Air Canada A220 Business Class: Quite Delightful!

Air Canada A220 Business Class: Quite Delightful!

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Hello from Montreal, as I’ve just embarked on a review trip to Oman! To kick off this journey, I flew Air Canada’s Airbus A220-300 business class from Miami to Montreal (which I booked using Aeroplan points).

While I’ll have a full trip report soon, in this post I wanted to share my initial impressions of the experience on this three hour flight, as this was my first time flying on Air Canada’s A220. Truth be told, this was an excellent flight, partly thanks to the general attributes of the A220, and partly thanks to Air Canada’s superior entertainment and soft product.

Air Canada’s A220 business class cabin is comfortable

From a passenger experience standpoint, the Airbus A220 is one of my favorite aircraft to fly. There’s so much to like about this plane, from the huge windows, to the modern cabin, to the 2-3 layout in economy (which means you have fewer middle seats than on other planes), to the spacious lavatories.

Air Canada A220 business class cabin

Air Canada’s A220s are as good as any out there, and feature a comfortable business class cabin, with 12 seats, in a 2-2 configuration. Now, while the economy cabin on the A220 feels exceptionally spacious, it’s worth noting that on all airlines, the business class cabin feels a bit tighter. That’s because business class has the same 2-2 layout you’d find on a 737 or A320, except the cabin is significantly narrower.

Air Canada A220 business class seats
Air Canada A220 business class seats

Still, Air Canada has the most comfortable A220 I’ve flown to date. I found legroom to be a bit better than on Delta, and seats even have leg rests, which you don’t find on US airlines. I also appreciate how unlike on US airlines, Air Canada has real curtains between different cabins, and also has proper bulkheads between business class and economy.

Air Canada A220 business class lavatory

Air Canada has excellent entertainment, good Wi-Fi

Air Canada’s A220s feature seat back televisions throughout the aircraft. Not only are the screens high definition, but I found the system easy to use, and the entertainment selection to be huge. It’s nice how committed Air Canada is to inflight entertainment, as the airline even has personal televisions on smaller regional jets.

Entertainment options included everything from movies, to TV shows, to live TV. There were programs from Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO MAX, and more, so it’s easy to stay entertained on Air Canada. My favorite part of these systems is the map feature, of course. 😉

Air Canada A220 business class entertainment

Air Canada’s A220s also feature Wi-Fi, with the Intelsat 2Ku service. While I didn’t find the speeds to be quite as good as with Viasat, they were still plenty fast to stay productive. Wi-Fi for the entire flight with no data caps cost 15.50-20.75 CAD (~11.55-15.46 USD), which I found to be reasonable. On top of that, Air Canada offers free messaging for Aeroplan members.

Air Canada A220 Wi-Fi options & pricing

Air Canada’s food & service can be good

At the end of the day, Air Canada is a North American airline, so the soft product isn’t to the level of what you’d find in Asia, for example. However, I do find that Air Canada is a notch above US carriers.

For example, the airline offers printed menu on all meal flights in business class, which is a nice touch.

Air Canada business class menu

Breakfast was served on this flight, with the choice of a parsley omelet or maple butter pancakes. I selected the former, which came with chicken sausage and hash browns. This was also served with a side of yogurt and fruit, and was tasty.

Air Canada business class breakfast

As you’d expect from a North American airline, service on Air Canada can be hit or miss, though on average I find it to be better than on US carriers. On this flight I was lucky to have great service, thanks to the excellent service director, John, who was working business class.

Bottom line

Air Canada’s Airbus A220 business class offers a great passenger experience, thanks to the general attributes of the A220, combined with Air Canada’s above average cabin finishes. I love how Air Canada has leg rests, personal televisions with a huge entertainment selection, and fast and reasonably priced Wi-Fi. Air Canada’s soft product is also a bit better than what you’ll find on other airlines, with printed menus, pretty good food, and friendly service.

All else being equal, I’d totally fly Air Canada again over just about any US carrier on a narrow body jet.

