Review of Air Canada flight Toronto Vancouver in Business

Airline Air Canada
Flight AC103
Class Business
Seat 1K
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 04:25
Take-off 22 Mar 15, 07:36
Arrival at 22 Mar 15, 09:01
AC   #53 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 287 reviews
hometoyyz
By SILVER 6922
Published on 22nd March 2015
After a few years of surfing FlightReports, I’ve decided to kick off contributing back to the community with this week’s trip from Toronto to Seoul, with a side trip to Hong Kong on the way home.

Booked in business class for 150,000 Aeroplan miles, this is a chance to explore Seoul for a few days, spend some quality time with Air Canada’s 787-8 all the way from Toronto to Seoul via Vancouver, try out my second 787 by way of Air India on an odd fifth freedom flight from Hong Kong to Seoul, and try Asiana’s A380 on the way home, from Seoul to Los Angeles.
Traveling only with carry-on luggage, armed with an electronic boarding pass on my phone, and arriving at Toronto Pearson at 5:30 am, it was a very quick trip through security and into Air Canada’s Domestic Maple Leaf Lounge just beyond security.

There, I was greeted by this scale model of my ride over to Seoul

photo IMG_1630

5:45 on a Sunday morning isn’t exactly prime time in the MLL, but this is the most quiet I’ve ever seen an Air Canada lounge, giving me a chance to get some shots of the seating areas without disturbing my fellow patrons.



There are a couple of service areas in the MLL. The first is this “satellite” bar away from the main buffet area. Because of Ontario’s liquor laws, the booze is still under lock and key at this early hour of the morning.

photo IMG_1771

And then there’s the main buffet, with a pair of coffee machines, juices, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, some fruit, and a hot buffet that includes little omelets, sausages, hash browns, and oatmeal. And another bar, equally locked up tight.



Since I knew I’d be having breakfast – and that inevitably means an omelet – on board, I settled on a little bowl of oatmeal with some maple syrup and dried cranberries, and a glass of orange juice. It hit the spot.

photo IMG_1781

After my little pre-breakfast, it was just about time to head down for boarding. Our plane today was C-GHQQ, fin 807, Air Canada’s second-newest 787, having been delivered to the airline in January. She’s just come off a YVR-PEK-YVR-YYZ run ending Saturday night.

Zone 1 was called right on time, and we were quickly on our way down to our ride. I had chosen seat 1K all the way through to Seoul. Some comments seem to indicate that row 1 is less than ideal because of the proximity of the galley, but I couldn’t resist the allure of having three windows all to myself – other rows in J “just” get two.

photo IMG_1786

The seat is Air Canada’s newest business class product, currently found only on the 787s, although the airline will retrofit all of its 777 fleet to include this new seat. In terms of just about any measure, and especially privacy and comfort, it is far ahead of the previous generation business class seats it replaces. It’s a lay-flat herringbone seat, which means window seats truly are window seats.

photo IMG_1783

The seat features a nice big 18-inch display, by far the biggest Air Canada offers, and a great way to watch a movie or some TV in-flight.

photo IMG_1784

The side panel towards the window has a little storage box that provides a suitable home for your smartphone or other small miscellany, as well as provides home for the touch-screen remote control for in-flight entertainment, and connectivity ports – a headphone jack, a power outlet, and a USB port.

photo IMG_1788

Unlike the previous generation of Air Canada “pods,” this new pod layers down into an enclosed area, which some travelers like and some don’t. I’ve head it described as “coffin-like,” although personally I don’t have a problem with it even when laid fully out. Here’s what it looks like in case you’re concerned about the coffin factor.

photo IMG_1789

Below that storage box on the panel are two simple controls for the seat – sit up and lay down, and a touch-screen display that offers much more granular control of your seating environment.

photo IMG_1785

For example, one screen gives you more full control over your seat position.

photo IMG_1808

A second screen controls the comfort of the seat, including inflating or deflating the air mattress that makes up the majority of the seat.

photo IMG_1807

And a third screen can be used to dim or brighten the windows and turn overhead lights on or off.

photo IMG_1806

There’s a fourth screen that contains options for calling a flight attendant, and setting a light to indicate whether you prefer not to be disturbed, or if you wish to be awoken when service time comes around. But I didn’t get a picture of that.

The table is folded over and stowed under the monitor, as seen above. When released, it slides back and folds over, ending a comfortable distance from the occupant, especially in a sitting position.

photo IMG_1800

The table can be sent back to its stowed position unfolded, providing a cocktail table for use away from mealtime, although the side panel also provides ample space for your drink and whatever else you might want to have out.

