Everything about my Air Canada 787-9 flight in business class was lovely. Well, almost everything. I highly recommend Air Canada’s “Signature Class” product between Los Angeles and Toronto, but be prepared to be patient.
Air Canada 787-9 Business Class Review
From the transborder Maple Leaf lounge I made my way to the gate, where we encountered a slight delay prior to boarding. The sun was setting, with a beautiful sunset in the western skies.
Boarding commenced and I headed down the jetbridge. Air Canada used two jetbdridges for boarding, one for economy class, one for business class.
Air Canada 793
Toronto (YYZ) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Saturday, February 29
Depart: 6:45 PM
Arrive: 9:01 PM
Duration: 05hr, 16min
Distance: 2,175 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9
Seat: 3K (Business Class)
No one was waiting at the aircraft door when I boarded, but I was warmly greeted as I walked though the front galley and to my seat on the starboard side of the aircraft.
The 787-9 business class cabin is arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration with comfortable reverse herringbone seats. The cabin features 30 seats in a single business class cabin. Each seat has 80 inches of pitch and is 21 inches wide.
The suite had a few storage areas including under the footwell, in a small side dish (for lack of a better word), in a cubby large enough for a passport or water bottle, and in a storage cabinet that included a plug and passenger service unit.
Seat controls were via a touchscreen just below the storage cabinet. Not only could individual elements of the seat be adjusted, but the lights could also be dimmed (not just turned off or on).
I find these seats quite comfortable for lounging, extremely aesthetically pleasing, but less conducive to sleeping because my knee hits the tray table.
Air Canada offers very nice bedding, with a lightweight yet thick duvet that still keeps you very cozy and a large pillow. Mattress pads were also offered.
An amenity kit and bottle of water were waiting on each seat. Contents included:
Pre-departue beverages were offered, with a choice of water, orange juice, or sparkling wine.
Menus were also distributed.
Meal service began shortly after takeoff.
Dinner began with mixed nuts and a choice of beverage. Nuts were not warmed (not sure if they ever are on Air Canada). The mix included salted almonds and cashews. A hot towel preceded it.
The appetizer included yellowfin tuna with rice, spinach gomae, and cucumbers. It was topped in sesame seeds with what tasted like a sprinkling of sumac on top. A choice of bread was offered.
I chose salmon for my main course, served in a creamy herb sauce with seasoned farro, tomatoes, bell peppers, zucchini, and fava beans. I’ve had better, but it was moist and all the ingredients pared nicely with one another.
The cheese plate included Oka, Brie, and medium cheddar.
Finally, dessert featured seasonal fruit (kiwi, orange, grapefruit, strawberry) and a milk chocolate praline cream puff drizzled with a sun-dried cherry compote on top. Cappuccino (with Lavazza espresso) was much appreciated.
As if that wasn’t enough, the crew frequently offered snacks to the cabin after the main meal service. S0 much food!
From a taste perspective, I thought the Air Canada meal was wonderful. But there was one issue, which I address below.
The crew was on the young side, quite attentive, quite friendly, and also very professional.
I want to give a shoutout to a couple wonderful crew members on my flight, particularly Babar and Asia who were so kind and professional. Asia had to put up with a particularly problematic passenger…something I want to dedicate a separate post to. Babar was into iPhones and after he saw me taking pictures we had a wonderful conversation about photography and Apple. We’re both very loyal customers!
But there was one thing that really annoyed me on this flight. Take a close look at the meal pictures above, paying particular attention to the remaining flight time in the monitor behind the food. That’s right, it took more than half of the flight to complete the meal service!
My goodness, that is far too long for a five-hour journey! The crew was great, the cabin was full…I’m not sure if this is just how service flows on Air Canada are or whether this was anomaly, but it was unacceptably long. And it’s not like meal service started late and was then served quickly. Meal service started shortly after takeoff and there were long delays between courses. I entertained myself with a couple movies. But if you are flying from Toronto to London, a flight of similar length, be prepared to skip meal service or simply spend the majority of your flight eating dinner. That makes the Signature Suite all the more valuable on a transatlantic flight.
One other note. Even though this flight was in February, some crew members were already wearing masks. I found it so strange at the time…we’ve come a long way.
I liked that the lavatory had a window. It was also clean. Air Canada offers Vitruvi products, including soap, hand moisturizer, and a spray.
IFE + Wi-Fi
In-flight entrainment featured a library of movies, TV shows, games, music, and info about Air Canada.
Noise-cancelling headphones were offered:
But these were collected about an hour prior to landing. We received disposable earphones in their place.
