Review of Air Canada flight London Calgary in Premium Eco

Airline Air Canada
Flight AC851
Class Premium Eco
Seat 14K
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 08:15
Take-off 02 Mar 16, 14:05
Arrival at 02 Mar 16, 15:20
AC   #16 out of 71 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 340 reviews
germueller
By 7276
Published on 20th March 2016
This is going to be my first report on FlightReport, a site I only discovered after the flight I am going to review, so I will not have the splendid pictures others put in…oh well.

Wanting to travel from Germany to Western Canada for vacation I jumped at the opportunity to book our ride aboard the AC 788 in Premium Economy. Although there are direct connections from FRA to all major Canadian airports, I wished to try out their new product.

The arrival in LHR after an uneventful LH flight with quick, efficient service with an “who cares” attitude by the crew was followed by passport checks in LHR and a quick walk to our Gate for departure. As T2 is currently undergoing renovations (?) the airport experience did not live up to my expectations of LHR – but having been there less than 50 mins, that wasn’t an issue.

Boarding for AC 851 was somewhat unorganized, as passengers did not seem to understand the “Zone boarding concept” and your boarding pass was checked three times before entering the aircraft. Once we had passed that particular hurdle I was surprised by how truly different the 788 boarding experience is! When you step into the middle galley it seemed to be more a crossover between a lounge and a galley, really, appearing spacious, clean and friendly while emitting this “cool Canadian” charm which is unique to AC.

Having been pointed to the right side of the aircraft to take our seats in row 14 (K&H) I could not hide my surprise as to how well AC has done the Premium Economy Cabin.

The cabin contains three rows 12, 13, 14 with in a 2X3X2 configuration. Row 12 does not have as large screens and no movable or immovable footrests. They are also having only one window and the toilet bulkhead in front. Every seat comes equipped with IFE and USB plus power outlets and a removeable remote control. Tables fold out of the armrest and one has a little cocktail table between the two armrests. Windows are hughe and one touch on the dim control dims both windows associated with your window seat (neat feature). Even with dimmed windows one still can look out but not discern any great detail of landscape underneath the plane.

Premium Eco shares the washrooms with Business; as such I would think them to be a bit better than the normal economy bathrooms, but I did not visit them on this flight. Awesome is that the washrooms have windows so you can take pictures out of both without bothering your cabin with an open shader!

Cabin is seperated to business cabin by washrooms and galley and to economy by a bulkhead and curtains.

photo IMG-20160303-WA0003photo IMG-20160303-WA0004


Cabin crew service was quick and overall polite except when I asked if one of them would mind terribly to reduce the force of the air coming out of the air condition system, as it was very cold air blasted at you from above. I only got an eye roll and "The captain will take care of that right away" from the female FA. I ended up wearing my hat, jacket and a scarf while also being covered in a blanket and wearing the Air Canada socks over my own. Surprisingly, somewhere over Greenland they turned it down and I was able to remove almost all of my additional clothing.

Inflight service consisted of the "welcome drink" (water or juice) in a plastic cup, a foil wrapped collection of salted nuts, two bottles of water (which I did not recieve-but when I asked about them I got two real glasses with water for me and my father, that were kept well filled all flight long) and a hot meal (see pictures below for the menu and food). The quality was very good. Over Greenland we recieved most fittingly a cup of vanilla icecream as inflight snack. Before Calgary we recieved an "air canada signature" wrap and another selection of drinks from the trolley. All drinks were available throughout the flight with the FAs checking on you in 30 min intervalls (not bothering you, just walking by and looking at you with an expectant friendly smile).

The seats are quite comfy and even in row 14 you have ample space to settle down and move the back of your seat. The footrest is nice and height adjustable. One has a ton of space when compared with Economy. I could not sleep on those seats, as I can never sleep while sitting but it was comfortable enough to see me through 9 hrs aboard.




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Verdict

Air Canada

9.5/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering9.5

London - LHR

5.5/10
Efficiency7.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Calgary - YYC

7.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services4.0
Cleanliness4.0

Conclusion

Whereas LH emphasises the ECONOMY in Premium Eco, Air Canada emphasizes PREMIUM. From what I have seen with AC business, the AC PE seems to be a light version for the budgeted business traveller or the over budgeted leisure traveller. Nice are the legroom, the exclusivity and the two pieces of luggage à 23 kg. Service is mixed, contains elements of business (service level, quality of hot meal, cutlery and china) but also of economy (wrap, plastic cups for breakfast wrap and as welcome drink). Will fly AC in that cabin definitly again soon!