What’s your take on Air Canada’s A220 business class?

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  1. AD Diamond

    Not about the 220, but I was amazed to get on an AC (regional carrier operated) CRJ that had in-flight entertainment monitors. Never seen that on a CRJ before. As Ben says, they are committed to IFE. Staff was lovely on my two most recent AC flights. But my employer only buys refundable fares, so $4800 for DCA-Ottawa with a late-night connection in Toronto. Did someone say monopoly? And their ops suck. Everything was late...

    Not about the 220, but I was amazed to get on an AC (regional carrier operated) CRJ that had in-flight entertainment monitors. Never seen that on a CRJ before. As Ben says, they are committed to IFE. Staff was lovely on my two most recent AC flights. But my employer only buys refundable fares, so $4800 for DCA-Ottawa with a late-night connection in Toronto. Did someone say monopoly? And their ops suck. Everything was late with no bad weather in sight. Got to my hotel after 2am.

  2. Steven Guest

    I flew BOS-YYZ on a 220 in Business. The seat is comfortable but there’s not a lot of space for your arms. The class decider between C and Y are wobbling at take off and landing you expect it to fall down.
    Crappy service was received, no meal, just a bag of chips. Crew not friendly at all, they forget passengers like they call us, are customers who pay lot of money to the...

    I flew BOS-YYZ on a 220 in Business. The seat is comfortable but there’s not a lot of space for your arms. The class decider between C and Y are wobbling at take off and landing you expect it to fall down.
    Crappy service was received, no meal, just a bag of chips. Crew not friendly at all, they forget passengers like they call us, are customers who pay lot of money to the company so the employees get paid. And on top 3h delay on a under 2h flight… when claiming damages for missed appointment s the reaction was delays under 4h are standard … Air Canada are bunch of not worth to promote the self’s to be star alliance stated here by a 20y plus LH Senator

  3. Kool flyer Guest

    This review is ridiculous. I am a million mile flyer and super elite on air canada and we will never book a flight on this plane and any rouge flight. The business class on this plane has the smallest space for your legs, the arm rest between the two seats is similar to economy class where you have to share the arm rest, the angle of the plane makes the window seat undesirable hichbis where...

    This review is ridiculous. I am a million mile flyer and super elite on air canada and we will never book a flight on this plane and any rouge flight. The business class on this plane has the smallest space for your legs, the arm rest between the two seats is similar to economy class where you have to share the arm rest, the angle of the plane makes the window seat undesirable hichbis where I sat the one flight I took from toronto to kelowna. The economy seats are the same as Rouge flights.

    This plane was made in Quebec for Canadians under the airbus transaction and the seats are horrible. The older 319 320 321 are all better, with the max planes being g the best narrow body

  4. iamhere Guest

    Looks like an average business class for a short flight. The seats are not much better than economy. The meal did not look tasty. Interesting how you are raving all about this when you have had similar experiences on other airlines and you had some pretty low comments.

  5. The nice Paul Guest

    Post-Covid I don’t choose to fly Air Canada — an airline that thought it was only right they should steal their customers’ money. Ause for a second to think about that: do you really want to give your money to such a corporation? Anyway, IRROPS a couple of months ago put me on an AC A220 flight from Toronto to Montreal.

    It was excellent. The business class cabin was nice enough, though I also...

    Post-Covid I don’t choose to fly Air Canada — an airline that thought it was only right they should steal their customers’ money. Ause for a second to think about that: do you really want to give your money to such a corporation? Anyway, IRROPS a couple of months ago put me on an AC A220 flight from Toronto to Montreal.

    It was excellent. The business class cabin was nice enough, though I also found it a bit cramped — but fine for a ~1 hour flight. The domestic AC lounge/cafe was pleasant enough too. Not spectacular. But pleasant.

    Porter is still my preferred Canadian airline.

  6. W Diamond

    Did you get the paid upgrade option to Swiss First Class for your flight today?

