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Flight Review: Air Canada, 777-300ER, Business Class Vancouver (YVR) - Toronto (YYZ)

Updated: Feb 6, 2023


 

Airline: Air Canada

Flight: AC188

Duration: 4 hours 21 mins

Plane: Boeing 777-300ER

Seat: 10A - Business

Wi-Fi: Yes (COnfirm)

Inflight Entertainment: 18 inch touch screen [check]

Inflight Meal: Full Hot Meal

Snacks: Chips and Chocolate

Cost for this ticket : 28,111 points and $33.73 [check]


 

Rating: 7.1

Seating Area: 8

Cabin Service: 6

In-Flight Entertainment: 8

Meals and Snacks: 6.5


Introduction


In October 2021, I took my first flight in almost 18 months from Vancouver to Toronto on a 787-800 with Air Canada in Business class, and, yes, I have a perma-grin under that mask. I purchased my ticket using 28,111 Aeroplan points and $33.73 in taxes, a significant savings compared to the cash price of $1,200.


As with most airlines, masks were required to be worn throughout the flight unless you were eating, drinking, or taking medication.


The 787 Dreamliner is by far one of my favourite planes, but I have to say, this one was showing its age. My seat, for example, had to be rebooted by the cabin attendant in order for the cushion firmness setting to work. As well, the headphone jack had a crackling notice which required some wiggling of the headphone jack to get crisp sound.


Seating Area (8/10)Can

Aircraft interior characteristics

Air Canada Signature Class

Premium Economy

Economy Class

Number of Seats

20

21

214

Configuration

1x2x1

2x3x2

3x3x3

Rows

1 - 5

12 - 14

18 - 42

Seat Pitch

Individual pod

96.5 cm (38 in)

78.7 cm (31 in)

Seat Width

53.3 cm (21 in)

49.5 cm (19 in)

43.2 cm (17 in)

Seat Recline

Fully lie-flat bed

17.8 cm (7 in)

12.7 cm (5 in)

Air Canada only has eight 787-800's in its fleet and all have the same layout. Business class seats (called "Signature Class" on Air Canada) are in a 1-2-1 configuration, with each seat having direct aisle access.


On its 787s, Air Canada uses the Rockwell Collins Super Diamond seat, which is a solid product. It has a reverse herringbone layout with a seat width of 21 inches (53 centimeters). There are only 20 business class seats on the 787-800 (which is a shorter version than the 787-900) and on this flight business class was full.

Air Canada 787-800 seat layout

I chose seat 5A as this was all that was available since I booked relatively late. It would not have been my first choice. On the upside, seat 5A, being located at the back of the business class cabin is quiet and offers privacy. The down side is that the seat does not have any window. My preference would have been 4A or 4D as these seats are still relatively quiet and peaceful at the back of the cabin, but have windows. I would caution against picking seats 4B, 4C, 5B, or 5C as those seats do not have overhead storage so you will be sharing with the window passengers.


Generally, the seat was quite comfortable with all the features you would expect in a business class seat. It also has a handy adjustable armrest which can be raised when you want to use it or lowered out of the way when it's not needed (for example, I would recommended lowering it when sleeping as it gives you that much more room). The only complaint I had with the seat was that the air cushions malfunctioned which required the software to be reboot. Fun fact for the techies out there, the seat software uses Red Hat (I saw the boot cycle). My final comment on these seats is that the "massage" function is more akin to a slight variable pressure adjustment, not a very prominent effect.


As expected in business class with a lie flat seat, a blanket, pillow and mattress pad is provided.


Seat 5A (windowless)

For a 360 view of seat 5A and the cabin, click here.


Business Class cabin

The seat has ample counter space which is useful to place your belongings as you get settled into your seat.

Counter space

Part of the counter lifts up to reveal a storage space with outlets. Inside the storage bin, you will find a 110V AC power outlet, one USB charging port and the headphone jack. This is a convenient spot to store and charge your electronics during your flight. The storage bin is where you will also find the remote for the in flight entertainment screen. While the screen is a touch screen, sometimes it's nice, particularly when reclined, to just use the remote.