And of course, any discussion of the 787 would be incomplete without a look at its windows. These massive electrochromic windows are one of the biggest differentiators for Boeing’s newest plane, and they make quite a difference. Here they are all the way “open.”

photo IMG_1802

The dimmers in business class work for all windows assigned to a seat. Whether the occupant uses the touch screen control or the physical button below each window, all of the windows by the seat respond at the same time. Here are the windows half-way tinted.

photo IMG_1803

And here they are darkened out.

photo IMG_1804

The seat itself is quite comfortable in the sitting position, and the “relax” position on the controls provides a great place from which to sit back and catch a film. I didn’t put her back into the fully-flat “rest” position on this flight. I’ll get into that a bit on the way from Vancouver to Seoul.

Each seat was set up with a blanket, a full-sized pillow, and a cheap set of ear bud headphones when boarding began. Service began shortly after I finished my exploration of the pod. A pre-departure beverage and a menu was offered. Menu orders were taken by status shortly after the menus were distributed.

photo IMG_1792

After a short delay due to a flight data recorder needing a reset, we pushed back from our spot at gate D39, next to an A320.

photo IMG_1793

As with any early morning at Pearson, there was a lot of Air Canada metal on the gates, including AC’s smallest mainline jet, the Ebraer 190 in the foreground, and its largest jet, the 777-300ER in the background, which would be following us to YVR an hour later.

photo IMG_1794

After a quick, uninterrupted taxi, we were lined up and on our way. Especially from the front of the plane, it is truly impressive how quiet the 787 is, even on roll and during climb. Unfortunately, the location of the sun in front of us as we flew southwest made something of a blur of what could have been a nice shot of Toronto’s distinctive skyline.

photo IMG_1795

Soon enough, though, we were turned around and headed west towards our destination in Vancouver.

photo IMG_1796

And, of course, who can resist the opportunity to take a look backwards and get a shot of that big engine and the magnificent flex of the 787’s wing?

photo IMG_1797

Surely not I.

The seatbelt signs were turned off very quickly after takeoff, and proper noise-cancelling headsets were provided.

photo IMG_1798

Shortly after that, a hot towel was offered.

photo IMG_1799

And tables were set for breakfast.

photo IMG_1801

While their breakfast options are decent, this is not an area where Air Canada has really innovated very much in recent years. The starter, as usual, is a plate of sliced fruit, cinnamon or whole wheat bread, and some Greek yogurt. The cherry yogurt was a nice change from the more frequently seen plain yogurt. To accompany it, I grabbed an orange juice and a cup of coffee.

photo IMG_1809

And onto the main course we go. Again, a bog-standard Air Canada business class breakfast omelet. That’s not a bad thing. On recent flights, they’ve mostly featured a sweet fruit salsa as the accompanying sauce, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the more savoury red pepper relish.

photo IMG_1810

It was a satisfying breakfast, and a very familiar experience for the Air Canada frequent flier.

After breakfast, I settled back into the relax position, and put on Interstellar, which was a decent movie. With it over, it was time to check out the forward J lavatory. Because of its position behind the cockpit but ahead of door 1L, this isn’t exactly a fancy washroom. Unfortunately, no “loo with a view” like on many Air Canada widebodies.

photo IMG_1812

It’s a simple lav, with only a few amenities to be had.

photo IMG_1813

The only real decoration is this maple leaf pattern on the back wall, and an oversize mirror.

photo IMG_1815

The lavs between Business and Premium Economy, located immediately aft of doors 2L and R, are pretty much the same setup, with just one minor difference.

photo IMG_1823

It’s a long movie, so by the time its over and I’m back to my seat, we’re less than 90 minutes out Vancouver, flying over Calgary. The cabled remote control for the IFE can be used to display AirShow even while you watch something on the main screen, making it easy to keep track of the flight’s progress.

photo IMG_1816

After breakfast, water was offered a few times, although not quite frequently enough to keep my glass topped up. But just as I’m thinking that I should get up and get a drink, I smell a familiar and most welcome aroma – nuts warming in the galley oven. Sure enough, a few minutes later, the service director appears with the drink cart, distributing a mix of warmed almonds and cashews, and taking drink orders. I request a Caesar, and am asked if I want a single or a double. I have a long flight ahead of me, so discretion is the better part of valour in this case, and I settle for a single.

photo IMG_1818

This bar and nuts service usually precedes the meal on flights offering lunch and dinner on Air Canada, but on longer-haul breakfast flights, they do it post-meal. At the same time as the bar service, a flight attendant comes around with the “snack basket,” which includes Miss Vickie’s chips, and milk and dark chocolate bars from Lindt. I decline, since I’m not exactly wanting for food at this point – and besides, the very same snack basket is set up on the shelf ahead of 1G right next to me, so additional snackage is literally two steps away should I decide it’s important for my survival.

