Review: Air Canada Premium Rouge 767 Tampa To Toronto

Filed Under: Air Canada

My flight was departing from Tampa to Toronto at the ungodly hour of 9:45PM, which is way past my bedtime. On the plus side, at least it wasn’t a full-on redeye, as I’d have a comfortable bed to look forward to upon landing.

I arrived at Tampa Airport at around 8:30PM, and the entire process of getting to the gate was a breeze, given that most flights had already departed for the night. Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the experience was that the lady in front of me used her iPad as a mobile boarding pass, which really makes me wonder whether technology is actually making our lives easier or not.

My flight was departing from gate E72, though the inbound plane arrived behind schedule, at 8:55PM. While boarding was scheduled for 9:05PM, it only ended up starting at 9:25PM.

Air Canada departure gate Tampa Airport

I had a solid 20 minutes of entertainment as a lady in the gate area just went off on Air Canada. The flight was operated by a 767, which has very small overhead bins. So they were looking for bags to gate check, and her husband’s bag was way oversized. So she went off on an epic Air Canada rant for a good 15 minutes. It wasn’t actually directed at anyone (best I could tell), but she was saying it loud enough so the people around her could hear it. Lord, did she have strong feelings.

Finally at 9:25PM boarding began for Premium Rouge passengers.

For a bit of background, this flight was operated by Rouge, which is Air Canada’s low cost carrier. Rouge has both narrowbody Airbus aircraft, as well as 767s. While they use 767s primarily for flights to Europe, I guess in the winter season it makes more sense for them to deploy them on flights within North America, where there’s more demand.

Rouge 767s are very tight in economy, and don’t feature a proper business class cabin. Instead they have Premium Rouge, which is sold as premium economy on longhaul flights, though within North America it’s sold similarly to regional business class (given that the seats are similar to what you’ll find in business class on Air Canada narrowbody aircraft).

Air Canada Rouge 1895
Tampa (TPA) – Toronto (YYZ)
Monday, January 2
Depart: 9:45PM
Arrive: 12:29AM (+1 day)
Duration: 2hr44min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 4H (Premium Rouge)

The Rouge 767 featured a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

Air Canada 767 Premium Rouge cabin

Air Canada 767 Premium Rouge cabin

Air Canada 767 Premium Rouge cabin

The seat pitch in Premium Rouge is supposedly 37″, which is pretty much the same you’d get in domestic first class on a U.S. carrier.

Air Canada Premium Rouge legroom

However, the seats are a bit on the narrow side, as you’d expect when there are six seats per row on a 767. Not only are the seats pretty narrow, but the center armrest is pretty tight as well.

Air Canada 767 Premium Rouge, seats 4H & 4K

Air Canada 767 Premium Rouge, seats 4H & 4K

On the plus side, the seats do have footrests, which I far prefer to legrests in these types of configurations.

Air Canada Premium Rouge legroom & footrest

Seat recline was fairly limited, and was manual, wth the button for it being to the right of the seat. That’s also where the call button and reading light button were located.

Air Canada Premium Rouge seat recline

Underneath the center armrest were power ports, which I was happy to see.

Air Canada Premium Rouge outlets

Also waiting at my seat were a basic pillow and blanket, similar to what you’d get on any Air Canada short-haul flight.

Air Canada Premium Rouge pillow & blanket

Before sitting down I had a quick look at the economy cabin, which looked tight, as the seat pitch is just 30″. While the seats in both economy and Premium Rouge looked fine, the cabin as such looked pretty outdated, as you can tell based on the overhead bins, etc.

Air Canada Rouge 767 economy cabin

Boarding on the 767 is always a bit of a challenge, given that everyone boards through the forward door and the aisle is pretty narrow. Business class was boarded pretty quickly, mostly with families traveling together. Economy boarded pretty efficiently as well, despite the fact that the plane was full.

Once most people were settled in, one of the chipper flight attendants came by to offer pre-departure beverages — I selected a cup of water.

Air Canada Premium Rouge pre-departure drink

By 9:50PM boarding was mostly complete, though passengers were having trouble finding overhead bin space for their bags. I felt horribly for the crew, as passengers were taking out their anger over the lack of overhead bin space on them. Some people were quite literally yelling at the flight attendants, but they handled it pretty well.

Shortly before 10PM, Captain Tim made his welcome aboard announcement, which he started with “top of the season to ya.” He informed us of our flight time of 2hr15min, and said the ride should be mostly smooth, though there may be some turbulence over the Carolinas.