  7. Jim Guest

    I fly AC a lot from the US to Asia via YYZ. They have definitely stepped up their C service on flights under 2 hours. I agree about the parsley omelette -- they have been offering it for at least 10 years and it's time for a refresh.

  8. Julia Guest

    They really need to offer an egg option beaides that parsley omlette though.

    1. Joffrey Guest

      Julia, with utmost respect I disagree. That parsley omelette is a cult classic.

  9. Cbchicago Guest

    The curtains on US Airlines were changed for security reasons after 9 11.

  10. BradStPete Diamond

    I begin flying AC years ago between different points in the NE USA and YUL, YOW and YYz and was impressed with the service onboard AC. Between TPA and YYZ as well. My experience has been in both cabins that the inflight care is superior to US carriers. I complimented a YOW gate agent on the service I had enjoyed and she was shocked ! " Our people hate us ! " LOL.
    I must say I do miss CPAir/Canadian/Canadien...

    1. Steven Guest

      Yep, between our hockey games, we like to complain about how much Air Canada suck, which they do indeed. In business class, they are one of the better airlines I have experienced, but most Canadians can barely afford a plane ticket let alone the upgrade, and in economy, we have some serious problems.

    2. Alex Guest

      AC economy still beats the US airlines though, which is the point he’s trying to make. We complain about AC here in Canada all the time, and people often reference the “monopoly” and yet, somewhere with many different carries (like the US) actually has it *even worse* than Canada.

  11. Daniel M Guest

    Your review might be true for business class, but my six-hour flight yesterday IAD-YVR on the Boeing MAX-8 had no free snacks in economy class (that's right - not even pretzels or cookies - and not because of an error in catering - the flight attendant said that's just their policy). Furthermore, the airplane didn't have Wifi. And Air Canada still uses the cheap, horrible Z gate area at IAD that has literally no restaurants...

    Your review might be true for business class, but my six-hour flight yesterday IAD-YVR on the Boeing MAX-8 had no free snacks in economy class (that's right - not even pretzels or cookies - and not because of an error in catering - the flight attendant said that's just their policy). Furthermore, the airplane didn't have Wifi. And Air Canada still uses the cheap, horrible Z gate area at IAD that has literally no restaurants around and nowhere near enough seats. (but thank god for the Capital One lounge now being open)

    1. AD Diamond

      Have to agree about the Z gates. I didn't even know they existed. I landed there (after having flown out of DCA and equally bad terminal one -- love T1 from the outside, but not the inside) and thought "where the f*** am I?

  12. LB Guest

    I think AC serves that same fricking omelet with accompaniments on every morning business class flight, trans-border and within Canada. While on the very short ORD-YYZ flight the breakfast seemed like a treat, it was not a treat on the 7 hour Halifax-Vancouver flight. It was exactly the same breakfast on both flights. And, no second meal on that 7 hour haul! Note that lounge access is only offered from the departing airport. You can’t...

    I think AC serves that same fricking omelet with accompaniments on every morning business class flight, trans-border and within Canada. While on the very short ORD-YYZ flight the breakfast seemed like a treat, it was not a treat on the 7 hour Halifax-Vancouver flight. It was exactly the same breakfast on both flights. And, no second meal on that 7 hour haul! Note that lounge access is only offered from the departing airport. You can’t enter the lounge at the arrival airport.

    1. Alex Guest

      Get 50k/star alliance gold status and you can use the MLL on arrival. I do it all the time. I agree that it’s very unfortunate they offer no food in economy domestic even when it’s a nearly 7hr 2750mi flight. Though the prices tend to reflect that - I was able to get YHZ-YVR in PY (later upgraded to J with eUPs) for $790 round trip, the economy tickets were as low as $390.

      Now...

      Get 50k/star alliance gold status and you can use the MLL on arrival. I do it all the time. I agree that it’s very unfortunate they offer no food in economy domestic even when it’s a nearly 7hr 2750mi flight. Though the prices tend to reflect that - I was able to get YHZ-YVR in PY (later upgraded to J with eUPs) for $790 round trip, the economy tickets were as low as $390.