Bar service complete, I settle in and put on a documentary on Petra – although I’ve stayed away from the new release movies on recent flights, I’ve seen most of the interesting documentaries offered on the IFE on flights over the last few weeks. On the IFE systems on the newer Air Canada 777-300ERs, they offer fewer films on domestic flights than on international flights. I wonder if I’ll find an expanded selection when I settle in for the flight to Seoul?

We’re just starting over the Rockies, so the scenery out my windows is just starting to get interesting.

photo IMG_1819photo IMG_1821

As the documentary winds up, we begin our descent in earnest. The crew first picks up garbage, glasses, and other service items, and then comes back to collect the noise-cancelling headset. Soon enough, it’s computers away, seats back to fully upright, and tables away, as the mountains give way to the BC coast.

photo IMG_1828

We head past YVR and out over water, then make a 180-degree turn to head back to the airport coming east. We gently touch wheels to the ground, and this ride is just about coming to an end. Time to get ready for the long ride ahead.

photo IMG_1829

We quickly taxi in to gate 51, and disembark through door 2L. Time just for a quick look back at my ride to Vancouver before I head off to find the YVR International Maple Leaf Lounge.

photo IMG_1831
See more

Verdict

Air Canada

7.8/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic

7.0/10
Comfort7.0
Meal/catering7.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Services7.0

Toronto - YYZ

7.6/10
Efficiency9.0
Access7.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness8.0

Vancouver - YVR

7.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

All-in-all, a perfectly fine domestic business class flight, made all the better by being on the 787. Air Canada has recently started charging a premium of $300 for paid business class on its domestic and transborder routes when the flight is on its internationally-configured A330, 767, 777, or 787, but at least for now, eUpgrade and redemption requirements remain the same. While not the largest widebody in the fleet, the 788 is actually the second-smallest widebody AC operates, it has become the airline's flagship, with the best hard product the airline offers in business class.

Information on the route Toronto (YYZ) Vancouver (YVR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 15 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Toronto (YYZ) → Vancouver (YVR).


Useful

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

The average flight time is 4 hours and 43 minutes.

  More information

7 Comments

  • Comment 132197 by
    SKYTEAMCHC TEAM GOLD 8087 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report with us. It's a very good flight even better when you consider it's a domestic flight ( although a long one !) .
    You really had the lounge for yourself !
    The seat seems very comfortable with a lot of personnel space and a very good IFE. Maybe more color would have been nice ?
    Catering is nice and looks tasty and big enough for this flight.
    Looking forward to the next report !

    • Comment 312921 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 538 Comments

      Thanks!
      Arriving early can have it priveleges, but it feels weird, especially a lounge as large as this one!
      As for the colours, I think AC decided to go for more subdued and neutral this time around, after going with a very prominently blue theme on its previous generation J product, still found on the 777, 767, and 333. Personally, I like the colour scheme.
      AC's breakfast service on domestic/transborder flights is consistently good -- it's just that it's always the same three options with very little variety. I think a lot of frequent fliers wish they'd change things up a little bit every now and again.

  • Comment 132211 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5100 Comments

    Awesome first report. Lots of great detail, nice pics, and a good read overall. AC's 787 J product is definitely nice from this and other reports I've seen. I think the catering and presentation are miles ahead of what you get in US premium classes, even on the premium NYC-LAX/SFO transcon routes. The AC 787 is a beautiful aircraft inside and out--I find the tones of the cabin very classy and very fitting of AC's image. Looking forward to the next reports in what looks to be an interesting series of flights ahead.

    Welcome to Flight-Report!

    • Comment 312922 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 538 Comments

      The cabin, at least up front, is very well-suited to AC's image and to the 787. AC is updating its 777 fleet to include this J cabin over the next couple of years. The US carriers are making efforts to close the gap in terms of catering, but AC does a pretty good job on domestic/transborder J catering, although a little more variety would always be appreciated. Of course, AC seems to want to benchmark its premium products against UA, DL, and AA, but wants to benchmark the price and upgrade access policies for those cabins against SQ, CX, EK et all. We frequent fliers, of course, would prefer a little bit more U.S.-style access to J. Of course, it comes down to the old argument -- do US carriers' domestic premium products lag behind their peers in quality (and pricing) because they give it away for free to elites or very cheap to anyone on LMU? Or do they offer lots of upgrades and cheap LMUs because the product isn't great?

    • Comment 312923 by
      hometoyyz SILVER AUTHOR 538 Comments

      Thank you!

  • Comment 132248 by
    eminere™ 271 Comments

    Great report!

  • Comment 133276 by
    jetsetpanda 2295 Comments

    Welcome to FR and thank you for sharing this special report flying the 787. Love the interior of the WC with the leaves.

Login to post a comment.