Review of Air Canada flight Vancouver Montreal in Business

Airline Air Canada
Flight AC150
Class Business
Seat 2K
Aircraft Airbus A330-300
Flight time 04:08
Take-off 07 Dec 14, 09:24
Arrival at 07 Dec 14, 16:32
AC   #50 out of 115 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 309 reviews
Quirrow
By 5058
Published on 2nd June 2015
Since I was travelling alone for this trip and with an early departure, I took the SkyTrain and this would be the first time for me getting to the airport using the Canada Line from downtown Vancouver. The ride was surprisingly pleasant and quick since there was not much passengers in the morning. I had no trouble at all bringing my snowboard bag and hand carry onto the train since it was pretty empty.

photo 16047815107_24169a5860_b
The SkyTrain at YVR station

photo 15611257144_2f57b443a7_b
Graham Clarke Atrium in YVR

On arrival at the airport, I head towards the domestic terminal which is on the left of the Graham Clarke Atrium where passengers alighting from the SkyTrain will enter the airport from. Air Canada's premium check-in counters were located on the right side of the domestic terminal and also closest to the Graham Clarke Atrium. There was no one in line and I was served immediately. The check-in agent seems to look fresher than I was in that time of the morning and even reminded me to keep myself warm as it was really cold in Quebec that day.

photo 15613808473_34e341c03c_b
Air Canada Premium Check-In

photo 16046285360_fd0d10b116_b
Air Canada domestic terminal

There was a long queue to go through security as I had to deposit my snowboard bag in the other side of the terminal. Thus I took some time to take photos of the sunrise from outside the terminal.

photo 15611257894_06ac8c783f_b
Sunrise departure from the airport

When I returned to the terminal, the queue for the security was still evident though I was able to get to the premium or express lane which had no one waiting outside. The line was obviously shorter and I was able to pass through security into the domestic departure concourse in no time.
photo 16047553149_20c81e2e64_b
Rushing to the gate monument past security

This would be my first time travelling through the domestic terminal as a premium passenger and thus my first time exploring the Maple Leaf lounge on the domestic side. Usually, I would be taking Air Canada to the States and thus the Transborder side Maple Leaf lounge was more familiar to me. Unlike the transborder side lounge, the reception is on the ground floor and credentials were checked first before guests could proceed via the stairs or the elevator up to the second floor. It was quite busy that morning and I had to wait behind one other person before I was checked in.

photo 16046153638_9556f53586_b
Maple Leaf Lounge reception on the ground floor

There is a work station area on the left at the top of the stairs and a newspaper and magazine rack below the divider that shields the main seating lounge from the staircase. The workstation area was very dark as the lights does not seem to be fully switched on. That is probably why no one was there to begin with though some passengers did leave their luggage in this secluded area.

photo 16047553819_9e92fb6fdd_b
Workstations area in the lounge

Compared to the Transborder lounge, this one was quite large but it had more dark wood panelling which made the lounge seems smaller and intimate on the whole. Even though it was quite busy, there was still seats to be found by the window as there are 3 separate seating area with the main one being just outside the elevators.

photo 16232850182_575ea5785c_b
Main seating area in the domestic Maple Leaf Lounge

photo 15697872314_f252c47d65_b
Quieter section of the lounge

To the left of the main lounge is the dining area with a huge coffee station, a buffet counter in the middle around by the wall. There is another seating area beyond the dining space with more lounging space set with flat screen TVs. This was where I settled down before heading out to get some breakfast since I only had a cup of coffee before I left the house.

photo 16047818087_b5f9b742ee_b
Dining area with buffet counter

With the lounge serving breakfast, the spread was quite good with hot dishes like sausages, omelettes and scrambled eggs. There was also assorted pastries, muffins, croissants, toast and bagels. The sweet options includes pancakes, yogurts, fresh fruits and a variety of juices.

photo 15610917304_8807d7bd39_b
Yogurt and oatmeal

photo 15613472773_6c40fe98d6_b
Muffins and pastries

photo 16232509552_e324d94021_b
Cereal counter

photo 16207422726_2800259db8_b
Toaster machine

photo 16047477157_ba86bdccb4_b
Breakfast of eggs and sausage

As I got some food, I also picked up some newspapers and magazines along the way and I find the magazine and newspaper selection to be very impressive as well with all the major Canadian newspapers represented, including titles from Quebec. There was also some French Canadian magazines on the rack.

photo 16318506511_a2e226e0bb_b
Magazine shelves

photo 16233661485_06567675a1_b
Air Canada Boeing 777 arriving at YVR

My seat by the window also gave me some nice views and I got to see an Air Canada 777-300ER docking by the gate. As a whole, the lounge was very good in the North American context and considering that Air Canada had to have 3 separate lounges in one airport to cater to their passengers, it was interesting to note the domestic lounge amenities was far better compared to the transborder side lounge.

