Review of Air Canada flight Los Angeles Vancouver in Economy

Airline Air Canada
Flight AC 557
Class Economy
Seat 27C
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:50
Take-off 03 Nov 16, 17:40
Arrival at 03 Nov 16, 20:30
AC   #49 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 242 reviews
NGO85
By 2133
Published on 9th November 2016
Background:

This series covers another quick weekend trip; this time to Vancouver. This trip was booked since Ms. NGO85 was going to be up there for work Wednesday-Thursday; so we decided to make it a long weekend afterwards with me flying up Thursday evening and then returning together on Sunday night. Not a lot of options heading up to YVR since the route is dominated by AC and WS with a small DL presence. I booked my round-trip ticket for $240 about 2 weeks ahead of time. AC was the cheapest airline and despite my lackluster experience this summer heading up to YYC, I decided to give AC another go. The routing will be:

Part 1 – LAX-YVR [AC 557, Airbus A320, Economy] – You are here
Part 2 – YVR-LAX [AC 556, Airbus A320, Economy] – Here

This report will cover the flight from LAX to YVR and the AC Maple Leaf Lounge at T2. The bonus for this report will be spotting at LAX before the flight. The bonus for Part 2 will be of Vancouver.



Pre-flight:

I did OLCI the night before to pick an aisle seat for this flight. As I mentioned in my previous AC series, AC charges for advanced seat selection but it can be done for free at OLCI.

On the day of departure, I left work in the early afternoon to head to LAX. After parking my car and taking the shuttle to the terminal, I am in front of the AC check-in area at T2.

photo 1

The check-in lines were empty when I showed up. No agents were at the priority lines and I had to wait about 5 minutes for an agent to finally walk over and help me. He asked for my passport, which he promptly dropped on the ground, picked up with an audible “sigh,” and then tossed back onto the counter like a piece of trash. I appreciate his respect for my personal property… Without any words spoken, he hands me a boarding pass and takes my bag away.

photo 2photo 3

FIDS at T2.

photo 4

Security was light. So empty, that they apparently decided to close the TSA PreCheck lane and the priority lane. What’s the point of PreCheck lanes if they aren’t going to be manned. Getting to the metal detector, they let me leave my shoes on and bypass the body scanner, but it doesn’t expedite me at all since my belongings were still stuck on the conveyer belt behind everyone else’s. All around, poor job by LAX.

T2 is small and is mainly used by flights to Canada/Mexico and some other obscure flights like QR, VS, and AV. Upstairs are the Virgin Clubhouse and the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.



Inside, I immediately get scanned in and inquire about a shower. I’m ushered into the room after signing the log book indicating my name and flight number. The room is fairly spartan and the cleanliness is definitely lacking. There was shampoo leaking down the side of the shower and the towels are in very poor condition.



After the shower, I went into the lounge to take a seat by the window and grab a bite to eat. The buffet is very minimal: soups, salad, chips and salsa, cookies, and a bean salad. The drinks are far more abundant than US carrier lounges with 4 beers on tap.



My offering.

photo 19photo 20

My rendezvous corner with Numero_2, which provides a good angle for spotting as planes roll out of TBIT and head to the runways.

photo 21

SU A332.

photo 22

LH A380.

photo 23photo 24

OZ A380.

photo 25

TN A343.

photo 26

AB A332.

photo 27photo 28

SQ B77W.

photo 29photo 30

EY B772.

photo 31photo 32

HA A332 with an AF A380 in the background.

photo 33photo 34

My AC A320 arriving from YVR, which is my queue to head down to the gate.

photo 35

Reaching the gate, I noticed that the departure time was changed to 17:50. Passengers were deplaning so I did a quick loop to see what there was to spot.

photo 39

SY B738.

photo 36

VS B789.

photo 37

NZ B77W.

photo 38

My AC A320 lurking in the background.

photo 40



————————-

Air Canada, AC 557
Equipment: Airbus A320 [C-FFWN, delivered January 1991]
Departure: 17:40 (ATD: 18:05)
Arrival: 20:32 (ATA: 20:20)
Flight time: 2:15


My boarding documents as I was waiting for boarding to start.

photo 41

Boarding started at 17:30 and I boarded with Groups 1/2. Handing my documents over, the agent greeted me in French, which caught me off guard. She made a guess based on my name, I am not a Francophone, but acknowledge her for making the effort to try and address passengers in their respective language. I mumbled a “merci” as I took my documents back and headed into the plane where an FA welcomed me aboard.

photo 42

The cabin on this A320.

photo 43

Seat pitch is pretty good on AC, around 32”.

photo 44

Seat details. I find the cabins to be clean, but very bland looking. The seats are old and cushiony, but the lack of an adjustable headrest makes comfort only average.



These planes have IFE. There are also power and USB ports, but only the A, B, D, and E seats have power outlets. The C and F seats do not get this amenity.

photo 50

Older Airbus for sure.

photo 51

The seatback contents.

photo 52

enRoute, which highlights new service from YVR into NGO^^

photo 53photo 54

The safety card for this A320.



