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  • Ladi

Review Inaugural Flight AC19: Air Canada, 787–9, Business Class Vancouver (YVR) – Singapore(SIN)

Updated: Apr 12


 

Airline: Air Canada

Partnership: Star Alliance

Flight: AC19

Duration: 16 hours 15 Mins

Plane: Boeing 787 - 9

Seat: 4A

WiFi: No

Inflight Entertainment: High-Definition touchscreen

Inflight Meal: Dinner, Snacks, and Breakfast  

Snacks: Mid-Flight – Wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, coffee, tea, chips, granola bars, chocolate bars (Lindt dark and Kit-Kat) and Chicken Pot Pie.

Cost for this ticket: 118,066 Aeroplan points + Priority Reward

Points Earned: N/A on award ticket

 

Rating: 8.3

Seating Area: 9

Cabin Service: 8

In-Flight Entertainment: 8

Meals and Snacks: 8

 

Introduction


April 1st, 2024 marked a historic milestone for Air Canada, YVR Airport Authority in Vancouver (YVR), and Changi Airport in Singapore (SIN), as well as for myself. It was the day Air Canada operated its longest nonstop flight in history, spanning 16 hours and 15 minutes aboard the Boeing 787-9, bound for Singapore.


The aircraft chosen for this journey was remarkably new, with the captain informing us that there had only been a few flights prior to ours. Initially, the price for business class tickets ranged from $3,500 to $4,000. Given the significance of this historic flight, I opted to utilize a Priority Reward and Aeroplan points to book the flight. The Priority Reward reduced the cost by 50%, but even at that it was a substantial amount of points, totaling 118,066 points with Priority Reward applied and no other fees.


While I wouldn't typically recommend using such a large number of points for a flight, for me this occasion was undeniably exceptional and warranted an exception.

 

Check-in and Boarding

Upon arriving at the airport, my plan to film the arrival of the Boeing 787-9 coming in from Toronto, as indicated on the Air Canada app for incoming flights, hit a snag. Delays plagued me from the outset: traffic held me up on the way to the airport, followed by additional delays at security where my bag was meticulously inspected, seemingly out of sheer boredom. By the time I rushed to Air Canada's Maple Leaf Lounge, all I caught sight of was the tail of the aircraft pulling into the gate.


With six hours to spare until my flight, I settled in, only to learn from the check-in attendant that lounge access was limited to three hours. I was, however, permitted access with the three hour warning. It should be noted that the rule does not apply if you come in on another flight and have a long connection time, in which case you could access the lounge for more than three hours. In any event, determined to make the most of my time, I decided to push my luck and stay put in the lounge until boarding.


When I arrived at the gate, the atmosphere was lively and captivating, with film crews, cameras, and a DJ adding to the excitement. Senior executives from Boeing, Air Canada, and YVR Airport Authority were present to make announcements and bid farewell to the passengers, flight crew, and plane. It was quite the spectacle, as captured in both photos and the video I recorded.


Boarding proved to be swift and efficient, thanks to the abundance of gate attendants. I wasted no time in securing my seat as one of the first passengers to board the plane.




 

Seat Area (9/10)

Aircraft interior characteristics

Air Canada Signature Class

Premium Economy

Economy Class

Number of Seats

30

21

247

Configuration

1x2x1

2x3x2

3x3x3

Rows

1 - 8

12 - 14

18 - 46

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 currently has 31 787-9s in its fleet, and all have the same layout. This particular aircraft (Fin 861) entered service on February 15th, 2024. 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, a solid product. It has a reverse herringbone layout with a seat width of 21 inches (53 centimetres). There are 30 business class seats on the 787-9 (a more extended version than the 787-8), and on this flight, business class was full but for one seat. This one seat was reserved for the flight crew (so I was told). I did not see that it was used; I did get an excellent 8-hour sleep, so maybe it was used then.

 

I chose seat 4A for its two-window configuration to take some great pictures. That was the plan, however, the flight was in the dark for most of the time and the sun only came out about an hour and a half before we were supposed to land. Unfortunately, not a lot of picture opportunities from the window. I do have to say it felt rather eerie and weird flying in the dark that whole time. I mentioned this to a another passenger who agreed with me.


Seat 4A Business Class

Welcome gift - MerLion and a limited edition bag tag

Seat 4A proved to be an excellent choice, offering exclusive access to the overhead compartment directly above it. Positioned perfectly in the middle of the business class cabin, it provided convenient access to both the front and back bathrooms, as well as to the snacks stored at the front of the cabin. This location appealed to me due to the minimal foot traffic, affording me a peaceful journey.


Having the option to utilize either restroom, both equidistant from my seat, was a bonus. If one happened to be occupied, I could easily access the other without inconvenience. Personally, I preferred the spaciousness of the rear bathroom, a preference I'll illustrate later in this review with picture comparisons.