AC150 Vancouver International YVR - Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau YUL
STD-STA: 09:10-16:54
Actual: 09:24-16:32
Airbus A330-300 C-GHLM
Gate C47 Seat 2K

photo 16046155228_ca65b9805a_b
Star Alliance livery A330 that will bring me to Montréal

As I took my time to head to the gate, priority boarding has already been completed when I arrived. Still, I had time to take some shots of the plane itself which was emblazoned with the Star Alliance livery. And since the normal boarding line was quite long, I hurriedly handed my boarding pass to the agent on the priority boarding queue which was already empty.

photo 16233662915_54d9160c34_b
Air Canada Business Class on the A330

Being still ahead of the main boarding crowd, I turned left to the larger business class cabin, which was in the old herringbone 1-1-1 configuration. It is 1-2-1 in the 777. I knew that the 'K' side of the cabin would be the less private one, but somehow I prefer to face a person rather than the wall, just for the feeling of more space I guess. For this configuration passengers travelling in pairs are better off choosing seats side by side or they should get seats G and K. A couple travelling during the flight was seated in 1G & 2G with another couple travelling from New Zealand that was upgraded to 3G & 3K. There were probably around 5-6 upgrades in the end with a full load up front.

photo 16047819047_f0aaf74721_b
Seats 2K and 3K onboard Air Canada

On the seat itself, there was a square-shaped pillow which was fluffy enough to hug and a huge duvet. The menu was also left on the seat. I was able to store my messenger bag at the top, though in hindsight, I could have just stored it in front underneath the ottoman. Though some other passengers in Business class had difficulty finding space for their hand carry as the centre section of business class cabin was devoid of any overhead luggage space that gave the overall cabin more space. Probably a perk to be seated in the middle seat here.

Amongst the pre-departure beverage, there was orange juice or water in plastic cups. There was also newspapers on the galley but they were only offered after some time, and by then I had just walked up to the galley to grab one copy for myself. During this time, the crew also came around taking orders for breakfast, and collected passengers' coats that were hung beside the seat.

photo 15610913524_95624a04d0_b
Legroom in the seat

Somehow it felt like it took some time for boarding to be completed, but I was just relaxing and taking photos of this cabin since it was my first time on Air Canada's herringbone business class cabin. These cabins should probably be phased out soon since the 787 features the better reverse-herringbone design looking towards the window. And I just realized had I deferred my flight to a day later, I would have caught the new 787 on this exact same route. Oh well!

photo 16233662675_20ba6649aa_b
Business class seats

After completion of boarding, the taxi was quite short and during this time, passengers in business class need to extend out the personal monitor to view the safety demonstrations as 2 crew members supervised in the front. A video I took during the taxi and take-off can be <a title=Flight Experience onboard Air Canada between YVR and YUL href=http://quirrow.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/flight-experience-onboard-air-canada-between-yvr-and-yul/>seen here</a>.

photo 16232851492_230522e4a6_b
Morning flight view over the British Columbian Rockies

With the partially cloudy weather, there was still some good views of the Rockies during the initial stages of the flight. But because of the seat direction, it really makes viewing out of the plane difficult. Strictly for contortionists only!

photo 15611261414_59bab065f4_b
Hot towel service

After the plane has reached cruising altitude, the crew came around with hot towels in the cabin, and the breakfast service began shortly after. Prior to that, I noticed some passengers with specific dietary needs were given other options from the buy onboard menu as the flight did not load certain food due to the upgrades or something.

photo 16233314925_cedbf5fbea_b
Menu front cover

photo 16045809518_d83083eb8e_b
Inflight breakfast menu

Like the way orders were taken, the meal service started from the front of the cabin, Breakfast service began the crew going around to place a table cloth on every seat before presenting a fresh fruit platter and an offer of 3 kinds of bread: white, cinnamon or whole wheat. The serving of yogurt was included in the platter.

photo 16047556259_1313da7bbd_b
Fresh fruit platter to start

For the main course, I had the pancakes with maple butter, chicken sausage and crab-apple compote. The pancakes were quite good and the sweetness was just right. Overall a good breakfast even if the portions were not the most generous. I had apple juice as a beverage with the breakfast.

