Review of Air Canada flight Toronto Madrid in Business

Airline Air Canada
Flight AC836
Class Business
Seat 8A
Flight time 07:30
Take-off 02 Nov 18, 23:05
Arrival at 03 Nov 18, 11:35
AC   #52 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 291 reviews
Canadiantrvlr
Published on 13th December 2018
Hey everyone, this is my first go at writing a report here on Flight-Report so bare with me. This is the first flight of six I took as a travel to and through Europe a couple weeks back. This report will outline my YYZ-MAD leg of the journey. The trip consisted of six flights and essentially four different trips: YYZ-MAD-MUC, TXL-HEL, HEL-ARN, ARN-ORD-YYZ. Reports for the other five flights will fo
llow.

I do apologize for the lack of photos in this report, I had not fully intended to write this at the time of flight.

I arrived at Pearson about three hours before my scheduled departure and used Air Canada's dedicated business class and Altitude check-in area. It was mostly empty and I was helped right away by a friendly employee. He quickly checked me in, provided me directions to the Air Canada lounge and I was on my way. Security was pretty dead in general and with the priority line, it took me about five minutes to get through. I headed straight for the Air Canada lounge. Since this was a reward ticket I was not able to visit the newly opened Signature Suite but still had access to the Maple Leaf Lounge. The lounge was quite dead, being just before 9:00pm the majority of international flights had gone out leaving the lounge sparsely populated.

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There wasn't a huge food offering but there were a few hot dishes and a couple cold items such as salad and hummus. I grabbed a couple things to snack on and made myself a Gin and tonic. The lounge offers quite a substantial bar, numerous wine options, standard liquor offerings and even three or four beers on tap you can pour yourself. I relaxed until about 10:15 when I headed to the gate in preparation for boarding. The boarding area was a bit of a mess. The lines hadn't been properly set up which lead to some confusion amongst passengers. I boarding time came and went and no one had started to board. An announcement was eventually made saying that the flight was full and they were looking for volunteers with more than one piece of hand luggage to check it. The 767s have not been updated in recent years and do feature quite small overhead bins. About fifteen minutes after our scheduled boarding time, we began to board. I took my seat 8A. The 767 is configured in a 1-1-1 configuration. The seats on the left side of the aircraft feature notably more privacy as they face a wall instead of another. The middle seat faces the right aisle as does the window seat on the right side of the aircraft. While it doesn't make a huge difference, if you are travelling alone I would recommend a seat on the left side if you can grab one. I would argue that 8A is the best seat in the cabin given it has the added privacy of being on the left and the extra shoulder room given it is against the bulkhead. If you have the chance I highly recommend the seat. In saying all of this these seats only exist on the 767s and A330s both of which are being phased out or updated in the near future.
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The wall the separates the left aisle.


Waiting at my seat was: a bottle of water, a pillow, a mattress pad, a duvet and an amenity kit. Shortly after taking my seat a flight attendant came around and provided me a menu and a breakfast card to fill out. Oddly enough there was no welcome drink, I don't know if it was because of the late departure time but I found it a bit strange. The breakfast card is a clever idea as it allows your to order breakfast when you board and then the whole meal is served on one tray. This really maximizes sleep on a short redeye like this flight.

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I quickly filled out the breakfast card as it was promptly collected.

Next, I took a look through the menu. As this was a late night departure an abbreviated meal service was offered.

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A wide variety of wines and spirits were on offer.

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A flight attendant came by and asked for my order just before we pushed back. Push back was about 15 minutes behind schedule but we quickly taxied to runway and took off without delay. Just before take off the Captain made an announcement saying he planned for us to still arrive on time but that he was expecting some significant turbulence for roughly the first two hours. He informed us that he would be asking the flight attendants to hold off on the service and remain seated until we had passed through the turbulence. This was kind of disappointing given the timing of the departure and the fact that if you wanted to eat it really cut into sleep. I decided to get comfortable and watch a movie to kill the time. I had intended to eat on the flight and was quite hungry at this point.

The seat is similar to what you will find on Air New Zealand and Jet Airways. While by no means cutting edge it was quite comfortable. The seat lacked any substantial storage, I put my phone on the ledge beside me and my shoes under the foot rest but that was the extent of the storage. Given how much bedding there was you were hard pressed to store it all for takeoff, especially since most people didn't want to put it in the overhead bin when we were informed about the extended turbulence.

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I am quite tall at 6'4" but was able to lounge relatively easy. The length was a little short for my liking but I am sure it would fit most people quite comfortably. I got comfortable and watched a movie for about an hour and a half before the seatbelt sign was turned off the crew started the service. At this point about 2/3 of the cabin was asleep. The service director came over to me and asked if would be joining them for dinner. She quickly pulled out my tray table, laid down a table cloth and asked what I would like to drink. I ordered a glass of champagne. At fist the service director was quite curt and not very friendly but she ended up being incredibly lovely and took great care of me throughout the flight.

