Air Canada will temporarily add some all business class jets to its fleet, though the business class seats will be sold as premium economy.
Air Canada’s all business class service
Air Canada has a charter division called Air Canada Jetz, with a fleet consisting of three Airbus A319s. These planes are available for charter, and are typically used by sports teams.
The planes are in an all business class configuration, with just 58 seats, and seats have 42-49″ of pitch, which is significantly more spacious than Air Canada’s typical regional business class.
As you’d expect, Air Canada Jetz doesn’t have much business right now, so Air Canada will actually be adding these planes to its commercial fleet for some amount of time.
Air Canada Jetz A319
Which routes feature Air Canada Jetz planes?
As of June 1, 2020, Air Canada will be flying Air Canada Jetz planes on select flights from Toronto to both Montreal and Ottawa. This will include 2x daily roundtrip flights in each market.
You’ll easily be able to identify these flights based on the fact that they’ll have flight numbers between 490 and 499.
How expensive are tickets?
This is where it gets especially interesting. The seats on the Air Canada Jetz planes are better than the typical regional business class, as the pitch is much better.
However, all seats on these special flights will be sold as premium economy rather than business class. For example, looking at pricing between Toronto and Montreal, you’ll notice that the price of these special flights is somewhere between the normal economy and business class pricing.
Each passengers will receive two free checked bags with these fares.
How much do award tickets cost on these flights?
Members can also redeem mies for these flights, though keep in mind that many Star Alliance partner programs don’t allow premium economy redemptions on partner airlines.
When booking through Air Canada Aeroplan, premium economy prices out at 10,000 miles one-way from Toronto to Montreal.
As a point of comparison, business class on other flights prices at 15,000 miles one-way.
So premium economy is quite a steal, especially as it only costs 2,500 more miles than economy.
What will service be like on these flights?
You might be wondering what service will be like on these all business class planes that are sold as premium economy. Well, service will be non-existent due to the pandemic, which is the case regardless of what plane or class of service you fly for these markets.
Air Canada is promoting less waiting time for both boarding and deplaning (given the lower capacity), that flights will depart from prime gates, and that boarding will only begin 25 minutes before departure.
Air Canada Jetz cabin
Why is Air Canada doing this, though?
As Air Canada describes it, this is part of the carrier’s “ongoing effort to engage customers and bring forth new and innovative ideas.” Yeah, I’m not sure what exactly to make of this initiative:
- Demand is virtually non-existent right now
- While people probably like the concept of “social distancing” or less crowded planes, chances are that most leisure travelers don’t want to pay 3x the economy fare for a 45 minute flight
- I could see the merit to a “business shuttle” in some of these markets during peak business times, but business travel is way down
- While Air Canada has been doing a great job engaging customers through its loyalty program, I’m not sure how exactly this engages customers?
My only guess is that Air Canada is short of smaller mainline planes at this point, and demand is very limited. Air Canada is retiring A319s and most A320s are grounded, so is the airline at the point of just thinking “well, these flights won’t have more than a few dozen passengers anyway, so we might as well?”
I dunno, this is an odd one…
Air Canada Jetz A319 cabin
Starting June 1, Air Canada will fly all business class configured A319s from Toronto to Montreal and Ottawa, and will sell the seats as premium economy. It’s cool to see these planes usually reserved for charters join the commercial fleet, though I’m still not sure I get the business idea behind it.
What do you make of Air Canada Jetz flying from Toronto to Montreal and Ottawa?