Review: Air Canada Business Class CRJ-9: Ottawa – Halifax


Air Canada offers regional jet service from it’s national capital to several provincial capitals. I would have the opportunity to test out their Air Canada Business Class on board a Canadair Regional Jet 900 series today. How would the short flight fare in terms of a business class product?

This post is one chapter on our trip to Atlantic Canada on Air Canada. This trip was booked and credited to Aeroplan. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Review: Air Canada Business Class, CRJ900, Ottawa Cartier International Airport – Halifax Stanfield International Airport

Air Canada offers a few direct flights from the nations capital to select provincial capital destinations in eastern Canada. One of these flights is the Ottawa – Halifax flight that links the national capital of Canada with the provincial capital of Nova Scotia.

I used Air Canada e-upgrades to upgrade on this route from a paid economy fare. On the day I was traveling, there certainly weren’t many business travellers flying and the cabin was wide open with up to 9 seats available for sale. With up to 5 non stop flights per day, it seemed that there was plenty of upgrade capacity on this short route.

Air Canada
AC 8632 – Business Class (R)
YOW – YHZ (Ottawa Cartier International Airport – Halifax Stanfield International Airport)
Nov 8, 2019
9:30 AM – 12:00 PM (scheduled)
Booked: CRJ-900
Flown: CRJ-900
Wide Open Availability Courtesy of Expert Flyer

At around T-45, after spending some time in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge – Ottawa Domestic, I headed down to Gate 25. Gate 25 was the among the furthest most gates away from the main access points.

Navigating Towards Gate 25

On my way down, I happened to see one of the Canada North B737’s parked off the terminal. They fly several times a week from Ottawa to Iqaluit after Air Canada exited the Nunavut Territory market several years ago.

Spotting a Canadian North B737

On Board Air Canada’s Short Haul Business Class:

I boarded with Group 1. It is a tight fit on the Canadair Regional Jet 900 series with a a 1-2 configuration in business class up front. Similar to the Embraer’s regional jets, there exists only space for a full size rolling suitcase on the right hand side of the overhead bins.

Thanks to having two suits in my garment bag, my bag was a little fatter than it should have been and I was unable to get my Tumi into the overhead bin. With no sky check service, I was aiming for under the seat storage when the cabin attendant pro-actively offered the front locker near door L1 for storage.

Air Canada Business Class CRJ-900 Seat
Air Canada Business Class CRJ-900 Seat

I ended up in the single bank of seats on the right hand seat. The single seat keeps you on your own, but isn’t super private thanks to the open view to the aisle.

Pre Departure Services:

American flights typically offer an open bar pre-departure beverage at most hours. While no pre-departure beverage was offered on today’s flight, but there was a bottle of Naya water waiting at the seat.

Air Canada Business Class – Pre Departure Beverage

Departing Ottawa:

There was a snowy take off over Ottawa suburbs under bright sun. It was a beautiful view over a wintery landscape.

Views from the Wing: Departing Ottawa
Views from the Wing: Departing Ottawa

In Flight Entertainment:

This Air Canada flight offers a thinned down version of the slow Air Canada En Route entertainment system. At least it is on demand, but there are not many shows available to watch. There is a working flight map and a brief selection of movies.

Air Canada En Route Entertainment System – Flight Map
Air Canada En Route Entertainment System – Movies

The Meal: A Breakfast Omelette

The usual Air Canada parsley omelet with sausage and red potatoes offered. It was exactly the same breakfast offering I had on Vancouver – Calgary in Business earlier in the week. This breakfast, or slight variations of it, have stayed the same for almost 10 years.

Air Canada Business Class – Ottawa Halifax Meal
Air Canada Business Class – Breakfast Parsley Omelette

Landing at Halifax:

The flight was a short one. As we approached Halifax Stanfield International Airport, it seemed like we were landing into the middle of nowhere. It seemed like a grassy field.

On Final Approach to Halifax Stanfield International Airport

Before I knew it, we were out into the quiet Halifax Stanfield International airport. Like Ottawa, there was a complete absence of people around, despite this being a minor hub for Air Canada’s operations.

Arriving to Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Heading Through the Halifax Airport
Passing towards baggage claim

I transferred myself over to the Westin Nova Scotian hotel for a two day stay in this part of Atlantic Canada.

Air Canada Short Haul Business Class summarized:

The upfront ride on a Bombardier CRJ won’t ever be mistaken for a wide body service. It’s a much slimmed down version of a narrow body jet. Despite this, it’s better to be up front on any flight than in the back.

If you’ve flown an Air Canada CRJ Business Jet, do you have a favourite feature if this particular regional jet?

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