Air Canada Domestic Business Class – Edmonton to San Francisco

Starting on May 1, 2018, Air Canada began a new non-stop service from Edmonton to San Francisco.  As part of the schedule announcement, there was a seat sale, so we purchased some business class tickets for the first weekend in May – which just happened to coincide with my birthday.

As the flight left in the afternoon, I went to work for half a day, then came home at 1:30 pm to get ready to head to the airport around 2:15 pm.  As we had to pre-clear U.S. customs, we needed some extra time for that.  But as we were just taking carry-on, and we have Nexus cards, we didn’t anticipate much of an issue there.  However, our main concern was that on the previous day a new shopping outlet complex opened up right next to the Edmonton Airport.  As no new exit was created from the highway to this new outlet mall, all the mall traffic would be using the airport exit.  We didn’t know how crazy the traffic would be, so wanted to give ourselves lots of time.  However, once we got to the airport, the traffic was fine, so we were plenty early for our flight.  Especially since the inbound plane was delayed 45 minutes.

We had plenty of time and stopped by to chat with the Edmonton Air Canada concierges for a bit.  My husband travels a lot, and has gotten to know Akemi, Colleen and Jessica quite well. Because we were quite early, the concierges wondered if we could go through domestic security to access the Maple Leaf Lounge (there is no Maple Leaf Lounge in the U.S. departures terminal).  One of the concierges walked us to security, but we were told that because we had a U.S. destination on our boarding pass, we couldn’t go in.  So, we just walked back to U.S. departures to head to our gate.

Even though there was hardly anyone in line for security, it took forever as the security agents felt compelled to examine each and every tray that my husband put through the scanner.  I got through without any issue.  After that, we used our Nexus cards to use the Global Entry kiosks, and then continued on to the departure gates.

As the San Francisco flight had only started up a couple days ago, one of the concierges thought that we might only get a cheese plate as our meal on the flight.  Since we had time, we grabbed a drink and some chocolate croissants from Starbucks to tide us over.

The flight was originally supposed to depart at 4:20pm, but due to the delayed inbound plane, we didn’t start boarding until 5:00pm.

Air Canada 8743 (operated by Air Canada Express – Jazz)
Edmonton (YEG) – San Francisco (SFO)
Thursday, May 3, 2018
Depart: 4:20pm
Arrive: 6:20pm
Duration: 3hr00
Aircraft: CRJ-900
Seats: 4D & 4F (Business Class)

 

The CRJ-900 is a narrow body aircraft.  Business class has 12 seats across 4 rows in a 1-2 configuration.  These are your standard domestic recliner seats with a width of 21 inches and a pitch of 37 inches.  There was actually quite a lot of leg room.

Economy class has 64 seats in a 2-2 configuration.  As this is a small plane, the economy seats are a little narrower (17 inches) than a typical domestic seat (at 18 inches).  However, they have the same pitch at 31 inches.  All seats have inflight entertainment built into the seat backs, along with a USB port.  There was also an AC power outlet next to the seatback entertainment system. There is one lavatory at the front of the plane for business class, and one at the back of the plane for economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CRJ-900 business class seat

CRJ-900 business class seat

On the armrests between the seats was a spot for beverages.

On the other arm rest was the headphone jack and a button to recline the seats.  Above the seat was an individual light and an air nozzle.

The tray table folded out from the arm rest.  The tray can be folded in half or used in its full width.

The seat backs had the inflight entertainment system, along with a USB and AC power outlet. The entertainment system had a decent selection of movies and TV shows.  I ended up watching the movie “Black Panther”.

Inflight entertainment system with USB and AC power points

Boarding the plane was a little on the slow side, as the overhead bins on the CRJ-900 are too small to fit most roller bags, so many people were confused as to where to store their bags.  After most of the passengers were boarded, the flight attendant came around offering small bottles of water.  Shortly after that, we were offered complimentary earbud headsets – which we declined as we had our own.

