Review: Air Canada Signature Business Class – Pandemic Edition B777-300ER, Vancouver – Toronto
Air Canada offers a variety of business class cabins and aircraft to cross Canada on a trans continental trip. One of the best ways to do it is in their flagship Air Canada Signature Business Class Cabin. Air Canada Signature Class offers an end to end experience which offers a fully flat bed in an executive pod. While we’ve taken this trip several times, it would be our first time travelling this route during the pandemic. What would the service changes be under this new health environment?
This post is one chapter on our trip during the pandemic to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Buy a Car. This trip was enhanced through Air Canada Aeroplan Elite Status and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. 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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Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: Travelling 4,300km to Buy a Car
- Air Canada Signature Business Class Pandemic Edition: Vancouver – Toronto
- Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- The Process of Buying an Audi on the Internet, Ontario, Canada
- Plaza Premium Toronto Concept Pop Up Lounge – Terminal 1, Toronto, Canada
- Air Canada Signature Business Class Pandemic Edition: Toronto – Vancouver
- My Experience Shipping a Car Across Canada
Review: Air Canada Signature Business Class – Pandemic Edition B777-300ER, Vancouver International Airport – Toronto Pearson International Airport – Terminal One.
I purchased a regular economy class ticket in the Flex category. I was able to upgrade into the Air Canada Signature Business Class cabin as a result of e-upgrades courtesy of the Air Canada Aeroplan Elite status. For more on the upgrade process, please see the trip introduction.
Getting to Vancouver International Airport:
Unusually because I had no vehicle, and MrsWT73 didn’t fancy getting up at 4 AM to give me a ride to the airport, I took the public transit bus from the house to the airport.
After a 4:45 AM wake up, I walked up to the local bus stop to catch the 5:42 AM Translink Route 351 Express to Bridgeport Skytrain Station connecting onwards to the Skytrain Canada Line. It was a mere $2.45 CAD on my Transit Compass Card and about an hour getting to the airport.
On arrival to the Vancouver International Airport at 6:15 AM, I went to go get a boarding pass re-print. Air Canada had disabled most of the kiosks as a result of the mandatory Canadian vaccination check for flying within Canada. The line at the Air Canada Priority Counters was looking a little long at 6 – 7 persons deep so I ended up giving up on the paper boarding card idea and relying on my electronic boarding card.
Not knowing what the food situation was going to be like in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, I had a quick Tim Horton’s breakfast snack on the public side of the domestic terminal. I ended up bypassing the nearby Plaza Premium Vancouver Domestic “C” Lounge and navigated myself through CATSA security and made my way to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Domestic.
Visiting the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge:
The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Domestic is accessible and complimentary on any Air Canada Business Class ticket (upgrade, award miles or revenue ticket). It can also be accessed through select credit cards and annual memberships. I’ve visited and reviewed the lounge several times before, so I won’t get into much details.
Since my last visit through the lounge, the lounge has returned to normal seating and spacing and things are looking much more normal than they once were.
Unfortunately, the food situation was pretty empty with fruit smoothies and pre-packed cottage cheese being the only items on offer. I was happy that I had stopped elsewhere for some food earlier on in the day.
AC 104 – Signature Business Class (R)
YVR – YYZ (Vancouver International Airport – Toronto Pearson International Airport)
February 16, 2022
8:40 AM – 4:01 PM
Booked: Boeing 777-300 ER
Flown: Boeing 777-300 ER
At 7:45 AM our 65 minutes before the flight was set to depart, I made my way down to gate C51. These gates are the swing gates in Vancouver that also accommodate international wide body aircraft.
The aircraft was boarding group one by the time that I arrived. As a result, I ended up walking straight on board just prior to the larger Group 2 boarding zone. There was single get bridge boarding today, despite both bridges being connected. I boarded through door 2L and found my way to my seat.
On Board Air Canada Signature Business Class:
Air Canada calls its domestic Business Class “Signature Class” if you are flying in an executive pod. If you happen to find yourself flying transcontinental in a regular business class seat, it’s just called Air Canada Business Class.
The Air Canada Signature Class includes business class seating in a proper reverse herringbone pod that reclines to fully flat.
The Air Canada Signature Business Class is set up on the Boeing 777-300 ER in a 1 – 2- 1 configuration. While the Air Canada Boeing 777-300 ER is generally to be avoided in the economy class configuration as a result of its high density seating of ten across (3 – 4 – 3) seating, the same compact high density issues do not present themselves in business class.
On the Boeing 777-300ER, there are two business class cabins separated by a galley. The front cabin consists of seven rows of business class and the rear cabin consists of four rows of business class.
My seat today was in the rear cabin at Row 10K – a window seat.
The pod is super comfortable for seating and working. It’s the ideal set up for trans-continental travel across Canada. There is space adjacent to the seat for laptops, work materials and other items.
