I decided to take a trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls with my Dad, as he had never been there. I used Aeroplan points (50,000 points each) to book us seats in Air Canada business class.
Normally, Air Canada flights between Edmonton and Toronto are operated on A320 or A321 aircraft and feature your typical domestic business class seat. However, during the summer, Air Canada runs a 767-300ER once a day to help with the additional passengers connecting through Toronto to European destinations. The 767-300ER has the old Air Canada ‘classic’ herringbone pod layout – but as this was the first time my Dad was flying business class, I thought being in any type of pod would be a treat for him.
The business class cabin consists of 8 rows of seats, with a 1-1-1 configuration for a total of 24 seats. On the ‘A’ aisle of the plane, there are single seats next to the window. On the other aisle, there are seats against the window and seats in the middle that face each other. The seats on the ‘A’ side are preferable as you face a small wall at the back of the middle seats, so there is more privacy (and more overhead storage room).
I was seated in seat 5A. When I boarded the plane, there was a blanket and pillow waiting at my seat.
During boarding, the flight attendant came around with a choice of juice or water. I chose some water.
Everyone was boarded and we pushed back from the gate at 11:25am. It was a quick taxi to the runway and we were in the air by 11:30am. About 10 minutes later the seatbelt sign was turned off.
In business class on the 767-300ER, the entertainment system screens swing out from the seat wall. The screens must be stowed for take off and landing, so once the seatbelt sign turned off, I checked out the available entertainment.
Since I last flew with Air Canada, they changed the way that the entertainment options can be accessed. They still have it grouped by movies and TV shows, but within the movies section, there is no longer the option of see any newly released movies. In the past, there was a category called Cineplex that contained the newest holiday releases, along with other categories such as Action, Comedy, Family, etc. The Cineplex category is gone, and there is a new category called New Releases. However, this category seems to just contain any new movies that Air Canada happens to have loaded recently. Because I’m pretty sure “27 Dresses” and “Princess Bride” are not recent releases. So, I found that finding a new movie that I haven’t seen to be a little more time consuming that it really should be.
About 5 minutes after the seatbelt sign turned off, the flight attendants came around with some over-the-ear headphones. These were just Air Canada branded headphones, but they were fairly decent for noise cancelling.
Shortly after that, they came around to take our lunch orders. They didn’t have menus this time, but I was told that there was an option of cod, chicken, beef or pasta. I ordered the chicken. Then literally a minute later, they came around with hot towels.
About 10 minutes after that, they brought the drink cart out. They started the cart at the last row on the “A” side (row 8), so I had a drink and a bowl of nuts (almonds and cashews) shortly after. I chose to have a vodka and cranberry. After finishing our row, the drink cart went over to the “K” side and started at row 1. So, from start to finish, it took about 25 minutes to get everyone drinks.
About 20 minutes later, the drink cart made another round, and this time I was given a package of almonds to go with my second drink. After the second drink service ended, the meal service began.
A cart came around to give everyone a tray containing a slivered apple, grape and walnut salad (which was really nice) and a choice of warm bread (white or whole wheat).
After our salad was cleared, the flight attendant brought the main meals out on trays. My chicken was in a barbecue-type sauce, with some mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was reasonably good.
Our tray with our main meal was cleared, and the flight attendants came around with a choice of warm cookies with ice cream, or a plate of fruit. I chose the cookie & ice cream (of course!). It was really good. I was also offered tea or coffee to go with the dessert, but I didn’t want any.
The meal service was finished just over 2 hours after take-off. About 45 minutes before landing, the flight attendants came around with a snack basket of Miss Vickie’s chips, Lindt dark chocolate bar, or KitKats. I chose a KitKat to have later.
We must have had a good tail wind, as we ended up arriving about a half an hour early (a flight time of just over 3 hours, instead of 3.5 hours). The entire trip was extremely smooth, and the only had a smidge of turbulence as we were landing in Toronto. My Dad is a nervous flier, and even he enjoyed the flight (sitting in business class probably helped with that).
All in all, it was a good flight. The service was good, the food was decent and the seats were comfortable. So comfortable that I didn’t even bother reclining my seat or raising the leg rests for the entire flight. And as it was such a short flight, there was no need to recline the seat to a bed position to get any napping in. The pillow and blanket went unused for the entire flight.
I know that Air Canada is phasing out these airplanes, but I have always found them to be a comfortable ride, and will be sorry to see them go.