The captain made an announcement that maintenance personnel had arrived to fix an issue with one of the lavatories.  But, apparently they didn’t fix it, because later on there was an announcement that only working lavatory for the flight would be the one at the front of the plane.  I was worried that there would be a lot of traffic going past our seat, but it actually wasn’t that bad.  I didn’t use the lavatory myself, but my husband said it was quite teeny.

They finally closed the door at 5:23pm, and pushed back shortly after. We sat on the tarmac for a bit while the safety video played.  During that time, the flight attendant came around with the meal menus – so it was nice to see that we were going to get more than just a cheese plate.

Meal menu

For those in economy class, food and alcoholic drinks are available for purchase through Air Canada Bistro.

At 5:33pm, we were in the air.

Edmonton International Airport

About half an hour after taking off, the flight attendant came by to take our meal orders.  I ordered the chicken piri piri, and my husband ordered the cheese tortellini.

Shortly after that, the flight attendant came around with the hot towels, and then 10 minutes later he brought out the drink cart.  I ordered a vodka and cranberry juice.  The flight attendant gave me two bottles of vodka and the entire can of cranberry juice.  I guess I looked like someone that would be wanting a second drink!  A package of almonds was served with the drink.

At 6:30 pm the meal was served with the salad, main course and dessert all on one tray. The chicken meal seemed to be served first. After everyone was served, the flight attendant came around with bread basket, offering white or whole wheat buns.

Piri Piri chicken meal

Cheese tortellini meal

The food was actually fairly good.  About half an hour later, the trays were cleared.  Then about 15 minutes after that, the flight attendant came around with a snack basket containing chips and chocolate bars.  I helped myself to a KitKat.

After that, we had about an hour left on our flight to San Francisco.  We landed in San Francisco at 7:12 pm local time.  It was a quick taxi to the gate, and we were off the plane before we knew it.

Other than the flight delay, it was a very pleasant flight.  It seemed to take a while for the drink and meal service to get started, but once it did, it went by quite quickly.  The CRJ-900 was a comfortable plane, and I would definitely fly it again.

Review: Air Canada Domestic Business Class Vancouver to Edmonton


Our flight from Taipei arrived at 11:10am, and we were one of the first few people off the plane. We headed to Canada Customs, and with our Nexus pass we were through customs and immigration within minutes. We continued to our domestic flight – having to go through security again. I’m not sure why this has to be the case at the Vancouver airportg, as we are in a sterile corridor after leaving customs.

I had noticed that there was a 12:40pm flight to Edmonton, so when we got to the domestic Maple Leaf Lounge, we checked to see if we could get on the earlier flight (as we didn’t have any checked luggage). However, there was only 1 seat available in business class, and as we had paid for business class tickets, we didn’t want to have one of us stuck in economy.  So, we just hung out in the lounge until our 2:00pm flight.

We headed to the gate at 1:20pm. Our gate (Gate 30) was literally just across from the lounge, so we didn’t have far to go. The inbound flight had come in late, and passengers were still deplaning when we got here. However, they did a quick turn around, and started boarding at 1:30pm.

Air Canada 242
Vancouver (YVR) – Edmonton (YEG)
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Depart: 2:00pm
Arrive: 4:29pm
Duration: 1hr32
Aircraft: A319-100
Seats: 3A & 3C (Business Class)

 

The business class cabin has a total of 14 seats in a 2-2 configuration – which is the same as the A320-200 plane we flew from Edmonton to Vancouver.  The seats are your standard domestic business class seats with a 38 inch pitch.  The difference between the A320-200 and the A319-100 is that the A319 has 106 standard economy seats (with no preferred seating section).

The plane was completely full.  In fact, it was oversold and they were asking for volunteers to take a later flight.  As it had been a long day of travel, we were not interested in giving up our seats.  We did make sure to be one of the first people on so that we could fit our roller bags in the bin.

Due to the short turnaround, the flight attendants did not have the bottled water already at the seats when we boarded.  Instead, once most of the passengers had boarded, they came around with the bottled water, earbud headphones and newspapers.