At 10PM the door closed, and moments later we began our pushback. At that point the crew began their safety demo. Rouge crews are separate from Air Canada crews, so are typically quite a bit younger. While they were friendly and chipper, they weren’t especially polished. As I often find to be the case with younger flight attendants, the lead flight attendant making the announcements barely seemed to pause for breath during the safety demo, to the point that words ran together and she was tough to understand.

Anyway, by 10:15PM we were airborne, and just five minutes after takeoff the seatbelt sign was turned off. However, five minutes later it was turned on again, as we hit some pretty serious chop. That also meant the crew had to be seated for the next 30 minutes or so.

Finally about 45 minutes after takeoff the ride got better, at which point the crew began their service, starting with distributing hot towels.

Air Canada Premium Rouge hot towel

Shortly thereafter iPads and in-ear headphones were distributed. Unfortunately Rouge doesn’t have any built in entertainment. While I’m not a fan of that (I prefer built in IFE so I can watch the airshow), I do appreciate that they hand out the iPads even on short flights.

Air Canada Premium Rouge iPad

The iPad had a selection of about two dozen movies, as well as some games. Apparently there’s supposed to be streaming content as well, as many passengers asked about it, but I guess the Wi-Fi connection for it wasn’t working.

Air Canada Premium Rouge entertainment system

Air Canada Premium Rouge entertainment system

Air Canada Premium Rouge entertainment system

I ended up watching Florence Foster Jenkins, which was a fantastic movie. I’ll be the first to admit that I have horrible taste in movies, so perhaps it was actually awful, but…

Air Canada Premium Rouge entertainment system

Then a few minutes later meal orders were taken. It’s impressive that they serve a full meal on a 2hr15min flight departing at 10PM, and also that they have printed menus.

The menu read as follows:


To start we were offered drinks and packaged roasted salted almonds. I had a glass of water.

Air Canada Premium Rouge water and almonds

The entire meal was served on one tray, and was surprisingly good.

Air Canada Premium Rouge dinner

To start there was a small mesclun salad with grape tomatoes, shaved fennel, and dill. I appreciated that they served it with a vinaigrette, as U.S. airlines seem to love to offer ranch dressing with salads.

Air Canada Premium Rouge dinner — mesclun salad

For the main course I selected the pasta option, which was a cheese cannelloni with primavera sauce, spinach, and feta.

Air Canada Premium Rouge dinner — cheese cannelloni

Lastly, for dessert there was a small tiramisu.

Air Canada Premium Rouge dinner — tiramisu

Overall the meal was quite good, though I only tried a bit of everything, as I wasn’t hungry (like I said, it was about six hours past my dinnertime in Florida at this point). 😉

I watched the movie for the rest of the flight, and shortly before the descent checked out the lavatory at the front of the cabin. The lavatory was pretty typical for a 767.

Air Canada Rouge 767 lavatory

Air Canada Rouge 767 lavatory

At around midnight we began our descent, at which point the first officer provided updated landing information. We touched down in Toronto at 12:30AM, and from there had a 10 minute taxi to the gate, where we arrived just a bit behind schedule due to our late departure. I was excited to finally get a proper night of sleep!

Air Canada Premium Rouge bottom line

For flights within North America, Premium Rouge is basically the same as Air Canada’s regional business class, except there’s no built-in entertainment, and the crews aren’t quite as experienced (which can be both a good and bad thing, depending on how you look at it).

For longhaul flights, Premium Rouge is like premium economy, minus the built in entertainment. Personally if I were to fly premium economy on a transatlantic flight I’d want to choose a product that offers Wi-Fi and built-in entertainment, though in fairness, Rouge flies to some pretty unique destinations that aren’t otherwise served much out of North America.

So on longhaul flights this will be a very different experience than Air Canada’s excellent longhaul business class, though that should be expected, given that this is a premium economy product.

Overall I was impressed by the fact that there was a full meal on a flight departing so late, though.

  1. “I’ll be the first to admit that I have horrible taste in movies, so perhaps it was actually awful…”

    Anything starring Meryl Streep is going to be a winner for me. She can somehow turn a movie version of a septic tank into a garden of roses.

  2. You posted a picture of a cup of water?

    I think you have written a script to write these reviews, haven’t you?

  3. Being a frequent AC traveller, I am of the opinion that Rouge economy is horrible. There are no smaller seat or less leg room out there. Often they change your already booked AC flight to a Rouge flight and we Canadians call it “getting Rouged”. The food in AC in general is pretty good. They even serve a hot snack meal on hour long flights. The chicken pot pie is delish!

  4. I agree with LisaL… Rouge economy is dreadful and needs to be avoided at all costs. Premium Rouge is also dreadful and needs to be avoided at all costs. I can’t believe they fly these old boats to Europe…

    I like the crew uniform (especially the John Fluevog shoes) if that counts for anything.