As a word of caution, based on my experience flying to Seoul (ICN), I advise against selecting seats 2D, 2G, 3D, or 3G as these seats lack overhead storage, necessitating the need to share space with passengers seated by the window.


Generally, the seat was quite comfortable with all the features you would expect in a business-class seat.



As noted in my previous reviews of similar seats on Air Canada flights, the adjustable armrest is a convenient feature. It can be raised when needed and lowered to create more space, particularly useful for sleeping. However, I found that the "massage" function was more subtle, providing a slight variable pressure adjustment rather than a pronounced effect.


As expected in business class, the seat transforms into a lie-flat bed, complete with a blanket, pillow, and mattress pad for added comfort during the flight.


One notable aspect of the seat is its ample counter space, ideal for organizing belongings upon settling in. However, I advise caution to ensure that all items are retrieved before disembarking, as belongings stored in various compartments can be easily overlooked. Personally, I prefer to consolidate my belongings in one location, utilizing the cubby hole under the counter, which conveniently houses the remote for the entertainment center.


Indeed, a section of the counter conveniently lifts to unveil the cubby hole storage space I mentioned earlier. Inside this storage bin, you'll discover a range of useful amenities, including a 110V AC power outlet, a USB charging port, and the headphone jack. This designated area proves to be a convenient spot for storing and charging your electronic devices throughout the flight.


Additionally, you'll find the remote for the in-flight entertainment screen nestled within the storage bin. Despite the entertainment screen being touch-sensitive, having the remote at hand can be advantageous, especially when reclined and navigating through the various entertainment options.


Accessory locations

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



The light attached to the headrest proves to be quite practical, particularly for nighttime reading or working on a laptop. I find it preferable to the overhead light because it allows for better adjustment of the light angle, catering to individual preferences and ensuring optimal illumination for tasks at hand.


Cabin Services (8/10 Points)


Cabin Staff

The staff on this flight exuded exceptional energy and enthusiasm, likely due to the significance of it being the inaugural flight and making Air Canada aviation history. Overall, the service was outstanding, and the staff, under the guidance of Judy, demonstrated a pleasant demeanor throughout the journey. It was a nice touch for Judy to introduce herself at the start of the flight, adding a personal touch to the service.


I appreciated the attention to detail, such as the offer to hang up my jacket, which had been somewhat lacking in previous experiences. Near the end of the flight, the inflight director came by to inquire about my experience and express gratitude for choosing their airline. These small gestures contribute significantly to the overall positive experience of the flight.


Amenity Kit


Air Canada has now introduced Acqua Di Parma amenities, a welcomed upgrade from previous offerings. The new yellow amenity kits are notably larger, a feature I appreciate as it increases the likelihood of finding a use for them back home.


Inside the amenity kit, you'll find a range of essentials, including socks, a comfortable eye mask, ear plugs, hand cream, lip balm, and a dental kit complete with a toothbrush, mouthwash, Colgate toothpaste,  dental floss and glass cleaning cloth.




Restrooms

The restrooms aboard the Boeing 787-9 are of sufficient size, featuring attractive grey decorative wallpaper on one wall adorned with tree branches and maple leaves. While the front restroom lacks a window, the one located on the right side at the back of the business class cabin boasts a window and appears more spacious.


Both restrooms are well-equipped with amenities such as hand cream and hand wash, and I found them to be consistently clean during my visits. Additionally, there is ample headroom when standing, as illustrated in the accompanying pictures.


Back of the business class washroom

Window View from the back bathroom

Front washroom


In-flight Wi-Fi


On May 15, 2023, Air Canada made a significant announcement by introducing free messaging for all Aeroplan members. This service supported popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, iMessenger, and Google Chat, allowing passengers to stay connected during their flights.


However, during my recent flight, despite being aboard one of Air Canada's newest Dreamliners, there was no Wi-Fi available. This left me perplexed, especially considering the airline's recent efforts to enhance connectivity. After speaking with the captain, I learned that there was a dispute with the installer of the Wi-Fi system on the aircraft. Unfortunately, this issue would not be resolved in time for the next few Dreamliners set to be delivered, meaning that passengers on those flights would also face a similar dilemma.


While I appreciated being among the first to embark on this long journey aboard a brand-new Dreamliner, the absence of Wi-Fi was a disappointment. Access to Wi-Fi could have allowed me to share updates with family, friends, and fellow social media followers, adding an extra layer of excitement to the experience.



Entertainment (8/10 points)


As I've highlighted in previous reviews, Air Canada's inflight entertainment system continues to impress with its comprehensiveness and user-friendly interface. The 18-inch High-Definition touchscreen offers a vast array of entertainment options, including a diverse selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games. With such a wide range of choices, passengers are sure to find something to keep them entertained throughout a typical long-haul international flight.