Pre-departure bottled water

We pushed back from the gate just before 2:00pm, and were in the air 10 minutes later.  Like the flight from Edmonton to Vancouver, wifi was available on this flight as well.  But again, since it was such a short flight (and as I was quite tired), I didn’t bother trying to connect.

We were in the air about 20 minutes when the flight attendants came around with hot towels.  There was no menu on this flight.  Instead, the food and beverage cart was rolled out 5 minutes later, and we were given a cold plate of smoked salmon, blinis and packaged almonds.  As the flight was in the middle of the afternoon, I understand why they just provided a snack, instead of a hot meal.

Smoked salmon plate

I like smoked salmon, but I wasn’t that hungry, so I gave my plate to my husband.  It seemed to be good, as he ate all my smoked salmon along with his.  I ate the almonds though.

Flying back to Edmonton

With the 1.5 hour flight, I looked for a movie that was short enough to watch.  I picked “Coco”, which is a cute movie, but I was about 10 minutes from the end of the movie when we landed in Edmonton at 4:18pm.  I guess I’ll never know the ending (although, I could probably guess).

The flight was quick and uneventful, which is pretty much all I ask for out of most of my flights.  As we only had carry-on, we were off the plane and on our way home in no time.

Review: Air Canada International Business Class Taipei to Vancouver


Even though we were not checking any luggage, upon arrival at the airport we went to the Air Canada priority check-in to have them perform a travel document check. We were met by the Air Canada concierge – Daisy – who then proceeded to walk us through security and exit immigration. There is no fast lane for security/immigration for business class passengers at Taipei Taoyuan Airport, but luckily it didn’t take too long to get through.

Daisy then walked us to the Singapore Air lounge. It is a fairly small lounge, but we did manage to find some seats near the lounge entrance.  The lounge is long and narrow – with most of the seats being along the one side.  The windows looked out onto a bus parking lot and a taxi queue, so the view wasn’t all that exciting.

Singapore Air lounge

There were also some high-top tables at the back near the food.

Singapore Air lounge

There was a fairly large selection of hot and cold food spread out over 2 counters.

Example of food in Singapore Air lounge

As we had lunch prior to heading to the airport, we didn’t end up having any food in the lounge.  We hung out in the lounge for a bit, and then since we could also access the EVA lounge, we decided to head over there to check It out.

The EVA lounge is split up into 2 different lounges – the Star lounge and the Infinity lounge.  We were directed to the Infinity lounge, which has a very futuristic design.

EVA Infinity Lounge

This lounge was bigger, but it was also more crowded and noisier.  I had started to take pictures, but there was a sign saying that photos were not allowed (to respect people’s privacy).  The photo above is one I took before seeing the sign.  The lounge was mostly one big room, with some different sections of seating.  It had windows looking out into the interior of the terminal, so it was a slightly nicer view than the Singapore Air lounge.  Their food area was larger than the Singapore Air lounge, and included hot dogs and Haagen Dazs ice cream. Daisy said that the food in the Singapore Air lounge was better – but as we didn’t have food in either lounge (other than the ice cream), I will have to take her word for it.

We left the lounge at about 3:00pm to head to Gate C2. It was a good 10 minute walk from the lounge, so a person needs to give themselves plenty of time to get to the gates.

When we arrived at the gate, we found out that boarding was delayed until 3:45pm due to the fact that the incoming flight was late.  But at least we had a view of our plane while waiting.

Air Canada 787-900 to Vancouver

Air Canada 18
Taipei (TPE) – Vancouver (YVR)
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Depart: 3:55pm
Arrive: 11:45am (same day)
Duration: 10hr50
Aircraft: 787-900
Seats: 6K & 7K (International Business Class)

 

For this flight, we were sitting on the K side of the plane (we had been sitting in the A seats on the way to Taipei).  Since we were boarding more then half an hour late, the flight attendants seemed to still be rushing around getting things ready when the passengers started boarding.  For example, during the boarding process they were handing out slippers and menus – which normally are already at the seat.

Welcome screen

We were offered a pre-departure drink of water, orange juice or champagne. I chose champagne, while my husband took some orange juice and champagne to make a mimosa.

