Review: Air Canada Executive First B767, Toronto – Lima

This leg featured one of the more Northern destinations in the world to travel from North America to South America. It featured one of Air Canada’s unusual South America routes that forms part of it’s international route network.


This post is one chapter in our trip to Peru and Chile via Air Canada Executive First (Business Class). This trip was booked using Air Canada e-upgrades to upgrade into Air Canada International Executive First class. 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 Executive First Boeing 767: Toronto – Lima


“The Air Canada Executive First product beat out many of the other competitors flying to South America, offering a wide body configuration and lie flat beds over many other narrow body routes with recliner first class seats that connect via the Southern United States”



Air Canada marketed its International Business Class product as Executive First at the time of this report. Although it is a pretty comfortable way to go, it’s no where near a true International first class product. What it does offer is a comfortable flat bed pod that was redesigned under the Air Canada “XM” Extreme makeover product. It is much better than the Barca lounger seat that it used to serve as Executive Business Class. An additional bonus is that Air Canada offered wide body aircraft service whereas many American carriers such as American or United offer narrow body service to South America from their southern US hubs.

Air Canada  
AC 80 – Executive First (R)
YYZ-LIM (Toronto Pearson International Airport – Lima Jorge Chavez International Airport) 
August 19, 2011
5:35 PM – 12:05 + 1
Booked: Boeing 767 
Flown: Boeing 767 

The doors were closed immediately after we had boarded. We were on the same 1-1-1 seating configuration. There were 12/24 in J cabin. I had booked us into the back of the J cabin in row 7 for a bit more privacy, but other passengers moved around into the seats next to us, in addition to crew who slept behind us in row 8. I think that the best seats for a couple traveling together on the 767 are 8 J and 8 K, as they are the most private when the curtain is closed.

On Board Air Canada Executive First:

That’s the sign of a happy person in a pretty empty business class cabin.

There was no pre-departure drink given to us on the ground due to our late boarding of the aircraft.

There were no amenity kits waiting for us. I believe that they passed these out individually during the pre-flight service. As we were not there for that, we missed out. Eventually mid flight, we got the kits and a menu. The kits contained eye shades, ear plugs, socks, tooth brush and toothpaste. The kits were best described as a throw way aside from the functional items.

We eventually started relaxing after that rush for the gate with the usual pre-supper drink service. This was served with the usual Air Canada small ramekin of mixed nuts. The usual printed menus were also dropped off for review.

Meal Service “Dinner”:

The food on Air Canada isn’t all too exciting but it does the trick. Tonights dinner that was consumed was as follows…

Dinner:

Appetizer

Smoked Atlantic Salmon with Cucumber Capriccio, Dill Mustard Sauce and capers.

Salad:

Organic field greens, Grape Tomatoes and Parmesan, served with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Main courses:

Grilled AAA Alberta Beef Tenderloin, presented with Truffle and Porcini Mushroom Sauce, Celeriac Yukon Gold Dauphinoise Potatoes, Green Beans, and Cherry Tomato Confit.

The other choices that were available were…

Roasted Chicken filled with Butternut Squash and Cranberry accompanied by Madeira Mushroom Sauce, Manitoba While Rice and Roasted Peppers.

Sautéed Alaskan Black Cod offered with Lemon Butter, Spinach Risotto, Green Beans and glazed baby carrots.

Grilled Vegetable Lasagna with Mozzarella and Ricotta complemented by Basil Tomato Sauce

A selection of warm fresh Breads with Butter.

I finished off with a Selection of Cheese:

Camembert, Yellow Cheddar and Oka served with crackers

And I passed on the Choice of Desserts:

Warm Chocolate Pecan Tart
Sliced Seasonal Fruit.

However, I did have the Pre Arrival Light Meal:

Turkey and Gruyere Croque Monsieur Half with grilled vegetables

Freshly baked cookies.

The following wines were available:

Champagne:

Champagne Drappier Carte D’Or – Brut

White:

Paua Bay Marlborough Sauvingon Blanc, New Zealand
Henry of Pelham Reserve Chardonnay, Niagra, Canada

Red:

MAN Vinters Pinotage, Paarl, South Africa
Domaine Nicole, Coteaux de Bessiles, France

Port:

Dow’s Port, Portugal.

The Service Director Claude provided excellent service. Since we had missed the first drink order which I assume was taken on the ground prior to take off, they offered one drink order for whole main course.

There was a beautiful sunset on the way down towards Lima.

I slept after the meal until the equator and was lucky enough to pull up the map as we crossed into the southern hemisphere.

We landed in Lima, Peru. Again, there was no spot available for the arriving aircraft. We waited another 25 minutes on the runway while they sorted things out.

We cleared immigration without issue. We went to the baggage belt and for some strange reason our bags were the last two put out on the belt. I was thankful that they made it, considering they were likely the last ones placed in the hold due to our 30 minute connection in Toronto, but I was a little puzzled as to why they were the last ones out. I was thinking that they would be the last boarded, given our tight connection.

As we walked towards the Customs green / red light inspection, Ms World Traveller73 noticed that stuff was missing from the front and rear zippered area of her bags. She had placed underwear and scarves in this area inside zipped Hey’s soft luggage packing cubes. Ms World Traveller was not impressed – as she had lost some scarves from Bursa, Turkey that we had bought on one of our last trips. We had one of life’s brief lessons here as we figured out our options.

Not expecting much action, I looked around for baggage services to report the “misplaced” items, but there were no obvious counters, aside from an agricultural inspection and customs.

We went through Customs and attempted to locate a baggage representative on the public side. We eventually found a phone which connected us to ground staff. The AC check-in desks were all empty since they were likely boarding the return aircraft on the secure side. We reported the loss of these articles and the person on the other end asked us to meet him at the check in desks and to “hurry up” to get there.

We eventually met up with “Donald” who was wearing the familiar AC glacier blue shirt with navy blue vest uniform. He escorted Ms World Traveller 73 into the back on the secure side to “look” for the articles.

By some surprise, the articles were actually located on the empty belt. It was somewhat surprising, since I had written them off as stolen, never to be seen again. It was impossible by their design that they had slipped out of the cases. They had obviously been removed and perhaps with the threat that people were on the hunt for them, thrown out on the belt and abandoned when the search was on. With the bags in hand, another valuable lesson learned about the opportunities in some parts of the world.

“The Air Canada Executive First product met all the needs for a business class product for a seven hour flight. Aside from the baggage mishaps, and the rushed flight connection experience, the flight itself was pretty flawless with expectations met or exceeded.

The Bottom Line:

The Air Canada Executive First service down to Lima was reasonable if not without it’s flaws. Our connection in Toronto from our domestic to international flight was tight, and while they held the plane for us, it wasn’t a great experience sprinting through the airport. Air Canada is to be commended for having wide body service to Lima, Peru from itss main hub in Toronto, Canada. While the seat was more than comfortable, having stuff almost stolen out of your bag is never fun. While this isn’t limited to Air Canada solely, it does color the experience.


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