In my previous review I came across an intriguing option in the movie section called "Watch with friends." This feature allows passengers to enjoy a movie night at 35,000 feet with up to three companions. It's a fantastic way to make the flight experience more social and enjoyable, allowing travelers to share their favorite films and bond over shared entertainment choices while cruising through the skies. Jason and I will test this when we fly as a travel pals.



In business class, Air Canada provides noise-canceling headphones, although I found their quality to be average compared to my recent purchase of Apple iPod Max headphones, which I absolutely love. While Bose headphones are impressive, I made the switch to iPod Max because they offer 20 hours of listening time and superior noise-canceling capabilities. However, I still appreciate my Bose headphones and continue to use them alongside my new favorite. Perhaps I'll delve into a comparison of all my headphones in another review let us know in comments if this is something you would like us to do.


Air Canada noise cancelling headphones

Meals and Snacks (8/10 points)


This flight included a complete dinner meal with a mid-flight snack and breakfast.

 

Air Canada has been boasting about its new inflight dining menu, and I was eager to see what culinary delights awaited. The Seared Ahi Tuna appetizer kicked off the meal on a high note; I must say, it deserves top marks for its delicious flavor.


For the main course, the options were enticing, including Creamy Dijon Chicken leg, Teriyaki Glazed Salmon, Grilled Veal Striploin, and Basil Chicken. After much deliberation, I opted for the basil chicken, and I was not disappointed. The dish was bursting with flavor, perfectly complemented by the steamed jasmine rice. The combination of the rice, bok choy, and tender chicken was simply delectable.


To accompany my meal, I chose a glass of Pinot Noir, a classic choice that never disappoints. Overall, the dining experience onboard Air Canada was a delightful culinary journey that left me thoroughly satisfied.


Basil Chicken

In-flight Snack


Unfortunately, I missed out on the inflight snack tray service as I was fast asleep, but I later learned that Air Canada had expanded their snack options compared to previous flights.


Following the dinner service, an assortment of snacks was available at the front of the cabin near seats 2D and 2G. The snack selection included Miss Vickie's original flavor chips, Lindt dark chocolate bars, Made Good Granola bars, and Kit-Kat bars. I was also pleased to see the return of the basket of fruit, a welcome addition from Air Canada.


For those seeking a heartier option, chicken pot pie with potato wedges and dark chocolate was also available upon request. While I'm no expert on chocolate pairing with savory dishes, I couldn't help but think that a Kit-Kat bar might be a more fitting choice alongside the Chicken Pot Pie.



Chicken pot pie

Just before landing, breakfast was served with the option of Singapore noodles with overnight oats or omelette with turkey breakfast sausage. Without hesitation, I opted for the Singapore noodles, and I must say, it was a fantastic choice. Personally, I would highly recommend the Singapore noodles over the omelette to anyone considering their breakfast option.


Singapore noodles

Conclusion


Wow, what an incredible flight to be a part of history! We even got the firetruck salute when we entered the gate in Singapore. Experiencing what I did on this journey as an avid flyer and aviation enthusiast was truly unforgettable. Words can hardly capture the excitement and joy I felt, and I eagerly look forward to more inaugural flights from Air Canada, or any other airline for that matter.


This particular route, connecting Southeast Asia to Canada with just one stop in Vancouver, offers unparalleled convenience. Being a major Star Alliance partner only adds to the appeal of this partnership and the airports involved.


During this flight, I learned a few interesting tidbits. It turns out that the crew spends 36 hours at the destination prior to the flight, adjusting to the time change. Additionally, I discovered that the pilots on inaugural flights are all management pilots, adding to the spirited atmosphere onboard. Furthermore, I found out that these same pilots often operate empty flights for maintenance purposes between destinations. Learning about the extensive testing on flights and equipment during these non-revenue flights gave me a reassuring sense of Air Canada's commitment to safety.


Would I do this flight again? Absolutely! I'm already eagerly anticipating my next opportunity to embark on this journey. And, fingers crossed, I've booked economy class for the return flight and hope for an upgrade. Stay tuned for the upload of the video from this flight on our YouTube channel - make sure to subscribe and don't miss out!


Final Destination

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210 views2 comments

2 commenti


Glen Yee
Glen Yee
11 apr

Excellent review! Rather bizarre with no wifi on a newer plane though. Do you recall which fin number it was?

Mi piace
Ladi
17 apr
Risposta a

Hi Glen, than you for taking the time and providing us with feedback. This Dreamliner fin number is 861 and this plane entered service on the 15th of February, 2024.

Mi piace
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