Air Canada also offers high-speed wi-fi onboard the 787-9. I did not connect, but noticed pricing was on an hourly basis and rather high at CAD12.25/hour for high-speed internet.
The prolonged meal service aside, this was a very nice flight. The service levels were certainly international in quality and the bedding extremely comfortable. I would not hesitate to fly Air Canada on a much longer flight in the future.
How would you review the Air Canada 787-9 in “Signature” business class?
Is it really blocked at 7h 30m? That seems long.
That’s an error.
I traveled AC last year from Heathrow via Toronto to Santiago on a rewards ticket, the last flight on a 787-900. No complaints at all although we had had to go to the regular lounge in Toronto, which was ok but nothing special. The first flight on a 777-300 was the best. I’d fly AC any time in business/signature class if I could afford it.
I’ve done ICN-YYZ on a 777-300 with AC. Meal service did take a very long time (we may have even had an extra crew member due to larger 777 cabin?) I wonder if they tried some new procedures to gain efficiency and got too many complaints?
Also – glad you pointed out the tray table as well. After flying Polaris, where the tray table tucks completely under the IFE unit, it was incredibly bothersome while trying to flip on my side during sleep. I’m 6’1″ for reference.
I’m 6’1″ as well. That table really gets annoying.
I hope I could as soon as possible, but border are clised
Was really looking forward to checking out AC Signature class on the 787 MEB-YVR next month we woud have returning home from our month long excursion to the Southern Hemisphere.
I found a rare pair of J award seats from AU-NA that worked with our itin and PTO but COVID shot that to hell.
c’est la vie
Perhaps we try again in 2022.
Re long service flow: On my transcon YVR-YYZ in AC 77W J dinner took nearly the entire flight as well but I found AC meal service to be fine on my usual FRA-YYC/YVR routes…perhaps its a transcon thing?
I guess I didn’t mind it because it was a new product for me and I was just happy to review it. But if I was hungry AND wanted to sleep, I would have been disappointed. That said, an express option (all courses on one tray) was available. I just don’t think “regular” service should take that long.
I flew YYZ-SFO in February, also in J. I seem to recall the meal service taking about 1.5 hours or so, so definitely not as long as you described.
Menu looks the same as my Xmas Eve SFO => YYZ daytime. The tuna apprtizer is exactly the same
What a wasted read. I’ve been traveling for more than 35 years. We all know what the service is like especially in pandemic mode. We all adjust where we can. You are either a ocd or extreme accountant that looks for absolutely everything you can in order to publish. Did you at any time look out the window an Realize how quiet the plane is and how wonderful it is to fly in first class, bowing that you board first. There are only two things that make a flight good and one of them is the service director or flight attendant.
It was a tremendous flight overall. I made that very clear. Not sure what your gripe is, Michael.
Maybe those FA wearing mask in February are among the enlightened people who read the news. Or maybe they simply acknowledged that they are part of the world and not actually the center of the universe.
The pandemic is real. Mask is important. As simple as that.
The nuts on AC are usually warm; sometimes overly so. Your dinner service seemed extraordinary long based on my Signature Class experience. Usually it is efficient but not rushed. Always lots of food.
The Signature Class dining room pre-board at YYZ is excellent. And the connecting flight transfer in BMW across tarmac to International Departure is efficient.
I wasn’t aware of such a dining room. Do you have details?
In chatting with the purser and the flight attendants on my flight from YYZ-YVR, they are running the meal service similar to an international business class flight. Which means that they put more time in between each meal course and setting up the bar cart for each course run. In comparing to the US transcon offerings, the closest comparison is AA in Flagship transcon first, and that’s a first class product. I really don’t have an issue with them taking the time, particularly when the can do a hot breakfast service with drink cart for a 1.5 hour flight in business class.
The Canadian Kit Kats are better than the US ones in the snack basket.
Also, AC has the weird rule of no over the ear headphones during takeoff and landing, hence the earbuds offered. Which, by the way, is one of the best complimentary earbud headphones out there, and I still use mine.
Oh, and this was booked on a saver reward – 25K Mileage Plus miles as part of YUL-YYZ-YVR-SEA trip, all in business except the last segment because it does not have a business class cabin. Score!
No French champagne in business class ???
Im flying the 787 BOG-YYC Dec 20 and looking forward to it, 5.5 hours should go quick. However I did ORD-IST on Turkish with a chef on board so my expectations are high. Will comment on the 21st.
I look forward to your report!
Babar just sent me this article! This really made my day. Thank you for the special mention. I really try to go above and beyond for my passengers!
Thanks for the informative article. What a coincident. Apparently I am also travelling tomorrow (September 25th) to LA seated in 3K.