Friday, 20 July 2018

Review: BNE-YVR in Air Canada Business Class

On this trip I travelled courtesy of Destination Canada, and was upgraded by Air Canada.

Last year I took the 13-hour flight from Brisbane to Vancouver aboard one of Air Canada's Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner planes, right up the front in seat 1D. This is what it was like.

The seat

As expected, there was plenty of space to move in Business Class. My seat was a pod in a central set of two, with the seat angled toward the centre of the plane.

The seat was heavily cushioned though still fairly firm, and could be reconfigured to personal taste by touchscreen controls - all the way down to a lie-flat bed.

Storage space was not as generous as some versions of Business I'd experienced on other airlines, and there were no bins directly above the central seats. However, there were sufficient slots and shelves into which to load my personal belongings.

A personal comfort pack contained toiletries, an eye mask and socks, with a choice of earbuds or quality headphones within a concealed compartment.

The screen

In front of me was a large entertainment screen. Its menus were highly responsive to touch, and contained details of food and drink, as well as shopping options.

Neither the movie nor TV show selections seemed very impressive, and it was difficult to find recent cinema releases. However there were some decent viewing choices among each: cutting edge television comedy such as Atlanta for example, and popular Hollywood movies such as Logan.

Something I hadn't seen before was a Pride category under movies, with critically-acclaimed films with gay themes including Milk and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. A clever innovation was a Personal Favourites menus you could build, then click on to watch.

The eats

Lunch was the first meal of the flight, for which I chose barramundi fillet with ginger-soy glaze and bok choy, which was attractively presented and tasty. It was preceded by an excellent smoked salmon appetiser and a green salad.

Other main courses on the menu were lamb cutlets, braised chicken breast, and a vegetarian pasta. Afterward there was cheese, fruit, blueberry cheesecake, or ice cream.

Snacks were available on request during our journey, including a chicken leek pie, smoked salmon, a tuna sandwich, and hummus. No mere packet of pretzels in Business Class!

Before we landed in the Vancouver morning, we were served brunch with the choice of an omelette, Belgian waffles, or a chicken pasta.

The judgement

Air Canada's Business Class service on the Dreamliner was a comfortable, relaxing experience, providing a good way to arrive in shape on the long trans-Pacific haul. A good choice... if you can afford it.