My Air Canada journey continued from Toronto to Montreal onboard an Airbus A321-200. While Air Canada’s A321s are really starting to show their age, a surprise awaited me on this short 316-mile flight.
Air Canada A321 Business Class Review
Air Canada has a fleet of 15 A321 jets and these are used on a variety of short and mid-haul routes. My Toronto – Los Angeles nonstop evening flight (I changed my routing to come home via Montreal) was also operated by an A321-200.
Air Canada 412
Toronto (YYZ) – Montreal (YUL)
Thursday, January 13
Duration: 01hr, 16min
Distance: 316 miles
Seat: 2F (Business Class)
At 12:10pm, our plane had not yet arrived, but by 12:15pm had pulled up to the gate. Passenger unloaded and by 12:35pm boarding began.
I was first onboard and welcomed by a flight attendant (in French) who handed me a sanitation kit.
The business class cabin includes 16 recliner seats configured in four rows of 2-2 seating. Each seat is 20 inches wide and has 37 inches of pitch.
Seats can be reclined manually via a silver button in the center console and power ports are also located in the center console.
Each seat has a footrest, which I find actually restricts knee room rather than provides any meaningful comfort.
A coat hook was very helpful on this very cold day…
The blue color scheme is…dated. It was well-maintained, but is really starting to show its age. These A321s are pushing 20 years old, so the seat covers from the early 2000s are remind me of flying in high school.
When I transferred to this flight earlier in the day, business class was empty – there were only 4/16 seats occupied. But we left full, with a dozen crewmembers seated in business class. Is this a usual thing on hub-to-hub routes? The flight attendant who sat next to me was Montreal-based and going home. It isn’t clear to me (considering there were no cancellations) why so many crew members had to deadhead or pass ride home instead of working a flight back home.
By the way, the flight attendants may have lavished extra attention on the flight attendants and pilots in business class, but the crewmembers were very well-behaved.
After we pulled out, we taxied over a de-icing area and were promptly de-iced by a quartet of guys…a very efficient process.
Food + Drink
The shocker of the flight was that a snack was served after takeoff, and I don’t just mean a bag of cashews or pretzels. Instead, we were offered (no choice) a lovely smoked salmon plate with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, and olives.
At 316 miles, this was shorter than a Los Angeles to San Francisco flight, where you are lucky if you get a beverage in first class on any of the U.S. legacy carriers.
I had a Canada Dry club soda with lemon with my lunch.
My understanding is that all Air Canada flights serve some sort of meal in business class and that for breakfast flights it is hot (like the omelet I received from Vancouver to Toronto).
Also showing its age was the in-flight-entertainment system, which had a small selection of movies, TV shows, music, and games, but the screen was very small and the system lagged horribly. A USB-A charging port is located adjacent to the screen.
After getting annoyed at the bad lag, I just put the moving map on.
Complimentary headphones were distributed (along with a water bottle).
The business class lavatory, located in the front of the aircraft near the flight deck door), and had hand wash and hand cream from Vitruvi.
We landed on a very cold and gray Montreal afternoon.
Actual flight time was only about 40 minutes, which made it all the more impressive that Air Canada managed a very respectable light meal on this short flight. While the A321 is perhaps my least favorite plane I the Air Canada fleet, it was perfectly comfortable for this brief flight. Just be patient with the IFE!