photo 16231806101_fe89c9f963_b
Pancakes in cran-apple compote for the mains

After the meal service, the crew came around again offering coffee or tea, and I enquired about the herbal teas where she showed me the options to pick from and I got the summer berries tea. It was a kind of fruit tea that I think ended the meal service on a high note. Service throughout was pleasant and the crew served to their best with a smile. I think the crew were even quite fun in this flight!

photo 16047556919_f450181a86_b
Business Class cabin during the flight

After the meal service, I reclined my seat to a relaxed mode; I thought the seat was comfortable, and the cabin's temperature was just nice, without being too cold or too warm. For entertainment, the personal monitor was of a good size and headphones with hygienic earpiece covers that were packed individually were provided on every seat. Though they were the poor quality kind and since I brought my Bose headsets, that was what I used.

photo 16232854392_a0e7c4cf5f_b
Headphones and ambient light in the cabin

The TV screen resolution again was very good so it allowed me to enjoy the movie of my choice, which was Dolphin Tale 2. While I cannot fault the selection of movies and TV shows, they are probably average, not as good as some carriers but not half bad either. Though so far on my flights with Air Canada, I never really got bored since most of their flights have personal monitors even in economy class. Both monitors in economy and business class are controlled using touch screen, though there is also an old-style manual controller which I never used. Usually I have a thing against touch-screen devices on the plane but it worked surprisingly well on this flight.

photo 16046292570_b195a5eb11_b
Safety manual and seat guide

For passengers still hungry after the meal, the crew usually sets up a basket of snacks by the galley which I spotted on my way to the lavatory. There is nothing much to say about a standard airplane lavatory but it is stocked with hand wash and hand cream from Fruits & Passion, a Canadian perfumery. As for the snack basket, there are some packet of chips, energy bars, some fruits and packs of chocolates.

photo 15613466173_8f81f6f76c_b
Fruits & Passion amenities in the lavatory

The crew also went around with a ramekin of warm nuts along with beverage service for guests who are not asleep during the flight. It was great that the nuts was warm and I happily munched on them while watching my movie.

photo 16231807601_cda3aa7ff6_b
Warm nuts and water

With about 1 hour and a half to go before we arrive, I converted my seat to a fully flat position and set up the duvet. Snugged under the duvet, it was easy to get some shut eye. The cabin is mostly dark even for the early flight as most passengers chose to sleep and even those who were working closed the cabin windows, using their cabin lights instead. So the ambience with the mood lighting was also very conducive for a nap.

photo 15611262994_7966ffb1aa_b
Seat in full-flat mode

photo 16046158198_4e07567430_b
Seat with duvet, ready for a nap

An announcement is made as the flight started its descent and the cabin lights are turned on for preparation. This usually signals the time to wake up and freshen up. The crew will also return passenger's coats during this time, and hang it back by the seat where the hook can also function as a headset holder.

photo 16231808451_b4e0c7b8bb_b
enRoute inflight magazine

The seat itself is all good but I find there was a lack of some storage space for essentials like spectacles and mobile phones. I always worry of them falling into the recesses, so an enclosure of some kind would have been great. Another thing I dislike was the difficulty of getting the inflight magazines as the space is just so tight. Though when the seat is fully reclined flat, there is another compartment for reading materials.

photo 16046159638_acf99c9168_b
Descent into Montreal

photo 15611264664_4b7316bfc5_b
Disembarking from the flight

During the disembarkation, the crew held back the economy class passengers to allow the front cabin to alight first. As this flight continues onwards to Europe, passengers are dropped off by the international terminal and that means a long trek to the arrivals and baggage claim.

photo 16046160168_01c0d5728d_b
Air Canada A330 at YUL

photo 16232856372_40ee24c0da_b
Air France 747 at YUL

As a francophone province, it is not surprising to see 2 Air France planes (one a 747 and another an A340), both bound for Paris docked side by side. There was also a Swiss Air flight departing around this time. Rather it seems many international departures will be around this evening hour.

photo 16232856192_c62c0a4f25_b
Duty Free shops in the international terminal at YUL

Even after taking my time doing some plane-spotting, my checked luggage has yet to appear as I descended into the baggage claim area. The conveyor has not even started to deliver its first luggage, but the positive spin to it was that Priority marked luggages were the first to appear as I collected my luggage and the snowboard from the oversized luggage belt.

photo 15611266774_963c2f9309_b
Baggage claim on arrival at YUL

The experience flying a wide-body jet for a domestic flight is always unmatchable, since it makes travelling so easy and convenient with no pesky TSA officers, or immigration lines to deal with. The fact there was a full-flat bed and a 2 course meal was just icing on the cake, so I would have to say domestically within Canada, there is no better way to fly in a commercial flight. The better one would be your own private jet, so I think Air Canada gets too much flak for the decent service they do provide.

