Review: Air Canada Business Class A320-2, Montréal – Vancouver


Our trans continental flight from Montreal Pierre Elliott Trudeau to Vancouver International was on Airbus 320-2 equipment today. It featured traditional recliner seats. We were well fed as we travelled across Canada, on our last flight home from India. While not the most exciting of business class products, this configuration is the back bone of the Air Canada business class domestic fleet.

This post is one chapter on our third Round the World trip via South Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, the Maldives and India. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and through Starwood Preferred Guest (Marriott Bonvoy) and Hyatt Gold Passport (World of Hyatt) loyalty programs. 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, A320-2, Montréal Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport – Vancouver International Airport

“The Air Canada Business Class narrow body experience features traditional service along with a robust meal, amid a glacial blue interior”

Air Canada
Business Class
YUL – YVR (Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport – Vancouver International Airport)
AC129 – Business Class (I) 
7:40 PM – 10:14 PM 
April 21, 2015
Booked: Airbus 320
Flown: Airbus 320-200

We headed down to the aircraft after about 30 minutes in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montréal Domestic. Boarding was already underway about T-35 minutes. It was pretty amazing that this was the last flight out of 3 totalling about 20 hours of continous travel. 

On Board Air Canada Business Class A320:

We settled in on board in the familiar barca lounger commuter aircraft seats. As with all other Air Canada Airbus 300 series aircraft, the business class seating was in a 2-2 configuration.

I personally don’t like the fact that a 5 hour flight in North America is typically on recliner seats. When you compare that a similar 5 hour flight in Asia is usually on wide body aircraft, the lazy boy recliners don’t have as much appeal. Having said that, a large recliner seats is much better than the reality of some of the medium haul flights around Europe on the blocked middle seat business class with actual economy seating. 

Today’s Air Canada Business Class A320 Seats
Air Canada Business Class – Airbus 320 seats
A recycled photograph of the Canada Airbus A320 Business Class Cabin

It was a reasonable sized cabin in which to spend five and some odd hours for a cross continental flight.

Pre-Departure Services:

We had a pre – departure beverage consisting of water today. I was feeling a bit dry after all that travel and my tummy was still ill from the Delhi Belly. 

Pre-Departure Beverage: Still Water

While we were on the ground, a printed dinner menu was handed out which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the menu hasn’t changed in about 10 years. Air Canada hasn’t yet found celebrity chefs, themed dining months, or typically Canadiana dishes served here. This can be considered a plus or a minus. In this case, it was a plus since we’d been eating curry for the past week and a half and it was nice to have a slight change of pace. 

Air Canada Business Class Menus
Air Canada Business Class Menu YUL-YVR

It was a full cabin tonight. Echoing the atmosphere in the lounge, it consisted of mostly business traffic and people working their tails off on computers and cellular phones right up until being told to turn them off prior to departure.

We had nice sunset views over the apron in Montreal before we left. 

Sunset Views at Pierre Elliott Trudeau

There wasn’t much bin space left as many items were off loaded and placed in the hold. There was an actual appetite by staff to get out on time, which was interesting compared and contrasted to the laxicsdcial Air India on time schedule mentality.


The Meal: A Full Dinner

After having no beef for most of the trip (none in India and I went local with fresh reef fish in the Maldives), I ended up ordering Beef Tenderloin for dinner. Unfortunately, that sense of urgency and drive that the cabin crew had to get out on time didn’t carry over to the execution of the dinner service. Dinner was a leisurly (read glacial) affair as main courses didn’t come out until T + 120 minutes after departure time (9:30 PM). It was a bit surprising for a 7:30 PM departure time considering many had to have been at the airport at least 45 minutes before at 6:45 PM. I was starving at that point.

The supper service started with a pre – drink service with nuts.

A Pre-Supper Cocktail with Nuts

The dinner salad was served first. It was featured as mesculin salad with black quinoa, zucchini and sun dried tomato, served with balsamic olive oil dressing.

Mesculin salad with black quinoa, zucchini and sun dried tomato, served with balsamic olive oil dressing

The beef tenderloin was pretty straightforward and typical Air Canada fare. Well presented, reasonably cooked and just the basics. It was presented as Beef Tenderloin with a Demi glacé, potato au gratin and a carrot and broccoli mix.

Beef Tenderloin with a Demi glacé, potato au gratin and a carrot and broccoli mix.

I went with the usual ice cream for dessert and a cookie that has been a feature on Air Canada for years. It featured a dark chocolate cookie baked fresh on board, along with Gelato Fresco Ice Cream. The cookie was terrific, although a little crumbly with the opportunity to drip a bit of chocolate onto your pants as you enjoyed it.

Dark Chocolate Cookie Baked Fresh on Board with Gourmet Ice Cream

After nine time zones changed, and some 19 hours traveled, I conked out again on the so so comfortable barca lounger seaters. The concerns about the chair not being comfortable to sleep on slept away as we arrived back to Vancouver – too tired to notice the crinked neck of seated upright in chairs. While it would have been nicer to have a proper lie flat bed, we were too tired to notice the upright chairs.

The flight time eventually ticked away. On arrival at YVR, it was another twenty minutes for the bags to come out. We took an Aerocar back home. Thankfully the cat was still in one piece, although he’d moved some of the furniture around to suit his liking. 

My Thoughts on Trans Continental Narrow Body Air Canada Business Class:

It’s always a long way to fly from Montreal to Vancouver and it is typically a five and a half hour flight. While it would have been better to have fully flat seats, we made do with the typical narrow body Barca lounger seats that are common across Air Canada’s narrow body network. The food was predictable and presentable, and it hit the spot prior to us crashing out for the balance of the flight. I certainly didn’t have any complaints, although you ever won’t be mixing up this narrow body experience with that of a wide body jet with business suites.

If you have flown Air Canada Business Class on the Airbus family, did you find it an aspirational product?

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