Canada and were surprising their children who lived over here and hadn't seen them since COVID.

There was also another person that had visited family but had to pay for the $400 COVID test at the airport because their $250 test 72 hours before never came back.

The person checking me in was clearly a trainee as there was someone watching her who would double-check my documents. Got told to use the SkyTeam lounge. Cathay have a lounge but it is closed and potentially may never open again. SkyTeam lounge sufficed for a snack but waited till the flight for a substantial meal. Watched the Bills-Patriots game while in the lounge - which reminded me of a Hong Kong lounge in the sense that it was on an upper level and had a good view of the concourse.

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We boarded on time at 7.30pm. I managed to secure 1A.

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Unfortunately despite boarding on time, we needed a new flight plan given the Tongan volcano. We ended up leaving at 10pm which was 2 hours late and ended up arriving nearly 3 hours late as the flight path was far longer. The full flight took 15 hours and 48 minutes and was just over 13,000 kilometres.

Anyway: for dinner I had chicken and quinoa salad as entree, spiced lamb with sweet potato and kim chi pancakes as main and ice cream as dessert.

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And here was breakfast.

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Nothing like the first sight of land after a Trans-Pacific flight.

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NSun

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Well that wraps things up. A quick trip seeing 1 city a day may not be everyone's cup of tea but I liked it.

@BensAdventures beat me to North America by over 2 months and he summed things up well - I have little to add to his thoughts. The anxiety and stress of COVID tests is quite big and would be a major disincentive to travel especially to countries that'd send you to a hospital or quarantine facility if you tested positive. Wearing masks for 24+ hours is a PITA but at least QF wasn't that militant about it.

It was also fascinating to see for myself how the COVID situation is on the ground in North America. It's hardly the case that they've given up or don't care, although maybe things would be different in Texas and Florida.

Hope you enjoyed the report, I'm happy to answer any questions.
 
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Matt_01

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Air Canada, Air North and WestJet all accepted my International Vaccination Certificate.
Did they accept the digital copy, paper copy or both. Interested to know as I will be in YVR-YUL later this year. Maybe things will have settled down by then.
 

NSun

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Did they accept the digital copy, paper copy or both. Interested to know as I will be in YVR-YUL later this year. Maybe things will have settled down by then.

Paper copy was accepted without issue. While their online checkin rejected my certificate I'm less sure if the check in people would've done the same.
 

jrfsp

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Nice to read about intl travel again! Was there anything more substantial offered for breakfast on the flight home?
 

NSun

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Nice to read about intl travel again! Was there anything more substantial offered for breakfast on the flight home?
There was a breakfast card that had a lot more options and you would presumably get whatever you ticked.

But I prefer breakfast light so just got yogurt, apple juice and a croissant.

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@BensAdventures beat me to North America by over 2 months and he summed things up well - I have little to add to his thoughts. The anxiety and stress of COVID tests is quite big and would be a major disincentive to travel especially to countries that'd send you to a hospital or quarantine facility if you tested positive. Wearing masks for 24+ hours is a PITA but at least QF wasn't that militant about it.
Glad you enjoyed my trip report mate. Loved all the pics you took too, certainly added you your story.

The anxiety of not wanting to test positive before flying home can not be underestimated here. I've just recovered from COVID (I got on a holiday in QLD), so that gives me a little more confidence to travel over the next 4-6 weeks.

I'm currently trying to put together a South East Asia trip, likely to include 5 days quarantine in Philippines and 1 Night Test and Go in Bangkok. I'm doing this for work, but interesting to compare the COVID management, airport challenges etc compared to my USA trip.
 

larrymull

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A negative COVID test in 1 calendar day of departure (which could be either PCR or antigen but I got PCR so I could re-use that test to re-enter Canada)
I thought it was PCR only, can you do an antigen Rapid to get onboard to the US?
 

larrymull

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Absolutely ... I did one this morning for HNL tonight.
Well this makes it a lot easier and faster. Thanks.

Was it done by yourself or do you still need it done by a pathology collection place?
 
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NSun

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Glad you enjoyed my trip report mate. Loved all the pics you took too, certainly added you your story.

The anxiety of not wanting to test positive before flying home can not be underestimated here. I've just recovered from COVID (I got on a holiday in QLD), so that gives me a little more confidence to travel over the next 4-6 weeks.

I'm currently trying to put together a South East Asia trip, likely to include 5 days quarantine in Philippines and 1 Night Test and Go in Bangkok. I'm doing this for work, but interesting to compare the COVID management, airport challenges etc compared to my USA trip.
It will be interesting to hear what it's like to go to South East Asia right now although I'm not going there until we don't need masks outdoors (at least when alone or distanced) - I don't mind mask wearing indoors or even outdoors if it's crowded but if I'm just by myself on the street especially with the humidity over there...

Plus Singapore and Thailand's brief pause on quarantine-free travel hasn't exactly inspired confidence.
 
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It will be interesting to hear what it's like to go to South East Asia right now although I'm not going there until we don't need masks outdoors (at least when alone or distanced) - I don't mind mask wearing indoors or even outdoors if it's crowded but if I'm just by myself on the street especially with the humidity over there...

Plus Singapore and Thailand's brief pause on quarantine-free travel hasn't exactly inspired confidence.
Yeah the open, shut border thing is an issue, but Thailand honoured anyone who had a confirmed entry visa, so that's not too bad. I wouldn't be going if it wasn't urgent (particularly Philippines), but I'm still not sure I'll make it if my travel exemption isn't awarded.
 

OATEK

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Thanks for the write-up. We are off on QF1 in 5 weeks, and the worry about pre-flight covid is always there. But luckily we will be with family in the UK and can stay there until recovered, but missing the flight out of OZ would be very disappointing. So will go into 10 days hibernation before departure. How did the B787 home compare to the A380 outbound?
 

Pushka

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Thanks for the write-up. We are off on QF1 in 5 weeks, and the worry about pre-flight covid is always there. But luckily we will be with family in the UK and can stay there until recovered, but missing the flight out of OZ would be very disappointing. So will go into 10 days hibernation before departure. How did the B787 home compare to the A380 outbound?
Does UK still require the pre flight test?
 

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