- Introduction: A Downgraded Adventure To Oman
- Review: Turkish Airlines Lounge Miami Airport (MIA)
- Review: Air Canada Business Class Airbus A220 (MIA-YUL)
- Review: Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal Airport (YUL)
- Review: Air France Lounge Montreal Airport (YUL)
- Review: SWISS Business Class Airbus A330 (YUL-ZRH)
- Review: SWISS Arrivals Lounge Zurich Airport (ZRH)
- Review: SWISS Business Lounge Zurich Airport (ZRH)
- Review: SWISS Helvetic Business Class Embraer E190-E2 (ZRH-MXP)
- Review: Oman Air Business Class Boeing 787 (MXP-MCT)
- Review: Oman Air Business Lounge Muscat Airport (MCT)
- Review: Oman Air First Lounge Muscat Airport (MCT)
- Review: Oman Air Business Class Airbus A330 (MCT-FRA)
- Review: Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
- Review: Singapore Airlines Business Class Boeing 777 (FRA-JFK)
When it comes to flying within North America, Air Canada definitely offers an elevated experience compared to what you’d get on a US airline. For one, the A220 is a joy to fly, as it’s such a nifty plane. On top of that, Air Canada offers a well-rounded product, with comfortable seats, exceptional entertainment, fast Wi-Fi, good food, and friendly service.
I’m happy I finally had the chance to fly Air Canada’s A220, so let’s get into the review…
In this post:
How I booked my Air Canada business class ticket
I booked my Air Canada business class ticket using Air Canada Aeroplan points, as part of a larger itinerary. Specifically, I booked the following award in business class for 110,000 Air Canada Aeroplan points plus $154.44 in taxes and fees:
1/11 AC1207 Miami to Montreal departing 8:00AM arriving 11:36AM
1/11 LX87 Montreal to Zurich departing 4:50PM arriving 6:15AM (+1 day)
1/12 LX1622 Zurich to Milan departing 5:40PM arriving 6:40PM
1/12 WY144 Milan to Muscat departing 9:30PM arriving 6:45AM (+1 day)
Aeroplan points are easy to come by, as the program is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Chase Ultimate Rewards. On top of that, there’s the Aeroplan® Credit Card (review) in the United States, which is quite rewarding.
Air Canada business class lounge & boarding
My Air Canada flight was departing from Concourse J of Miami Airport, which is the concourse used by many international non-oneworld airlines. Air Canada offers its business class passengers lounge access, so I used the Turkish Airlines Lounge Miami, which I reviewed in the last installment.
Boarding was scheduled for 7:25AM, 35 minutes before the 8AM departure. Sure enough, that’s exactly when boarding started, with business class passengers being invited to board first.
Air Canada A220 business class cabin & seats
Air Canada’s A220 cabins are gorgeous — that’s partly thanks to the modern design of the A220, and partly thanks to Air Canada’s sleek interiors. These planes are equipped with a total of 137 seats, including 12 business class seats and 125 economy class seats.
Before I even talk about business class, I should mention what a joy the A220 is to fly in economy, thanks to the 2-3 configuration. That means there’s only one middle seat per row, compared to the usual two middle seats per row on most mainline aircraft.
Air Canada’s A220 business class cabin consists of three rows in a 2-2 configuration. The one “catch” with this product is that the business class seats aren’t quite as wide as on other mainline jets, due to the A220’s cabin being narrower. You benefit from this in economy, given the 2-3 layout (compared to the 3-3 layout on most mainline jets), while business class is in the same 2-2 layout.
I assigned myself seat 3F, the window seat in the last row on the right side. Air Canada has a respectable 37″ of pitch in its A220 business class, so legroom is quite good. The only catch is that the armrest is pretty narrow, for the reasons I shared above.
As far as the seat features go, the armrest can be raised, and underneath it you’ll find a storage compartment, as well as the power outlets and headphone jack. There’s both a USB-A and AC power outlet.
The seat controls are also on the center console, with the choice to either recline the seat or raise the leg rest.