Since my row mates weren’t there yet, I slid over to take a picture of the winglet details and the Theme Building. The load was close to 95% on this flight and both seats next to me were occupied.

photo 58photo 59

We closed the front door at 17:50 and immediately pushed back. They managed to board the plane in less than 20 minutes, kudos to AC for that. US carriers need to take notes. The safety video played as we pushed back and taxied out for departure.

photo 62

Heading north towards YVR, the IFE turned on and the FAs came through to sell headphones (not complimentary). The IFE is decent size and quality, but slow to react when using the touch screen. The content is very good and the air show works well. IFE is the big advantage for taking AC over its competitors, the rest of the AC soft product is very poor.



The lavatories before the in-flight service starts.

photo 66photo 67

The cabin exiting the lavatory.

photo 68

The service is painfully slow with only 1 FA doing the BOB and 1 FA doing the drink cart. By the time they reach my row, we are already into Washington. I ask for a cup of coffee. The FA looks at me and says, “We don’t have any water. You can only get juices or canned drinks.” WTF? How did they not load any water onto the plane? An OJ without ice for me… No pretzels or any other snack item were handed out.

photo 69

We were here when the drink cart was at my row.

photo 70

The cabin was quickly cleaned and immigration cards were handed out. The guy in the middle seat was asleep and missed the forms. He pressed the call button. No one came to see him. In fact, 2 FAs walked right past our row without even stopping. I eventually flagged an FA down for him so that he could get an immigration form. AC crews have not impressed me at all in my last 2 trips and this crew was just as poor.

photo 71

Diving into YVR to land from the west.

photo 72

We touched down early due to tail winds and were quickly deplaning.

photo 73

YVR joins PDX/SEA in the ugly green carpet club. The signage to arrivals is well marked. US passport holders can use the kiosks for faster immigration and I was out fast. By the time I got to baggage claim, the priority bags were already off. I grabbed my suitcase and headed out towards the exit where Ms. NGO85 was waiting to meet me. You’ll notice the abundance of Chinese signage at YVR, which is very reflective of the demographics of Vancouver as a city.



I'll leave of this series here while I begin my long weekend in Vancouver.




***BONUS***: Spotting at LAX from the parking gargage.

LY B772.

photo 101

WN B737.

photo 102

AS Dash8.

photo 103

VS B789.



KL B744.

photo 107photo 108

UA ERJ-175.

photo 109

AA ERJ-175.

photo 110

DL B752.

photo 111photo 112

BR B77W.


See more

Verdict

Air Canada

5.1/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew4.0
Entertainment8.5
Meal/catering0.5

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

6.1/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering6.0
Entertainment7.5
Services5.0

Los Angeles - LAX

6.4/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness7.5

Vancouver - YVR

8.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

AC is a very 'meh' airline on intra-North American routes. Their planes are old, their crews aren't friendly, and their in-flight services (minus IFE) are terrible.

Cabin comfort: AC's fleet of 25 year old A320s need to get replaced badly. The seat pitch is really good for Y, but the seats aren't the most comfortable in the world to sit on since I could start to feel some discomfort at the end of a 2 hour flight.

Crew: They seem to lack any sort of personality. First, the agent checking me in was completely rude in the way he treated my passport. Secondly, the attentiveness of the FAs in flight is poor: very slow in-flight service and ignored my seatmates call button for more than 5 minutes before I almost had to tug the arm of a passing FA.

Meal and catering: How do you not load water onto a plane? Basic drinks and that's it (not even ice thanks to the water incident). Don't even offer a salty/sweet snack with the drink service like the US carriers do. Basically a LCC.

Entertainment: Standard seatback literature. The IFE screen had a good size and excellent variety. Only knock is the resolution of the IFE and the lack of responsiveness of the touch screen. 3 minutes of ads is excessive, but you can fastforward through it.

Informations on the route Los Angeles (LAX) Vancouver (YVR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Los Angeles (LAX) → Vancouver (YVR).


Useful

The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 2.0 hours and 23.0 minutes.

  More informations

11 Comments

  • Comment 373492 by
    Drewj21 21 Comments

    I see you posted this FR the day after Trump won the election :)

  • Comment 373495 by
    jetsetpanda SILVER 2253 Comments

    Thank you Michael for sharing another quick flight adventure with excellent pics as usual.

    "No agents were at the priority lines and I had to wait about 5 minutes for an agent to finally walk over and help me. He asked for my passport, which he promptly dropped on the ground, picked up with an audible “sigh,” and then tossed back onto the counter like a piece of trash."
    - Such world class customer service! You should write a note to AC detailing your experience.

    "The room is fairly spartan and the cleanliness is definitely lacking. There was shampoo leaking down the side of the shower and the towels are in very poor condition."
    - How consistently disappointing.

    "The drinks are far more abundant than US carrier lounges with 4 beers on tap."
    - Finally something positive to report, especially for beer drinkers.

    "Seat pitch is pretty good on AC, around 32”."
    -Be glad that it is not a AC Rouge plane. The pitch is torturous.