The meal was not served all at once but actually course by course. I received the salad along with a piece of garlic bread from the bread basket. Shortly after my main course was served, the chicken. I was torn between it and the beef but given it was the signature dish I opted for it. It didn't look particularly appetizing but it tasted alright. It was a little tough but it was supposed to have been served almost two hours ago so I was understanding. I enjoyed it with a lovely glass of Secret de Lunes Carignan Vieilles.

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My main course was cleared and I was asked if I would like to have dessert and given the option of fruit and/or a chocolate silk cake. I decided to go with both. The fruit was solid while the cake was absolutely amazing.

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Finally, I partook in the cheese course which was very enjoyable and served with a glass of port. That was quickly cleared away and I got comfortable and ready to sleep.

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I managed to sleep for about three hours which took me pretty much right to breakfast. I found the bed quite comfortable and it was fully lie flat. My two issues were the length and width around the shoulders but that is unique to me being so tall. Breakfast was quickly served on one tray minus the hot dish which came a few moments later. My tray included a yogurt which I hadn't ordered but I decided to have it. I had selected a croissant, a cup of coffee, fruit and the hot omelette dish.

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Overall, breakfast was good. The fruit was fresh and the omelette, sausage and potatoes were hot and tasty enough. The croissant wasn't great compared to the breakfast pastries you get on a lot of other carriers but the butter made it better.

Breakfast was cleared about halfway through our descent into Madrid. We landed pretty much right on time. The hallway the jet-bridge connects to was one of the coolest I have ever experienced in an airport.

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Verdict

Air Canada

8.1/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering7.0

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge International

8.8/10
Comfort10.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services8.5

Toronto - YYZ

10.0/10
Efficiency10.0
Access10.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Madrid - MAD

8.3/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

Overall, I enjoyed my flight on Air Canada's 767 business class. While the cabin and seats are dated I found them to be functional and comfortable enough for this short transatlantic flight. The food was entirely edible and some items were good but it didn't really blow me away. The service director who was serving me was absolutely incredible and really made the flight for me. Despite the almost two hour delay in starting the service it was still very attentive and friendly. I wouldn't hesitate to take the same flight again but it isn't at the top of my list, the hard product on the 777 and 787 aircraft is notably better in my opinion.

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3 Comments

  • Comment 479956 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4948 Comments

    Hi CanadianTrvlr, thanks for sharing your first report here with us! A well written first report! I'd thought that AC had transferred all those old 767s to Rouge by now, but I guess that's not the case. Big difference in Business class products between the 767s and the new 777 or 787 cabins. Not sure if AC are planning on keeping any 767s and if they will renovate them.

    Aside from being outdated, it's still a comfortable seat and doesn't have restricted foot space like many business class seats these days. The one thing I don't like about older herringbone seats is that they face the aisle so it's hard to see out the window and it makes you feel a bit exposed.

    AC offering a good experience as then often do. Good lounge and decent catering. Tip for future reports, landscape pics work best on the site.

    Again, nice report, hope to see more in the future.

    Welcome to Flight-Report!

  • Comment 481001 by
    hometoyyz SILVER 498 Comments

    Hello CanadianTrvlr, and thanks for sharing this debut report on the site. Nice to see someone another reporter doing interesting routes out of my homebase, and interesting to see how my ex-airline is keeping up these days.

    Good call on 8A... my favourite seat on the 763 for sure. And the only seat with a little extra storage thanks to that ledge between the seat and the closet.

    Unless I'm wrong, the 763s are out of the fleet and either Rouged or put out to pasture by end of 2019, but I think the 333s are here to stay, although I believe they're slated to get a refreshed seat... presumably along the lines of the 787/777 product, though obviously they'll have to make up some width somewhere on the much-narrower Airbus.

    I see breakfast hasn't changed. I'm not surprised. But that chicken dish. Oh wow. I'm glad it tasted alright, because it looks terrible from a visual point of view, and unimpressive from a content point of view. A bit disappointing that an flight departing at 23:00 gets the abbreviated service as the only meal choice. EVA leaving two hours later than that does the whole meal experience... for those who can stay awake for it. I do love the breakfast card idea. That was a smart little innovation when it was introduced.

    The mattress pad is new to me from AC. Must have been part of the Signature Service rebranding? Those seats were always comfortable for sleeping, so with a bit of extra cushioning, must have been all the better.

    I have to agree with you... that hallway/tunnel looks wild. Like the passage between the terminals at DTW, but turned up to 11 or 12.

    Great first report... thanks for sharing, and welcome to our merry band of miscreants. Looking forward to the rest of your series! And, to echo Kevin, welcome to Flight-Report.

  • Comment 482110 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 372 Comments

    Welcome to FR!. That main meal did not look appetizing at all I must say and definitely is a very poor presentation for a business class meal. Thanks for sharing your report!

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