That’s right, unlike airlines in the US, Air Canada has leg rests in the premium cabins of much of its narrow body fleet. In addition to that, there’s a little foot rest on which you can place your feet, for added comfort. I don’t understand why US airlines haven’t consistently embraced this concept.
The tray table folds out from the far armrest, and can be folded over in half, depending on whether you have a need for the whole tray or not.
As far as other cabin features go, the overhead console on the A220 is super modern, with both reading lights and individual air nozzles.
Lastly, the A220 has large overhead bins, so you should have no issues storing full size carry-ons here. I noticed that during boarding, the business class overhead bins were kept closed, while the economy class overhead bins were kept open. That’s a smart initiative on the crew’s part, to prevent economy passengers from putting their bags in the business class bins.
Another thing I really appreciate about Air Canada’s A220s is how there’s a proper bulkhead between business and economy, and also how “real” curtains are used, both between cabins, and between the cabin and the galley. This makes a big difference compared to what you’ll find on most US airlines.
All-in-all, I found the Air Canada A220 cabin to be great. Air Canada raises the bar for the forward cabin on narrow body aircraft compared to US carriers. The only downside to the A220 is that the business class seats feel a bit narrower, given that the cabin isn’t quite as wide.
Air Canada business class amenities
As far as amenities go, there weren’t too many of those on this flight. Bottled water was distributed during boarding. Air Canada doesn’t do pre-departure drinks on its narrow body aircraft, which personally I don’t mind, but I know some others don’t like.
Breakfast menus and drink lists were also distributed — I love how Air Canada offers these on all meal flights, as it makes the experience feel a bit more premium. Even beyond that, it’s just practical, given how poorly many flight attendants describe meal choices.
Earbuds were also distributed during boarding. These were rather cheap, so I’d recommend bringing your own headphones, if possible.
One thing worth mentioning is that if you end up flying between Canada and Florida on a wide body jet, you actually get the full long haul experience, with pre-departure drinks, bedding, a more extensive meal service, etc. It’s so impressive how Air Canada offers that. Read my Air Canada 787 business class review from Toronto to Miami.
Air Canada A220 business class entertainment & Wi-Fi
Another area where Air Canada excels is when it comes to inflight entertainment. I’ll take it a step further — I think Air Canada has among the best inflight entertainment of any airline.
Air Canada has seat back entertainment throughout its mainline fleet. In A220 business class, each seat is equipped with a 13″ high definition touchscreen monitor, so the screen quality is excellent.
Air Canada’s entertainment selection is extensive, with over 2,500 hours of programming, including everything from movies, to TV shows, to live TV. So not only is the selection huge, but the system is also easy to use.
Of course my favorite thing about having a personal entertainment system is being able to track the progress of the flight through inflight entertainment. Air Canada’s system is nicely customizable, so that you can zoom in or out as much as you’d like.
Air Canada’s A220s also feature Intelsat 2Ku Wi-Fi service. While the speeds aren’t quite as good as with Viasat (in my opinion), they’re still very good. What’s pricing like? Well, first of all, Air Canada offers free messaging for Aeroplan members, so that’s a cool feature. Beyond that, there are four pricing options:
- You can get a “stream pass” for 10.25 CAD for an hour, or 15.50 CAD for the entire flight
- You can get an “ultimate pass” for 13.75 CAD for an hour, or 20.75 CAD for the entire flight
I find that pricing to be fair, though I also find the distinction between the “stream” and “ultimate” pass to be a bit odd. The ultimate pass is obviously supposed to be faster than the stream pass, but it seems like Air Canada might be overselling a bit, if the streaming package is the slower one (since the Wi-Fi wasn’t so fast that I found streaming to be very easy).
Air Canada gets very high marks for inflight entertainment, as the combination of great seat back entertainment and fast Wi-Fi is tough to beat.
Air Canada A220 departure from Miami
Boarding of this flight was efficient, despite all business class seats and nearly all economy seats being occupied. Boarding was complete by 7:50AM, 10 minutes ahead of scheduled departure. At that point the captain made his welcome aboard announcement, informing us of our flight time of three hours, and our anticipated early arrival.