      Now the YHZ-LHR flight is basically the exact same length and offers complimentary food and alcohol but the cheapest I’ve seen them sell a basic economy ticket is $900… more than I paid for premium economy and almost 3x the basic economy ticket of the YVR route.

  13. Justin Guest

    I've flown Delta, United, Westjet and Air Canada domestic/transborder business classes over the past couple of years and concluded that AC is the best quality. It comes with lounge access, printed menus, service and food quality tends to be a notch better. The Air Canada Cafe in Toronto is a good place for a layover too.

    1. Justin Guest

      Forgot that I also tried AA too. AC domestic/transborder business just seems more refined than the others. Combine that with lounge access without status or membership and its a better product assuming price is the same.

    2. Baliken Guest

      I went to the maple leaf lounge at YUL the morning of Dec 29 prior to a flight to ORD. There was a queue to enter the lounge, and a queue to get coffee. I left to sit in one of the restaurants. Access to that particular lounge is not a benefit.

  14. Julia Guest

    The parsley omelet is a staple of Air Canada's business catering and is the butt of so many jokes from AC frequent flyers. It has been on the menu for years and if you are taking a flight that includes a morning service you can almost guarantee that the parsley omelet will be on the menu.

    I agree that they did a great job with business on the A220. I have flown it many...

    The parsley omelet is a staple of Air Canada's business catering and is the butt of so many jokes from AC frequent flyers. It has been on the menu for years and if you are taking a flight that includes a morning service you can almost guarantee that the parsley omelet will be on the menu.

    I agree that they did a great job with business on the A220. I have flown it many times now and it is always a comfortable experience. The large overhead bins are also welcome when carrying on.

    1. Julia Guest

      Correction: breakfast not morning service.

    2. QQ Guest

      Their change from the roasted red pepper to the new stuff is a step down in my opinion. I liked the old breakfast omelette even though it hadn’t changed in years

    3. cls Guest

      The comments on other flyer sites about that omelette are indeed legendary. And it looks like for at least Ben's flight they replaced the infamous cottage cheese-like side dish with yogurt, that'll make a lot of folks happy.

  15. Syd Guest

    I flew a short YUL - LGA hop on an AC Express CRJ last year, and agree with everything you said. By every metric the flight was a little to quite significantly better than most my flights on UA/DL (can't really compare to AA, been years since my last trip.)

  16. LOA Member

    I hope Airbus' acquisition of this jet allows them to learn how to design and incorporate big windows in their future airplanes. Legacy Airbus models all have windows that are too small compared to the competitor. Even the A350 windows, while an improvement over the older Airbus models, still does not compare to the 787 nor the 777!

    I recently flew back to back on an A350 followed by a 787 in economy (Asia,...

    I hope Airbus' acquisition of this jet allows them to learn how to design and incorporate big windows in their future airplanes. Legacy Airbus models all have windows that are too small compared to the competitor. Even the A350 windows, while an improvement over the older Airbus models, still does not compare to the 787 nor the 777!

    I recently flew back to back on an A350 followed by a 787 in economy (Asia, regional, Thai and ANA) and I was shocked how the 787 cabin felt roomier!!! Yes, the 787 economy is tight but it is also tight on the A350. That extra 0.5-1in extra space that the A350 offers that people gloat about was hardly noticeable. But the 787 felt roomier thanks to the large windows, which brought so much light in, and the sleek interior architecture and lighting. On the other hand, the A350 felt dark and the interior architecture felt too bulky that it makes the Y cabin feel "tight". And I say this as a A350 fan due to the quiet cabin during flight. The 787 is not that far behind in that regard though.

    1. JetBlueFanboy Guest

      I 100% agree on the windows! Even though I have yet to fly on an A350, I do agree that Airbus' windows on their other aircraft are far too small vs. the competition. They're perfectly fine for looking out of, but they let in very little natural light, creating a really dim & almost industrial-feeling cabin.