Some images from Montréal:

photo 15617043533_c0f4ce968f_b
Downtown Skyscrapers

photo 16320750562_3a008b0014_b
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec

photo 16321617855_accbf3b368_b
Montréal Olympic Park

photo 16056417769_e9ec970b94_b
Montréal Blue Hour from Mont Royal
See more

Verdict

Air Canada

7.4/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering6.5

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, Domestic

6.2/10
Comfort6.5
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi5.5
Services6.5

Vancouver - YVR

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

Montreal - YUL

9.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Conclusion

Information on the route Vancouver (YVR) Montreal (YUL)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 7 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Vancouver (YVR) → Montreal (YUL).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Air Canada with 7.4/10.

The average flight time is 4 hours and 39 minutes.

  More information

9 Comments

  • Comment 138181 by
    whitelight44 346 Comments

    Great FR with great pictures. Thanks.

  • Comment 138188 by
    oriolgutierrez 20 Comments

    Very nice FR with truly wonderful pictures!!
    Thanks for your FR.

  • Comment 138189 by
    Yonatan Paz 63 Comments

    Amazing photos!!! Best FR ever!

  • Comment 138196 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for taking the time to share this report with us. As always, your photography is brilliant!

    The domestic MLL has a decent breakfast offering, always great to see hot buffet items in North America.

    Flying the *A livery is a treat. These seats are old, but not necessarily antiquated since they are full-flat and are still fairly private (coffin style). I find the overall look of the cabin to still be fine, but what irks me the most about this cabin is the upholstery choice on the seats.

    Is it just me, or is it unusual for this flight to be a breakfast service? Given the departure/arrival times, I would have thought lunch was more appropriate? Obviously, you are crossing three time zones, so you are really landing at 13:30 YVR time, but what is the AC cut-off for breakfast time? The breakfast offering doesn't look terrible, but to only receive breakfast on this type of flight is disappointing. Catering is definitely the downfall of this flight.

    It sounds like you had a great crew and AC continues to provide long-haul type service on trans-con domestic flights (something that still is sometimes lacking in the US).

    Montréal is a beautiful city and your photography certainly does it justice, thank you for this beautiful report.

  • Comment 138209 by
    mn20 1 Comments

    Great pictures.
    Can I ask what camera you're using?

  • Comment 138250 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    It's always a pleasure to encounter one of your reports. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment 138277 by
    airberlin GOLD 798 Comments

    I confirm, the best pictures I've ever seen on FR for a very long time... nothing compared to mine ;)
    Thank you for sharing

  • Comment 138362 by
    Quirrow AUTHOR 155 Comments

    Thanks for all the kind comments!

    Regards to the breakfast service onboard AC, I think it is because this might be a connecting flight for some travellers from the Pacific, so this might be their second meal already. And because the meal was served right after take-off, hence a more breakfast-oriented service. Though I notice some travellers just skipping the heavy breakfast instead opting for fruits. I consider the meal more like brunch here. And for a domestic flight, it is not too bad considering I had to pay for food on flights to Toronto.

    Regards to Montréal, it is really a beautiful city and I enjoyed the visit a lot such that I would recommend a visit here when in Canada! I would post more photos with the return trip.

    Regards to my camera, I am using a Canon 5D mk2 with 16-35 mm f/12.8 lens. Some of the photos are taken with my iPhone 5.

  • Comment 138565 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5331 Comments

    Thanks for another beautiful report! I've heard good things about the Domestic Maple leaf lounge at YVR and your report confirms that it is indeed a great lounge, but North American standards of course. The whole passenger experience on this flight is closer to international service than domestic (at least domestic service in the U.S). From the nice lounge with real food, to the widebody flight with flat beds, it really is a top notch experience for a domestic flight. The only thing that might need improvement is that the traditional herringbone seats are getting a bit outdated and that 1-1-1 config on the A330 and 767 fleets is awkward. I imagine AC has plans to update these interiors like the are doing with the 777s.

Login to post a comment.