Travels with Janny

Review: Air Canada Business Class – Calgary to Kelowna

I had decided to go back to Kelowna for a weekend, and booked it about 3 weeks ahead of time. I booked a Flex fare again, and the round-trip fare was $725 – which meant that we were getting back to the typical expensive domestic Canadian airfare prices. The Flex fare class gives you 100% of miles towards Aeroplan rewards, a free change, one free checked bag and seat selection for standard seats. The route was via Calgary, and the aircraft on both segments was a Dash 8-400. Since these were both short hops, there was no point in paying $21 for a preferred seat (which were just the first couple rows of the aircraft).

A couple days after I booked the flight, I received a notification that my seat had changed for the Calgary to Kelowna segment. I went into look at my reservation to see why my seat had changed, and saw that they had changed the aircraft from the Dash 8-400 to an A220-300. Which was very exciting for me as I hadn’t had a chance to fly this type of aircraft before. I checked to see if Air Canada had permanently changed the equipment for this route, but it was interesting to see that they only seemed to have the A220 flying between Calgary and Kelowna for the flight I was on and the same flight the following day. It also had a different flight number than the usual flight. So, I’m not sure if Air Canada was just repositioning some planes or what.

I wasn’t going to bother writing a flight review for this trip as I have previously written about flying on a Dash 8-400 to Kelowna from Vancouver. But since I hadn’t flown on the A220-300 before, I thought a review would be worthwhile.

On the A220-300, there are 12 seats in business class in a 2-2 configuration and 125 seats in a 2-3 configuration. The business class seats have a seat width of 21 inches and a 37 inch pitch. The economy class seat is 19 inches wide with a 30 inch pitch.

A220-300 layout

The A220 has the newer, more streamlined seats that Air Canada also has on the 737 MAX 8. Each seat in both business class and economy has a personal touch entertainment system, power and USB ports.

A220-300 Economy Class seats

I had originally booked a seat in economy class (since the original flight was on a Dash-8 and there was no other choice). When I went to check in for the flight, I was given an option to upgrade to business class for $151. I figured, why not? On the previous flights I had taken since COVID, there had been no onboard service in economy class – so I was interested in seeing what the business class service would be like on this short flight.

The flight left out of Gate D70. This gate is actually located in the international terminal of the Calgary airport. Not sure why the flight was leaving from this gate – as I’m sure there were plenty of other domestic gates available. This particular gate looked like it could be sectioned off from the rest of the international terminal, so maybe it is used for both domestic and international flights.

The boarding started right on time at 10:35am.

Air Canada 8133
Calgary (YYC) – Kelowna (YLW)
Thursday, September 3, 2020
Depart: 11:10am
Arrive: 11:13am 
Duration: 1 hr 3min
Aircraft: A220-300
Seat: 3F (Business Class)

I boarded with Zone 1 just behind a couple of other people. I was the first one to board for the business class section, so managed to snap a couple of photos. Below is a slideshow with photos of the business class cabin.

At the seat was a Personal Protective Equipment Kit and some complimentary earbuds. The kit included a face mask, 3 packets of hand sanitizer and 2 alcohol wipes.

I also took a quick peek into the economy class section.

A220-300 Economy Class

As I mentioned earlier, the A220-300 has the same seats as the 737 Max. The business class seat had buttons for seat recline and to raise the leg rest. Under the arm separating the 2 seats, there was a small storage area with a power point, headphone jack and USB plug.

We pushed back from the gate at 11:11am. While pushing back, the flight attendants performed a manual safety demonstration. I’m not sure why Air Canada isn’t using the usual safety demonstration video anymore.

We taxied to the runway and took off at 11:26am. I checked out the entertainment system – which had a number of movies, TV shows, music and audio. Since this was such a short flight, I wouldn’t be able to finish watching a movie – so just watched a TV show instead.

About 20 minutes after takeoff, the service cart came out with a cold meal and drinks. Drinks available were red and white wine, Prosecco, water and pop. I ordered a glass of white wine which was served in a proper glass. We were all given a snack box which contained a salad with roast vegetables, cheese and hummus, a package of Melba toast crackers, a bag of almonds, a package of plastic cutlery and an alcohol wipe.

However, about 5 minutes after I received my meal, the captain announced that we were 30 minutes from landing, and about 5 minutes after that, the flight attendant came around to pick up the meal. So, I wolfed down as much salad as I could, and saved the almonds for later. I also wasn’t able to finish more than half of my wine. Oh well.

In economy class, there was a drink service with pretzels.

As we got closer to Kelowna, I was just watching our progress on the flight map. I didn’t even realize before, but there are a number of different views that you can select for the flight map. Below are a couple of the views.

The flight landed in Kelowna at 11:13am (Pacific Time).

All in all, it was a very comfortable flight, and even though it was a little rushed, the service was nice and friendly. It was also pleasant being back on a flight with service that was somewhat back to normal (My flight on a Dash 8-400 from Edmonton to Calgary also had a drink and pretzel service). It is still required for everyone to wear masks on the plane when not eating and drinking, and as far as I could tell, everyone was complying with that rule. In fact, I found that passengers are much more patient and not as in a rush to get in the aisle and off the plane like before. And it is actually a nice change to be on a flight without hearing or being near other passengers coughing or sneezing.

With vaccinations and countries opening up again, I am looking forward to be doing more flying in the future. I personally would be okay with having the mask rule continue for longer. If that helps me stay healthy for when I arrive at my destination, it’s worth it to me.