In 2016, Air Canada fully upgraded its Boeing 777 fleet, and now it has the same reverse herringbone seat in the business class cabin as those in the Boeing 787 fleet. Since I was going on a trip to Europe in May, I took the opportunity to experience Air Canada’s business class on their Boeing 787 and Boeing 777-300ER; this is also my first time to experience the international business.
Vancouver: Check-in and Airport Lounge
Air Canada has a separate counter at Vancouver International Airport and dedicated to its business class passengers and Star Alliance Elite members. The check-in and going through the security was seamless. Since the first flight is from Vancouver to Toronto, so after the security check, I went to Air Canada’s domestic Maple Leaf Lounge. The lounge is pretty average, and it doesn’t offer any hot food. However, it’s a great place to watch planes, and I just spotted an Airbus A330-300 with Star Alliance livery.
Boeing 787-8 Business Class (YVR – YYZ)
The boarding after the lounge is quick and easy, as the business class passengers are among the first group to board. Once getting on board, turning left, and it’s the business class cabin. Boeing 787 is the company’s first aircraft to deploy reverse herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration for the business class. The center seats don’t have overhead bins, so the cabin feels very spacious. The cabin has a white-grayish finish, and overall it looks simple and clean.
I booked 3A, a windows seat, for the flight from Vancouver to Toronto. Each seat has a big pillow and a comforter; since this is a domestic flight, there is no amenity kit provided. The highlight of this business class seat is the 18″ high-definition LCD screen, and it looks enormous. The reverse herringbone design has become the trend for the industry to adopt since it provides the best balance of privacy and convenience. There is not much storage space, except for a small storage cabinet by the window. The privacy is excellent that once seated, I can’t see other passengers.
I am a little surprised that today’s seat has already shown its age. The touch-screen control can adjust the seat softness, and there is even a “massage” function, but it just activates the vibrations.
Soon after I sat down, the flight attendant came over and asked me if I want to have orange juice or champagne as the welcome drink, so I chose the orange juice. Then she handed out the lunch menu for today’s flight. Shortly after the plane took off, she brought the hot towel, warm cashew, and drinks.
The appetizer is bacon + fruit and vegetable salad:
For the main dish, I ordered veal with cauliflower puree, and it was delicious!
The dessert is chocolate cookies with ice cream:
After the meal, there were still two hours before landing, so I took a nap for about an hour. The seat is not very side-sleeper friendly since the table restricts the leg space.
Boeing 777-300ER Business Class (YVR – LHR)
After arriving in Toronto, I went to Air Canada’s International Maple Leaf Lounge, but I was disappointed. It was just after 6 pm local time, and the lounge was extremely crowded that I could hardly find a seat. The hot food selection is limited. Overall, I was not impressed by the lounge.
My next flight from Toronto to London is on a Boeing 777-300ER. After boarding, my first impression is how spacious inside a Boeing 777 cabin; after all, Boeing 777 has a reputation as a single deck of Boeing 747. The 777 flying today has a total of 40 business class seats in two cabins: the first eight rows in the front cabin, and four rows in a mini-cabin behind.
My seat is 6K, a window seat again. Because the 777 has a wider body than the 787, the business class seat in Boeing 777 is roomier and storage cabinet by the window is obviously larger. Also, since Air Canada just completed the upgrade of its 777 fleet, the seat also feels like brand new. As for the International business class cabin, each seat has a linen-textured amenity kit, a bottle of water by the window, and a nicely designed menu for the International Business class.
Two flight attendants are serving one aisle today. While the plane was taxiing, the flight attendant came to greet each passenger and took the order for meals and drinks. I ordered prawns for appetizers:
For the main dish, I asked for grilled Sablefish, which is delicious:
Compared with the domestic business class meal service, the international business class is on another level. The flight attendant came over and made one of my favorite cocktails: Long Island Iced Tea!
Later, the flight attendant brought cheese and Port:
After the meal service, I put the seat in the flat/sleep mode, and slept for about four hours:
Just about an hour before arriving in London, the flight attendant started the breakfast service, and I ordered sausage, omelet, and fruit.
Soon the plane landed at London Heathrow Airport safely, and I saw a Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER with the white Star Alliance livery.
I’m glad my trip has let me experience Air Canada’s both domestic and international business class products. The reverse herringbone seat is nice but has its flaws, as it has limited footrest space, and side sleeper can be annoyed by the restriction from the table. The service was excellent, and Air Canada flight attendants definitely knew how to make cocktails!
I would not hesitate to recommend Air Canada’s business class. However, Air Canada’s economy class is like in a low-cost carrier, and its frequent flier program also falls far behind other North American airliners. It seems to me that Air Canada has given a lot of attention to their premium products and their top tier of elite members, but neglects the economy passengers and the lower tier of elite members. For this reason, I switched to Delta’s Skyteam program the following year.