Pre-departure champagne

Before departure, they came around to take our meal orders for dinner.  I ordered the stuffed chicken breast, while my husband ordered the beef tenderloin.

Meal menu

Wine list

They managed to get everyone boarded fairly quickly and we pushed back from gate around 4:15pm (only 20 minutes later than original departure time).  We took a few minutes to taxi to the runway, and were in the air 10 minutes later.

About 15 minutes after take off, the flight attendants came around with hot towels, and then 10 minutes later, they brought out the cart to serve drinks and mixed nuts.  I ordered my usual vodka and cranberry juice to go with the nuts.

Pre-meal drink and nuts

During the service, one of the flight attendants (Shawn) mentioned that I looked familiar to her.  I thought she looked familiar as well.  After further discussion, we realized that she had been a flight attendant on a flight we had taken to Tokyo in 2016.  The reason why she remembered us was because for that trip, we were travelling with my husband’s parents for their 50th anniversary, and we had brought cake on board and had a big celebration.

Shawn was very personable and funny, and I had great service from her throughout the flight.

As Air Canada only changes their entertainment selection on a monthly basis, we had the same movies and TV shows as on the flight out.  Before and during the meal, I ended up watching the movie “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”.  It was a rather depressing movie.  Good acting, but depressing.

About half an hour after the drink service, the flight attendants came around with the table cloths.  Five minutes later the food/drink cart came out to serve appetizers and additional drinks.  The appetizer was prawn, scallop, smoked salmon and mango salsa.  It was quite tasty.  The side salad was mixed greens, cherry tomato and artichoke.  It was okay – but nothing special.

Appetizer of prawn, scallop and smoked salmon

The main course was served 20 minutes after the appetizer.  The meals were decent – definitely better than the meals on the flight to Taipei.

Chicken breast filled with asparagus and ricotta

Beef tenderloin

About 25 minutes after the main course was served, the flight attendants came around with the cheese and fruit trolley.  I didn’t feel like any cheese, so they made up a fruit plate for me.  They also offered me some port, but I declined.

Fruit plate

 

 

 

 

Then 15 minutes later, they came around with another trolley, offering a cherry chocolate brownie, ice cream, tea and coffee.  I decided to go with the cherry chocolate brownie.  The meal service was completed about 2 hours after taking off.

Cherry chocolate brownie

Approximately half an hour after dessert was served, I noticed that the snack baskets had been set out.  So, I went and snagged myself a KitKat.

I settled in to try to get some sleep.  I think I ended up sleeping for a total of 3 hours.  I woke up with 2.5 hours left in the flight.  I decided to watch “All the Money in the World” – which was also rather depressing.  So, for the rest of the flight, I watched some comedy TV shows to lighten things up.

About 1.5 hours before arrival, the flight attendants came around with hot towels, and then a few minutes later came by with a selection of water, orange juice or cranberry juice.  I chose a cranberry juice.

Breakfast was served 25 minutes later.  Instead of taking orders for the breakfast options, they just came by with a trolley with the breakfast selections to choose from.  On the menu, there had been 3 hot items for breakfast – omelette & sausage, congee or assorted dumplings.  When the trolley got to us, there was only the omelette/sausage or congee available.  Which was sad, as I wanted to try the dumplings.  So, I went with the omelette and sausage.

With breakfast they offered a choice of a croissant or a chocolate Danish (which looked more like a chocolate croissant to me).  I was in the mood for some carbs, so I went with both.

Breakfast

I wasn’t really in the mood for omelette and sausage, so I just ended up eating the croissant, Danish and fruit.

Breakfast was cleared, and before we knew it, we were descending into Vancouver.  Even though we left Taipei behind schedule, we ended up arriving into Vancouver at 11:10am (35 minutes early).  The flight from Taipei was about 2 hours shorter than the flight we took to Taipei.  Which is good in that you get back sooner, but does make it harder to get in some quality sleep on the flight.

But overall, it was a good flight.  The food was fairly good, and the service was great.