At 8AM on the dot we began our pushback, and at that point the safety video was screened. As we pushed back, we were next to an Air Canada Rouge A321, and then we also had a great view of an Aerolineas Argentinas A330 (which I still really want to fly!!!).
At 8:05AM we began our taxi, and then we had just a short journey to runway 8R, where we were cleared for takeoff at 8:15AM.
Another thing I love about the A220 is the wing and engine view, and seat 3F gave me the perfect vantage point from which to enjoy it. While it was a pretty nasty day underneath the clouds…
…it was gorgeous above the clouds, as always.
Even though the climb out was smooth, it was about 30 minutes after takeoff before the seatbelt sign was turned off.
Air Canada business class breakfast service
After takeoff, the meal service began, with breakfast being served on this flight. You can find the menu and drink list below.
About 15 minutes after takeoff, warm towels were distributed — the towels were thick, and had a very nice scent.
Meal orders had been taken on the ground, and the food was served less than 30 minutes after takeoff, so that was really quick. For breakfast, I selected the parsley omelet with parmesan cheese and spinach, pan fried chicken sausage, hash brown potatoes, and tomato cumin chutney. That was served with a side of fruit and yogurt. There was also a selection from the breadbasket, with the choices being white, multigrain, or sourdough.
Air Canada has been serving this omelet for eons, and it’s kind of a running joke among frequent flyers at the airline. However, I’ve gotta say, it’s one of the best omelets you’ll find at any airline, in my opinion (which, in fairness, is a really low bar).
Drinks were also offered with the meal, and I ordered a cup of coffee.
The service director was working business class, and he frequently passed through the cabin to see if anyone wanted anything else to drink. Later on in the flight I had a glass of sparkling water, but that was the extent of my consumption.
Air Canada A220 business class lavatory
The Air Canada A220 has a lavatory at the very front of the cabin. Oh my gosh, this is such a nice bathroom, especially given just how small lavatories have become on so many 737s. The lavatory is legitimately a decent size, and nowadays that’s a point of differentiation.
Air Canada business class service
I appreciate how Air Canada has a service director on each flight, responsible for the service. On this flight, John was the service director, and he was fantastic. He welcomed each business class passenger by name during boarding and also introduced himself, and he was attentive throughout the flight. He was just an all-around good vibe, so I have nothing but good things to say about service.
In fairness, I find that much like on US airlines, Air Canada has an issue with service consistency. Some crews are great, while others aren’t. I do in general appreciate the concept of a service director, at least, so that there’s someone who passengers can pass on any feedback to. Meanwhile in the US, the lead flight attendant is essentially just someone who gets paid an extra couple of dollars per hour to make announcements and do paperwork.
Air Canada A220 arrival in Montreal
I loved gazing out the window during the flight, because we had amazing views up the coastline in the Northeast. Bonus points to anyone who can identify the below airport. 😉
At 10:35AM the captain announced that we’d shortly start our descent, and would be landing in around 30 minutes. At that point the seatbelt sign was turned on.
I loved the views on descent — it sure was a frigid day in the Montreal area, and I was happy to just be connecting, though the views were stunning. Brrrr…
The approach ended up taking a little bit longer than expected, and landed at 11:10AM. From there we had a short five minute taxi to the arrival gate, where we still arrived over 20 minutes ahead of schedule.
While I didn’t have an exterior view of the A220 in Miami, I had a great view on arrival in Montreal. I love Air Canada’s livery on the A220, especially with the cockpit “mask.” Doesn’t the A220 have such big jet energy?!
Upon arrival, I cleared the transit security process, and then headed to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, prior to my SWISS A330 business class flight to Zurich.
Air Canada’s A220 business class is lovely, especially by North American standards. The A220 is generally a great plane to fly, and Air Canada has one of the best versions of this. I appreciate all the little things that Air Canada does to set the experience apart, from leg rests and foot rests, to great entertainment, to menus.
Flying with North America on a “standard” narrow body doesn’t get much better than this. The only negative thing I can think of is that the A220 has narrower seats in business class than other jets, due to the narrower fuselage.
What’s your take on Air Canada A220 business class?