  5. Wow. This is better than domestic first-class within the United States on Delta, American and United on all but the premium N.Y. to Los Angeles/San Francisco routes. I’m impressed.

  6. Hi Ben,

    I’m a new member to this blog, and I am LOVING it! Like you, I am a big aviation enthusiast and love to travel. I just want to let you know that I really enjoy everything that you have to offer on the blog, and it has become my go-to site. Keep up the good work!

    -Ocean Shen from DE

  7. I dislike Air Canada Rouge and only use as a last resort. Find there staff are rude and uncaring. Seats are terrible and just all around just disorganized and they don’t care. I fly other carriers same pricing same destination…as I said prior only in a pinch.

  8. Flew Rouge YYZ to ATH last summer. Economy is comparable to most US carriers, with a few exceptions:

    1) Pitch was slightly smaller (not much difference)
    2) Food A LOT BETTER (US airlines food is the pits)
    3) Crew was superb (friendly and efficient)
    4) I *LOVE* the 767 econ vs. the truly dreadful 777. It is 2-3-2 so minimal chance of getting a middle seat and wonderful window seats for solo travelers (I can easily climb over 1 PAX but not 2). Did I say how much I hate the 777?

    I’d fly them again…

  9. Random question: why seemingly only in North America are departure/arrival times shown to the minute (12:29AM) rather than rounded to five minutes (12:30AM) as is the case in Europe and Asia?

    I have trouble imagining even at the best of times that airlines could hit the exact minute for a departure, or especially, an arrival.

  10. My family of 4 flew from YVR to Dublin last summer on Air Canada Rogue. The fare was at least $200USD less per person than flying out from Seattle where we live. The flight itself is ok, though the plane IS old. But it is Direct, anything I can do to avoid a transfer on the East Coast in the summer is a win. Also, saving 20% on the flight is not bad.

  11. To the people whinging about the cup of water, generally in most trip reports there is an image of the pre-departure beverage. Most times it is a glass of champagne or something. In this case the water illustrates an important point; how shit this airline is.

  12. @FNT Delta Diamond
    Do you have any contact info, FT perhaps? I’m based out of MBS, sometimes traveling out of FNT or DTW and would love to just reach out 🙂

    Didn’t see it in this post, but seem to see it time to time. I would really watch out on using “instagram” filters. It can look at times really tacky and unprofessional, especially ones that add a blue-ish hue to the picture. I really love reading your TR and images play a big role. May be just me, but it’s just a weird quirk that at times seems out of place. Keep it up!

  13. I’m Canadian and everyone I know who has ever flown Rouge even once says “never again” when they get home, so I have no plans to try it. On the subject of 767’s, the mainline AC fleet of 767’s is actually the best aircraft to select if you fly economy – it has a decent seat pitch and the configuration is 2 – 3 – 2, meaning aisle seat in the center section is where you want to be. BTW the flight attendants on Rouge are “younger and not as polished” because they’re paid a lot less that mainline AC crews.

  14. My wife and daughter flew Rouge economy from PSP to YVR, they said they had lots of room compared to 737 or A320 that other airlines would use on the route. I have flown in these planes in their previous guise as AC flights to Beijing and São Paulo, some in this configuration and others with the old lie flat seats. Probably getting a little long in the tooth.

  15. Ahh TIA, I love and hate that place. Love it cause it was the first airport I ever went to and traveled from and hate it because now when I travel all the flights I take leave a 5am.

  16. I’m not a fan of rouge and was surprised to read such a positive review. The planes are old and the seats are not so great (in size or upkeep). The ipads are also a disappointment. But otherwise, the food and service is similar to the old business class on this route. I flew it last night and we even had the standard ramekin of warm almonds and cashews, rather than the bag of almonds Lucky was given. Rouge is tolerable between Canada and America, but I wouldn’t want to take it transatlantic.

  17. @Lucky
    Out of curiosity, you have been to many airports. So what do you think about Tampa International Airport. I personally find it good (not just because i lived there). If you would rate it from 1-10, what would you say.

  18. Seriously where do people get off thinking they can yell at flight attendants?
    If I came to your work place, locked the door and verbally abused you, I think you would call
    security. I can’t believe customers who feel such entitlement.
    Customers who cause disruption are written up and banned
    from the airline and good thing too. Rouge flight attendants go through intense
    SAFETY training and deserve respect.
    Serving you a drink and something to eat is considered 5% of the job.
    If there is an emergency are you really going to care what the flight attendant’s makeup looks like?

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *