This post will be an Air Canada Business Class Trip report from Vancouver to Tokyo Narita Airport. Hopefully I can start churning out my trip report posts which are actually really hard to do, in my opinion! Let’s get started. This is the continuation of my trip that I took to Australia via Tokyo, Guam, Bangkok, Hong Kong, and Taipei. My introduction for the trip report can be found here, and details on doing a similar redemption can be found in this post. This is my first trip report here, so go easy on me! Also I realize how bad my photography is and how much I miss. 😀
As Vancouver is a hub for Air Canada they have a Maple Leaf Lounge here. It’s certainly better than most US Domestic lounges, although there’s nothing special here.
It was fairly empty that day, so there were plenty of free seats. As well, there were drinks and some hot/cold food.
Air Canada Business Class Trip Report (Executive First)
Air Canada 003
Vancouver (YVR) – Tokyo Narita (NRT)
Wednesday, August 21
Arrive: 2:25PM (+1 day)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 11A (Business Class)
Air Canada brands this as Executive First although they’re reverting the branding back to international business class soon. Currently, they have a herringbone configuration which has been around for several years, affectionately called “pods.” They are present on nearly all of their long-haul fleets except the new high density 77W (777-300ER) aircraft which have a staggered seating arrangement, and the soon to come 787’s which have a brand new reverse herringbone layout. I wrote about the Air Canada 787 here. Off the top of my head, the other airlines that offer a herringbone configuration are Virgin Atlantic, Jet Airways, Air New Zealand, some Delta planes, and Cathay Pacific on their 747’s.
My first impression of the cabin was that the cabin seemed pretty due for a refresh as they’ve been here for quite a while. My seat was 11 A which was a window seat at the very end of the business class cabin, which is divided into two sections.
One thing that I hate the most about herringbone is that if you’re flying with someone it’s really hard to talk as there is a barrier or an aisle between seats. Here is a shot of the cabin:
My mom took one of the aisle seats.
A pre-departure beverage of orange or sparkling wine was offered.
Here is an Instagram shot just prior to takeoff:
After takeoff, we were given a hot towel, and some warm nuts. I had a sparkling water with the drink service.
Then tablecloths with a nice Air Canada were distributed.
The menu was as follows:
I had the Tuna appetizer and the Salad which was served on one tray with bread:
It was served chilled and not too bad. Thanks to my lack of elite status with Air Canada, I was stuck with the Beef Tenderloin. Unfortunately all the Star Golds and AC Elites took the Chicken and Salmon options. Of course we should all know by now that beef on a plane is generally not very good and it wasn’t an exception here.
My mom had the Japanese meal.
She also had some Cheese.
I had the sweet chocolate brownie which was quite good along with some mixed berries.
Generally I think with business class dining they attempt to make the most of food in the air but definitely not on par with restaurant food (in most cases). Soething reheated 35,000 feet in the air in bunches aren’t really going to be that consistent. First class is slightly different as the passenger and seats are much fewer, and they can afford to put stuff (like caviar and pricy champagne) on the menu that you usually wouldn’t be purchasing on the ground. The flight attendants then darkened the cabin and turned on mood lighting which was quite nice.
All the crew just disappeared into the galley after the meal service, and when I asked for some water after the meal the flight attendant said that they would come through the cabin every so often. Service so far was as expected with a North American airline. I don’t think I was once addressed by name, nor did the flight attendants seem remotely interested other than just performing the meal service satisfactorily . Certainly it was functional service and nothing out of the ordinary.
As I mentioned earlier, Air Canada uses a herringbone configuration for its current business class seats. While they’re perfectly fine for most people travelling separately, it is such a hassle trying to talk with your companion (in this case, my mom). I ended up taking a separate empty seat across the aisle from my mom to chat, and I found that it was easiest to talk if I sat crosslegged sideways on the seat, so I was almost facing her.
The load in business class was around 30%, so I took a few pillows and blankets from empty seats and did my own turndown service:
The other gripe I have about the seat in the siting position is that there is very little horizontal hip/leg room as your blocked by a divider on both your left and right. The seat is about 21″ which should be fine for people sitting normally in most cases but I found that even crossing my legs or trying to sit cross legged was very uncomfortable due to the fact that your knees would bang against the divider.
There would be the same issue in a sleeping position, in that I had little to no room to move my shoulders or arms when I’m sleeping. I sleep on my side, which is why I like my seats to be really wide (and the Singapore long-haul business class seat is my favourite business class configuration). So in this case there was little to no room to move my arms which was slightly uncomfortable but not that big of an issue. Every time I tried to I just ended up hitting the divider.
So I napped for around 20 minutes or an half an hour. I hoped to sleep longer but I’m an awfully light sleeper which doesn’t help when I’m trying to sleep on planes. Then I woke up and took a walk around the plane. The galley in Business Class (Executive First) had a nice mini-bar display with snack food and drinks. I think this is only present on Air Canada’s 777-300ER.
The washroom had a window and fruits and passion products.
Then I did some work on my MacBook and attempted to use the IFE but switched back to my own TV sitcoms and movies that I had put on my computer. I found image quality very weak and the headphones fairly poor as well. The IFE screen is touchscreen on these seats but quite old and have really bad contrast. They are loaded with Air Canada’s enRoute inflight entertainment systems which had a decent selection of movies and TV shows.
A few more photos and features about the seat. One of the good things about the herringbone configuration is that you have a decent amount of legroom and an ottoman instead of a cubbyhole to put your feet when you’re sleeping, so there’s a lot more space for your feet.
(Since a fellow blogger asked me, YES I AM WEARING PANTS HERE. LOL!)
On the left side of my seat there was a light with multiple brightness options.
There was also a small controller alongside the seat controls, which were fairly intuitive. With the press of a button you can go into full-flat (bed) mode.
There was also a universal power outlet underneath.
The tray table would pop out here.
On the right there is a storage area with a cupholder and space for other things.
I took a look through economy class which was a bit more full than the business class cabin.
Time flew by and before I knew it the second meal service began around an hour or two before landing in Narita. I had the Spinach Ravioli which was not bad. This was served with some fruit. I had a coffee.
It tasted better than it looked.
I took a few more shots of the cabin.
Overall I would rank my flight as fairly normal for a North American carrier. The service wasn’t really personalized nor sincere as it seemed like you were merely customers at a fast food chain and they were the cashier. There was very limited personal interaction and it felt like they were just going through the motions. But otherwise it was a solid North American Business Class TPAC flight – there was food and flat seats.
For paying less than $400 for this flight without taxes I’m not complaining! It’s always good to remember that we as miles/points travel hackers are extremely lucky to fly in premium classes all around the world for less than a regular economy class ticket. So just keep in mind all the programs I describe here are totally firstworld/firstclass problems. It’s just good to keep these reviews in mind IF you’re redeeming miles since relatively there are better carriers that you should redeem your miles on, unless you’re using Lifemiles in which case your stuck with whatever they give you. 😉
Then it was off to the ANA Business Class lounge in Tokyo!