  17. Matt Guest

    Did you get the LX F buy-up offer?

  18. jallan Gold

    @lucky Under the first photo you say "business class has the same 2-2 layout you’d find on a 737 or A220." I think you meant to say "A320."

  19. Icarus Guest

    Meanwhile some lunatic was boarding an AC flight YYZ to DXB, crossed the cabin, opened the door and fell out

    What goes through people’s minds ?

  20. stogieguy7 Diamond

    Although I have yet to fly one of AC's A220s, I've flown AC and I've flown the A220. I find AC to usually be a better airline than any of the US carriers (though I'll admit that when they're bad, they're horrible - something I've been lucky enough to avoid thus far). As for the A220, what a masterpiece of engineering! It flies like a larger aircraft, is quiet, relatively roomy, and has those awesome...

    Although I have yet to fly one of AC's A220s, I've flown AC and I've flown the A220. I find AC to usually be a better airline than any of the US carriers (though I'll admit that when they're bad, they're horrible - something I've been lucky enough to avoid thus far). As for the A220, what a masterpiece of engineering! It flies like a larger aircraft, is quiet, relatively roomy, and has those awesome big windows. Being relatively new, it's usually adorned with the newest seats of whoever is operating it.

    So, your review confirms my thoughts on how ACs A220s are to fly.

  21. Michael Guest

    The 220 is my fav in North America as well. While AC drives me insane on the regular, I’ll take them over an American airline for short haul. Can’t wait to read the Oman Air update, I ditched my LHR - SIN business class on Singapore to try FRA - MCT - KUL in First later on this month, with 3 hours to try the lounge. The retro A330 should be fun if the cabin is empty. 100k Aeroplan points for 14 hours in First and 3 hours in the lounge was a steal!

  22. Nick Guest

    Really nice looking jet, but that maple leaf on the loo wall kinda look like a blood stain...

  23. DWT Guest

    It's interesting that although it appears AC and DL have the same model of seats up front, DL's has those pesky airbag seatbelts whereas AC does not. I wonder if the slightly more pitch on AC does away with the airbag seatbelt requirement.

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Daniel M Guest

Your review might be true for business class, but my six-hour flight yesterday IAD-YVR on the Boeing MAX-8 had no free snacks in economy class (that's right - not even pretzels or cookies - and not because of an error in catering - the flight attendant said that's just their policy). Furthermore, the airplane didn't have Wifi. And Air Canada still uses the cheap, horrible Z gate area at IAD that has literally no restaurants around and nowhere near enough seats. (but thank god for the Capital One lounge now being open)

1
LOA Member

I hope Airbus' acquisition of this jet allows them to learn how to design and incorporate big windows in their future airplanes. Legacy Airbus models all have windows that are too small compared to the competitor. Even the A350 windows, while an improvement over the older Airbus models, still does not compare to the 787 nor the 777! I recently flew back to back on an A350 followed by a 787 in economy (Asia, regional, Thai and ANA) and I was shocked how the 787 cabin felt roomier!!! Yes, the 787 economy is tight but it is also tight on the A350. That extra 0.5-1in extra space that the A350 offers that people gloat about was hardly noticeable. But the 787 felt roomier thanks to the large windows, which brought so much light in, and the sleek interior architecture and lighting. On the other hand, the A350 felt dark and the interior architecture felt too bulky that it makes the Y cabin feel "tight". And I say this as a A350 fan due to the quiet cabin during flight. The 787 is not that far behind in that regard though.

1
AD Diamond

Not about the 220, but I was amazed to get on an AC (regional carrier operated) CRJ that had in-flight entertainment monitors. Never seen that on a CRJ before. As Ben says, they are committed to IFE. Staff was lovely on my two most recent AC flights. But my employer only buys refundable fares, so $4800 for DCA-Ottawa with a late-night connection in Toronto. Did someone say monopoly? And their ops suck. Everything was late with no bad weather in sight. Got to my hotel after 2am.

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