Storage Bin

The touch screen controls for the lighting, service button, and seat controls are on the chair's armrest.


Digital seat controls

Light settings

Comfort controls

Digital seat controls

There is a light on your headrest, which is useful if you wish to read a book at night.

Headrest lighting

Cabin Services (6/10 Points)


Cabin Staff

Generally the service was good and the staff were pleasant enough. I did notice that there was no offer to take coats to store in the closet as I have experienced with past flights. I miss those little details but I assume this is perhaps related to new pandemic procedures. It was also nice that the primary inflight host came by near the end of the flight to check on how I was enjoying the flight.


Personal Protective Kit

Once we sat in our seats, the inflight service personnel handed out a personal protective equipment kit. The kit comes with two individually wrapped hygienic wipes, three single-use hand sanitizers, and a disposable face mask. I would have preferred that the kit had been waiting at my seat so I could have wiped down my seat area before getting comfortable.

Contents of the Personal Protective Kit
In-flight Wi-Fi

I was disappointed to find that Wi-Fi was not available on my flight. I find this to be a relatively important feature in a business class cabin. It appears that seven of Air Canada's eight 787-800s have Wi-Fi. As luck would have it, I was on the one plane that isn't equipped with Wi-Fi. So, if you need Wi-Fi, make sure you pick a flight that has a plane equipped with this feature. Of course, on that point, beware that Air Canada does make equipment changes so despite your best laid plans, you may end up being out of luck.


The table below shows the Wi-Fi pricing in Canadian dollars which, as noted, is only available on select planes.

Package

Duration

Price (Cdn$ or Aeroplan points)

Browser Pass

1 Hour

$7 or 700 points

Full Flight

$11.25 or 1500 points

All Day

$34.95

Ultimate Pass (Includes Streaming)

1 hour

$13.75 or 1400 points

Full Flight

$24 or 2400 points

Air Canada Plan

North America

$65.95 / Month

Global

$89.95

Entertainment (8/10 points)

The inflight entertainment system is comprehensive and straightforward to navigate on the 18 inch High-Definition touchscreen. It had a good selection of movies, TV shows, music and games, more than enough to keep one occupied on a flight from Vancouver to Toronto.

In Flight Entertainment System

Air Canada supplies noise cancelling headphones in business class. The quality is fairly average and not as good as the Bose headphones I use. As I noted above, when I tried out the headphones there was a crackling and it required a lot of wiggling of the jack to get rid of the crackling sound. When I fly business class, I expect things to work. My experience with the seat needing to be rebooted and the crackling headphone jack suggests that the aircraft is starting to show its age.

















Meals and Snacks (7/10 Points)

This flight included a full lunch meal.

In Flight Menu

Meal Options / Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Bar Menu

The smoked salmon appetizer was very good and I have to give it top marks. There was ample salmon. The bread, however, wasn't warm. To make matters worse, the butter was cold and hard making it impossible to even spread on the bread. It seems like a simple solution would be serve margarine as well. The "Welcome Back" cookie was a nice touch. I also ordered a black coffee which came in a ceramic cup. Also, the salt and pepper shakers were also ceramic (thumbs up).



The hot meat meal choice was either chicken breast or vegetarian couscous. As delicious as that sounds, I went with the chicken breast in a creamy porcini sauce. I found the meal lacked flavour and was somewhat salty.


Chicken breast in a creamy porcini sauce
In-flight Snack

Part way through the flight, after the lunch service, an inflight snack was served in a clear plastic bag. The snack consisted of Miss Vickie's (Canadian) original flavour chips, a Lindt dark chocolate bar, and hand wipes. Putting aside that the presentation was lacking (I am assuming that the plastic bag was a covid precaution), this was an okay snack. I have to say, however, that I miss the Kit-Kat bars, granola bars, and fruit served in pre-covid times.

Snack bag
Snacks

Conclusion

While I feel like the hard product on Air Canada's 787-800 is showing its age, the seat itself is comfortable enough with plenty of storage and space. Seat 5A was fine if you are looking for a quiet spot and don't have an urge to look out the window. I enjoyed my flight and I wouldn't hesitate to fly this route again in business class with Air Canada in the future.


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