In my previous flight report, http://flight-report.com/en/report-8762.html, I traveled to Tel Aviv from Toronto on one of Air Canada's brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners in their brand new Premium Economy cabin. In this flight report, I will journey to Toronto from Tel Aviv - also on one of Air Canada's brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliners - however, this time, I will travel in their brand new International Business Class cabin.
My first journey to Israel was very enjoyable and quite memorable. It was truly a resplendent experience - loaded with a substantial amount of luxury, hospitality and amazing cuisine! So you can learn more about my journey, please review the following video:
Once I checked out of the amazing Dan Tel Aviv Hotel, I traveled about 20 minutes by taxi to Ben Gurion International Airport where I was once again met by Yardenna who, in her role as an Air Canada Concierge, assisted me through the unique airport screening processes. Understandably so, Israel has some of the most intense security screening protocols in the world. Without going into a lot of detail regarding what travelers experience, this much I will say: Plan to arrive at the airport 3-4 hours before your flight - even if you are holding a ticket in a Premium cabin. Additionally, if you have previously traveled to countries which are not friendly with Israel, you should expect to receive special, and possibly extensive, screenings. It is VERY true that the multi-layered passenger screening process is over-engineered and very thorough - which is why every flight departing Tel Aviv are by far, the most secure in the world.
Once I cleared security, Yardenna led me to the shared airline lounge which happens to be managed by Dan Hotels (the same Israeli hotel chain which owns the hotels where I was based: The King David Hotel (Jerusalem) & The Dan Tel Aviv Hotel (Tel Aviv). As we strolled along the concourse, Yardenna pointed out the historical photos of a few key historical moments which occurred at the airport:
Once it was time to board, Yardenna led me to the departure gate and once I stepped aboard this newest of Air Canada Dreamliners (Ship 805 was delivered to Air Canada 23 days before this particular flight), I then made an immediate left turn to the spacious and inviting International Business Class cabin which is very exclusive: Only 20 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration. Once I arrived at my seat (3K), I was offered a choice of fresh Orange Juice or Champagne. After boarding was complete, we pushed back and a few moments later we were airborne.
Air Canada's next generation EnRoute entertainment system is exponentially impressive in the International Business Class cabin. I was impressed with the individual 18 High Definition screen, which are some of the largest within any premium cabin in the North American market. Even though the screen does offer a multitude of touchscreen abilities, I found myself quickly dismissing that and rather opting to use the touchscreen remote control (which is located within the covered storage bin adjacent to slide out tray table - this bin also contains the conveniently placed USB and AC power outlets which include a cable passthrough so you can close the bin's lid without having it rest on your cables). This touchscreen remote control is by far one of the most ingenious devices I have experienced in a premium cabin; Its multifunction abilities are easy to use and from it, you are able to select all types of audio & video programming just by reviewing your options on the device (without disturbing what you currently have playing on the 18 screen). Much like a DVR, you can control any segment of a movie or television show that you wish to view. Since this device acts very much in the same manner as a smartphone (by the way, there is a phone function on this device), you can watch the movie or TV show of your choice on the 18 HD screen, while allowing Airshow to play on the remote control's touch screen. Additionally, you can coordinate meals and order drinks and snacks from this device! Of course, an inflight entertainment system such as this is accompanied by a wonderful pair of noise cancelling headphones.
The amenity kit is quite pleasant with woolen cover and magnetic clasp. The kit contains such thoughtful amenities such as eye mask, ear plug (which you really won't need since the Dreamliner is sooooo quiet), socks and a greatly appreciated breath mint! It also includes some wonderful organic and very Canadian products from Escents Aromatherapy.
The dining in Air Canada's new International Business Class was even more impressive than what the airline offered previously! The creativity of the dishes and the flavors of each course clearly were impressive and harmonious at the same time.The appetizer was very tasty and fresh: Gravlax with Orange wedges and Honey Mustard sauch. For my entree, ordered the Grilled Sea Bass with herbed tomato salsa, couscous / lentil mix and broccoli. Now I realize that there are detractors out there that tell travelers to steer clear from eating fish on an airplane - and normally, I heed that advice. However, I figured since the fish was sourced locally in Israel (remember, this flight is departing Israel for North America), I decided to give it a shot. Just like Tal (my flight attendant) mentioned, the Sea Bass in Israel is some of the best in the world - and she was sooooooo right! The freshness of the fish had me wondering if the fish had been caught hours earlier! It was just that good. The couscous was delicious and broccoli were quite crisp! After enjoying my wonderful entree, a cheese board with wine were offered (the cheeses were: Camembert & Swiss Emmental). And for the pièce de résistance, a wonderful Pear & Pineapple Pistachio tart (I asked the flight attendant to add some fresh pineapple to my plate since she offered it - and I was craving it).