On arrival to the seat, there was a bottle of Naya bottled water. There was also a pillow and a blanket on the seat. Consistent with our pandemic times, there was also an Air Canada Clean + Care containing a medicinal mask, two benzalkonium chloride wipes and a small package of Guard sanitizing gel with Vitamin E.
There is a cubby space for storage of phones and devices. The cubby storage space has both empower plug ins, a USB connection and a head phone connection.
On arrival to the seat, there was a bottle of Naya bottled water. There was also a pillow and a blanket on the seat. Consistent with our pandemic times, there was also an Air Canada Clean + Care consisting of a medicinal mask, two benzalkonium chloride wipes and a small package of Guard sanitizing gel with Vitamin E.
Pre Departure Services:
The menus were dropped off while we were waiting on the ground. The menu also included a wine list. There were no pre-departures beverages offered. The menu order was taken while on the ground in Vancouver.
The captain came on with a public address announcement to describe a flight time of 3 hours and 50 minutes with door to door time of 4 hours and 21 minutes. They anticipated a smooth flight.
The Entertainment: Advanced Video on Demand
Air Canada offers an advanced video on demand system. The system offers a touch screen and is easily navigated through either touching the screen or using a wired remote.
Like many other carriers, Air Canada has offered aspiration photographs of the destination that cycle through the monitor.
The entertainment system features several movies consistent with the Boeing 777-300ER’s regular function as a long distance international carrier. There were approximately 40 movies and about 20 television series available from the entertainment system. The headphones of the noise cancelling variety were provided along with the ability to plug into a triple prong plug.
The entertainment system also provided the flight track map. Today’s flight would have us travelling along the Canada – United States border towards our destination of Toronto.
The Amenity Kit that was previously presented on this route has gone the way of the do – do bird and was completely absent for this route. It seemed like this has been cut as a result of cost savings.
The truth be told, I didn’t really miss it. Anything that was essential was provided in the Air Canada Care+ Package provided earlier in the flight.
We got underway in Vancouver on Runway 06R. We had a beautiful winter departure over the Pacific Northwest mountains that were completely covered in snow.
The Meal: A Full Breakfast
The breakfast menu on Air Canada Business Class is pretty much the same over the years. It typically features an omelette and pancakes as the two main menu options. While Air Canada has paired with several celebrity chefs that include Antonio Park, Vikram Vij and Hawksworth, none of them make any real presence through a dish on the breakfast menu.
Today’s menu included a wine list which featured the usual Niagara region wines, in addition to some new world favourites from Argentina.
For today’s breakfast, I enjoyed Lavazza freshly brewed coffee and Bottega Millesimato Brut sparkling wine.
This was served with Fruit Salad, Croissant, Butter Jam, Chia Seed Pudding, Roasted Coconut.
The chia seed pudding with roasted coconut was certainly interesting. The coconut itself wasn’t all to roasted in taste, and had more of an artificial flavour to it.
The Parsley Omelette main dish was quite bland and not very exciting for my taste buds. With a mild overcook or well cooked dependent on your perspective, it was a smallish portion that wasn’t super exciting. The Red Pepper relish wasn’t all too strong or flavourful enough to add much pizzazz to the dish.
There seemed to be substantially less mask enforcement as compared to my past Air Canada Jazz flights and substantially less than my last United Airlines Business Class flghts that expected masks on, even in between sips and bites. At the conclusion of meal service, Air Canada service director completed a general announcement asking for masks to be put back on.
After the dishes were cleared way, the disappeared for rest of flight; not necessarily a bad thing given the short to medium distance of this flight.
The Second Service: A Snack & Beverage Service
At about 90 minutes before landing, there was a second service. Today’s second service consisted of a cello wrapped plastic bag of snacks, along with a drink service.
The plastic bag was a little overkill but perhaps the easiest way to distribute a napkin, potato chip bag and a chocolate bar. Inside the bag was a Miss Vickies Potato Chip bag and a full size 35g Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate bar. This was paired with James West Pinot Noir from California. While chips and Pinot Noir don’t normally go together, who’s complaining?
My flight ticked down toward the end and the four hour journey ended pretty quickly.
I landed in Toronto Pearson international Airport and headed off to the Toronto Airport Marriott hotel for my brief stay on this trip.
My Thoughts on Air Canada Signature Class:
In a world where most of the trans-continental flights are on less exciting narrow body jets, the ability to easily fly on a wide body aircraft Boeing 777-300 ER that happens to be well aligned with your schedule is a sublime experience. The Air Canada Signature Class remains the most comfortable way to cross Canada comfortably seated in a reasonably spacious executive pod. While the food and the lounge food service wasn’t all to exciting, the comfort of the seat far outweighed any disadvantage of lack luster food. Air Canada Signature Class remains the most comfortable way to cross Canada.