    “We don’t have any water. You can only get juices or canned drinks.” WTF?
    - Especially on a route where there might be more than one passenger asking for hot water. :P

    "In fact, 2 FAs walked right past our row without even stopping."
    - Are you sure this was AC? That is in stark contrast with my experiences with them where the FA's were always smiling and attentive.

    "You’ll notice the abundance of Chinese signage at YVR, which is very reflective of the demographics of Vancouver as a city."
    - With Richmond next to the airport where you can find some of the best Chinese restaurants in North America.

    Hopefully your stay in YVR compensated for the lackluster service that you had in getting there.

    • Comment 373510 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      "Such world class customer service! You should write a note to AC detailing your experience."
      - This guy was also at the gate during boarding, I made sure I avoided his line. The agents at LAX in the lounge were friendly, so I don't know what his deal was, maybe just a bad day.

      "Be glad that it is not a AC Rouge plane. The pitch is torturous."
      - Thankfully, AC Rouge isn't an option, don't think they come to LAX anymore since everything has been switched to mainline AC.

      “Especially on a route where there might be more than one passenger asking for hot water. :P"
      - So what did the J passengers get, that's what I'm curious about...

      "Are you sure this was AC? That is in stark contrast with my experiences with them where the FA's were always smiling and attentive."
      - I was shocked that they walked by and didn't address the call button. The issue with slow service is that with only 3 FAs, they are stuck with only 2 Y FAs and they have to split drink and BOB duties leading to really slow service.

      "With Richmond next to the airport where you can find some of the best Chinese restaurants in North America."
      - We had dim sum in Richmond for breakfast before flying out. Just got a 10-year Chinese visa today, so now I can go for the real thing whenever I want ;) YVR is a boring city, but the food is definitely very good there.

      Thanks for stopping by Adan!

  • Comment 373505 by
    757Fan 453 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report, Michael!

    Sorry to hear about your experience with Air Canada. I'm surprised the service was so poor, I have heard good things about them in the past. How strange that they didn't have any water for coffee on a flight like this.

    Great photos from LAX!

    • Comment 373512 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      It's mind-boggling how quickly AC has eroded, they must be feeling a lot of heat from WS and are desperate to cut corners and costs. WS doesn't look too bad; they are good enough to where AA doesn't touch most Canadian routes and just lets WS shuttle their passengers.

      Thanks for stopping by Matthew!

  • Comment 373520 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 8051 Comments

    Thanks Michael !

    AC in Y is an option for flights up to 2 hours.
    Rouge is something to avoid even in Premium. ;)

    Beers on tap are available only from 11am. :P
    I'd say the best thing is to drink few beers before boarding, then sleep until reaching YVR...

    Our rendezvous corner is definitely a must to stop at. ^^

    • Comment 373560 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      Merci Clement^^

      "AC in Y is an option for flights up to 2 hours. "
      - Which is why I will never take them on long-haul trips since YVR/YYZ/YUL connections are all too far from LAX.

      "Beers on tap are available only from 11am. :P"
      - Conservative for American clientele, the Germans would not be impressed^^

  • Comment 373577 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    “He asked for my passport, which he promptly dropped on the ground, picked up with an audible “sigh,” and then tossed back onto the counter like a piece of trash.”
    - What a start to this AC flight :(.

    Absolutely wonderful spotting shots at LAX! The lighting is stunning, fantastic.

    “the agent greeted me in French”
    - Interesting!

    The IFE is one great thing with these birds.

    No water onboard? I don't even know what to say about that. How have AC been before on these flights, should definitely read some older reports on AC.

    Sorry to hear about the “service” provided by the FAs on your flight.

    I hope you had a good time in Vancouver, a city I would love to visit. My family's initial plan was to move to Vancouver but ended up in Sweden instead.

    Beautiful spotting bonus from LAX, stunning lighting, great weather and overall fantastic shots taken by you.

    Have a good one, see you!

    • Comment 374259 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1624 Comments

      "What a start to this AC flight :(."
      - Somebody had the case of the Thursdays... Other than the agents in the lounge, none of the AC agents at LAX seem to enjoy their lives.

      "The IFE is one great thing with these birds."
      - As long as they are working ;) Wasn't the case on my YYC-LAX flight...

      "No water onboard?"
      - It's mind boggling how water never got onboard. I have a feeling that the plane is catered in YVR and doesn't get refilled in LAX since the turn-around is really fast. So either there was no water boarded in YVR or the YVR-LAX flight before us was very thirsty.

      "I hope you had a good time in Vancouver, a city I would love to visit. My family's initial plan was to move to Vancouver but ended up in Sweden instead."
      - Vancouver and Toronto are very immigrant rich cities. I wouldn't think the quality of life in Vancouver would come close to Stockholm. There are a lot of homeless people in downtown Vancouver.

      "Beautiful spotting bonus from LAX, stunning lighting, great weather and overall fantastic shots taken by you."
      - The angle for arrivals on the top of the parking garage is a lot better than standing on the ground in front of the runway.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Login to post a comment.