One thing that bears repeating from my last report: I believe the built-in lower flight pressurization and greater cabin humidity of the Dreamliner (which lessens jet lag) had a MAJOR impact on my ability to savor the flavors of the meal that I enjoyed. I'm not sure if this is the case - but, never before have I enjoyed an inflight meal as I did with this flight. Research has proven that taste buds are weakened during flights, so maybe Boeing has tapped in on additional benefits with this new technology.
I am still amazed about the space that is offered on the Dreamliner, and this is further enhanced with the amenities passengers are afforded in Air Canada's International Business Class cabin. Each very private pod is replete with high-tech and thoughtful creature comforts which are beyond impressive (…and an airline first: An integrated rubbish bin!)! Let's start with the lie-flat seat: This 80 wonder is a joy even for someone my size! Once fully flat, the bed is longer than I am tall (the bed is 80 and I'm 72.4 inches), and there's plenty of shoulder room (With other airlines, most pod-type seats lack ample shoulder space - so if you are big guy like me, you end up with a poor sleep experience). In addition, if you happen to be a stomach sleeper, you will find yourself quite at home with this perfectly engineered wonder. The seat can be electronically adjusted from the carefully placed multifunction touch screen panel which allows passengers to easily adjust their seat to an easy recline, all the way to fully flat - and even then you don't need to get out of your seat, which is a first for an airline! The seat also includes a wonderful head & back massage function (which is also unique - since most airlines only offer back massage abilities). Additionally, the touch screen panel will allow passengers to electronically adjust window darkness/brightness, contact flight attendants, activate the individual Do Not Disturb as well as the Wake for Meals light on the pod. The sleep quality with Air Canada's International Business Class seat is amazingly great and it is the best I have experienced to date (I slept about 5 hours straight on my 11 hour flight to Toronto!).
About 90 minutes before arriving in Toronto, another entree was served. I chose the Roasted Herb Chicken Breast with Balsalmic sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Edamame and Red Pepper medley. This dish was also very delicious. It's rare that you can enjoy moist chicken on a flight - and I think this has to do with the fact that the ovens on Air Canada's Dreamliners are all steam-based (and this is the case for all meals enjoyed in every class of service).
Upon my arrival in Toronto, I was met by one of Air Canada Concierges who guided me through Customs and then to Baggage Claim before I headed to my UBER ride to the boutique hotel: The Ivy at Verity……more on this great experience in my next flight report which will highlight my journey back to Los Angeles on Air Canada. In the meantime, please view the following video on my flight in Air Canada's International Business Class Cabin…..
…..and you can catch a glimpse of my visit to Israel by viewing the following video.
Special thanks to Brian Dunn - Editor, Canadian Aviation News, for his permission to allow me to use his photo for my cover page - as this is the actual aircraft which I flew and featured in this report. Please view Brian's page here:https://canadianaviationnews.wordpress.com/
Independent Dan Lounge
Tel Aviv - TLV
Toronto - YYZ
Another thing that bears repeating....
If you have never flown on the Dreamliner, I strongly recommend that your maiden voyage be with Air Canada! The inflight service is amazing and the flight crew is genuinely Canadian: Very friendly and pleasant! Additionally, the value of flying Air Canada's International Business Class cabin is far higher than what some airlines may charge: Upwards to 3 times more than what Air Canada charges in its most premium cabin. More importantly, the seats are very private, innovative and comfortable.
Flying on the Dreamliner is a joy and I am very happy that my first roundtrip flying this aircraft was with Air Canada. The key thing that I tell everyone is that just because an aircraft is fantastic, it doesn't necessarily mean that every airline flying that aircraft will have an impressive inflight product. Fortunately for me, I know that Air Canada's premium inflight product is always superior and I have never been disappointed.
One last thing: Air Canada recently announced that they will expand Dreamliner flight services to Delhi and Dubai November 2015. Please review Air Canada's official Dreamliner page to keep track of the destinations that this great aircraft with Air Canada's services will visit: https://787.aircanada.com/en/
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