Travels with Janny

Review: Air Canada International Business Class Montreal to Brussels

Normally I don’t take much time off for the Christmas holidays as my family lives nearby and we tend to avoid the peak travel seasons when possible.  However, the project I was working on was going to be shut down over the Christmas holidays and I was told not to go into work.  Originally I figured I would go into the company office and find something to do so I wouldn’t have to take my valuable vacation days to just sit at home and look at the snow. 

But as Christmas came closer, my husband Randy and I realized that there were only 3 work days between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, so if we took those as vacation days, we could get a whole week off.  We looked for places that we could fly to using Aeroplan points (for me) and a relatively-priced business class ticket (for Randy).  Of course, there wasn’t any availability for any Southern, warm destinations, so we looked at some destinations in Asia, and then Europe.  We finally found a destination that had the flight dates we needed – Brussels.  As neither of us had been there before, we thought it would be a fun place to spend a week.

Our routing was Edmonton to Montreal, and then Montreal to Brussels.  In homage to one of my favourite websites – One Mile at a Time – I thought I would try my hand at my own review of the flight from Montreal to Brussels.  Here goes.

Air Canada 832
Montreal (YUL) – Brussels (BRU)
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Depart: 7:55pm
Arrive: 8:45am (December 28)
Duration: 6hr50
Aircraft: A330-300
Seats: 12A & 13A (International Business Class)

Our connecting flight from Edmonton was delayed, so we basically had to run from our arriving gate to the departure gate for our Brussels flight.  Luckily, it was only a few gates away.  We arrived just as they were boarding the Zone 1 passengers, so we were able to be one of the first on board.  As we boarded the plane, Randy mentioned our seat numbers, and the flight attendant (who was the in-charge) said “Oh, Mr. Smandych, we were expecting you”.  (Randy has Super Elite status and is also a million-miler with Air Canada).  The fact that the in-charge was aware of his elite passengers was a good sign that we would have good service on this flight.

The International Business Class on this A330-300 had the classic herringbone pods.  On my seat was a pillow, a white comforter and an amenity kit.

P1000760a

The amenity kit included Escents cleansing cloth, lip balm and lotion, along with a toothbrush, toothpaste floss pick, earplugs, sleep mask, socks and a mint.

P1000769a P1000771a

The A330-300 has 2 sections of business class.  We were seated in seats 12A and 13A, so we weren’t facing anyone across the aisle and we were in the smaller of the business class sections.  There were only 2 other people in this section – and they were on the other aisle, so it was quite private.  Seat 13A also had a partial wall next to it – so it made the seat even more private.  This section was very quiet – as you didn’t have any traffic going to/from a galley or washroom.

seatmap

Shortly after boarding we were offered menus.  The first menu was to be filled out for your breakfast preferences. 

P1000763a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second menu contained the dinner and beverages options. 

P1000764a P1000765a P1000766a P1000767a

We were offered some pre-departure drinks of orange juice, champagne or water, but I declined as I was planning on having some Drappier champagne once in the air.  It wasn’t a very full flight, so boarding didn’t take very long, and we were able to push back on time.  However, after taking off, we encountered some turbulence and the pilot kept the seat belt signs on for quite a long time (even though the turbulence wasn’t that bad, in my opinion).  It was probably close to 45 minutes before the flight attendants could get up and start the service. 

Once the service started, we were offered mixed nuts, which I had with some champagne. 

P1000774a

Once the service started, we were offered mixed nuts, which I had with some champagne. Our orders for dinner were then taken (we both got the lemon chicken breast on rice).  A while later, our appetizer of Yellowfin tuna tataki arrived with the salad.  The tuna was actually quite tasty.   The main course then arrived, but it didn’t taste that good, so I didn’t eat very much of it.  (I wished that I could’ve had more of the tuna instead). We were also offered warm bread rolls with the meal.

P1000775a P1000779a

During the meal, every time the in-charge came by, he topped my champagne up (right up to the top of the glass).  I ended up drinking quite a bit of champagne this way!  After the meal was cleared, the cheese and port cart came by.  I had some cheese and grapes, but skipped the port.  A little while later, the dessert cart came by.  We had a choice of a chocolate fondant or fresh fruit.  I went with the chocolate fondant – which was probably the best part of the meal (next to the tuna).  I also had a peppermint tea to go with it.

P1000780a P1000781a

After the meal service, I spent some time watching the in-flight entertainment.  Air Canada has a fairly good selection of movies and TV shows to watch, along with games for kids to play.  I watched the movies “The Martian” and “Everest”.  After that I lay down to try to sleep, but shortly after that they started the breakfast service.

I had pre-ordered oatmeal, a fresh fruit plate, a croissant and cranberry juice for my breakfast.  But since the flight was so short, I was still full from dinner and didn’t eat much.  The food was alright, but I guess there can’t be any exceptional items in a continental breakfast.

P1000782a

The breakfast meals were cleared, and before we knew it, we were descending into Brussels, arriving about 10 minutes earlier than scheduled.  When we arrived at the gate, a couple from the economy section pushed past us as they apparently had a tight connection.  So, when the door opened, the flight attendant let them off first, then let the first section of business class off (which was fine).  But once that section was cleared, she stood and blocked us while she let the other aisle in our section depart.  Again, that was fine, but then she kept blocking us while people from the economy section in the other aisle were leaving.  Finally Randy said to her that we were business class passengers and that we wanted to get off.  She seemed startled by that, but got out of our way.

Overall, the service on the flight was good (other than the clueless attendant that didn’t want to let us get off the plane).  The food wasn’t as good as I’ve had on previous Air Canada flights, but it was a quiet and comfortable flight.