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12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 160068 by
    757Fan 612 Comments

    Interesting to read about Air Canada's new Premium Economy product. It looks and sounds pretty good!

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment 160120 by
    MrMax 144 Comments

    Welcome to FlightReport.com (I'm actually realitivly new) and thank you for an exellent first FR!

  • Comment 160128 by
    KL651 TEAM 4523 Comments

    Welcome and thanks for this first FR.

    The food does look premium, only the pre arrival snack is more economy-like.

    How was the amenity kit distributed?

    The answer from the FA about the captain taking care of the AC is really rude. Your final grade of 8.5 for crew is pretty good in that regard.

    • Comment 336797 by
      germueller AUTHOR 6 Comments

      Thanks for reading my FR!

      Yeah, the pre-arrival snack was indeed more economy like - but it tasted fine.

      The Amenity kit (Socks, Earplugs, Eyemask, Toothbrush with toothpaste) was stacked in the inflight pouch were all the magazines are and the safty card is. The seats were stacked with a standart economy pillow and blanket on the seat. my apologies for not mentioning that in the report.

      I did not want to discount the otherwise friendly and engaged service of the FAs due to one bad comment. Except for that hickup the service friendliness and politness was nothing to complain about.

  • Comment 160134 by
    CounterSurprise 80 Comments

    Welcome and thanks for the FR! Very interesting to read and a good overview of AC hard and soft product!

  • Comment 160170 by
    hometoyyz BRONZE 542 Comments

    Great first flight report, welcome to the site!

    I've come to think of AC's Premium Economy (service and catering-wise) as a mix.

    From prior to boarding until the first meal is over, it's basically business class. The seat (especially the 787 product) is very similar to the narrowbody business class seat. And the first meal is identical to what you'd get on a longhaul AC business class flight, except on certain premium routes (YYZ-SFO/LAX/YVR/YYC, and the like.)

    Once that first meal is over, you're in economy. Any additional meal services are the same as what Y gets. You're just lucky they don't kick you out of your comfy seat and make you go sit in 38E.

    Did I read that correctly... you didn't visit the lav once between Heathrow and Calgary?

    I see you learned very quickly my Premium Economy trick of getting a glass water glass and holding onto the glass for the rest of the flight. Just so much nicer than the little plastic cup you'll otherwise get after the first meal service.

    • Comment 336925 by
      germueller AUTHOR 6 Comments

      Thanks for reading!

      It is indeed a mix between business and economy. Although the service level remained high after the first meal, regarding the attentiveness of the flight attendants.

      AC actually served most of the time in glass and china, only for breakfast they gave out the economy option with wrap and paper cups.

      Ah..no, I visited the designated lavatories for PE and B quite often but mostly to take pictures of greenland and iceland, if you catch my meaning ;) I did not visit the lavs for economy class.

  • Comment 160197 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5888 Comments

    A very good first report!

    LHR is never fun to transit through, lol.

    When you step into the middle galley it seemed to be more a crossover between a lounge and a galley
    - Some airlines have more spacious entries than others, depending on how much open space there is in that galley by the door. Some airlines have left it completely open with no bulkhead walls to give that feeling of openness, while others have put walls up on either side, which feels more cramped, but still more open than more other aircraft types. I think it has something to do with the high ceilings and the cool shape of the ceiling panels by the doors.

    Premium Eco shares the washrooms with Business
    - That's nice and different from most carriers, which make Premium Economy passengers use Economy class lavs.

    as it was very cold air blasted at you from above.
    - We like our air conditioning set on Arctic-Cold here in North America :-)

    Whereas LH emphasises the ECONOMY in Premium Eco, Air Canada emphasizes PREMIUM
    - That seems like a fair assessment! The better Premium Economy classes out there (which includes AC) are basically what Business was like 20 years ago (or about the same as current Domestic Business class in North America).

    Thanks for sharing your first report and Welcome to Flight-Report!

    • Comment 336926 by
      germueller AUTHOR 6 Comments

      Thanks for your reply and thank you for reading it!

      Concerning the lavs I think it is only for the 788; as the 789 seatmap features the lavatories in a different color for PE and for B. I'll let you know next chance I get.

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