Air Canada has just released details of a new cabin design for their soon-to-be-received Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The first three aircraft will be delivered to Air Canada in the spring of 2014. The first AC routes to receive the 787 will start on July 1, 2014 from Toronto (YYZ) to Tel Aviv (TLV), and a new Air Canada route from YYZ to Tokyo-Haneda (HND). The Dreamliners will also fly on select domestic Canada and international flights on a “preview” basis as they come into the fleet, which we’ve seen with other new 787 operators.
Not unlike AC’s new 777-300s, the Dreamliners will have three cabins – International Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy. The 787-8s will have a total of 251 seats (comparable to LOT Polish’s 787s, seating 252, which we featured earlier this year). Air Canada describes the 787’s cabin color palette of slate grey and neutral tones, accented with “Canadian red” and “celeste blue”, as being contemporary and sophisticated.
The 787’s Business Class isn’t like J-class in the new 777 or older AC planes. The new 787-8 configuration is a “reverse herringbone”, with four-across seating in a 1-2-1 setup, for a total of 20 lie-flat seats. AC’s older wide-bodies have a “herringbone” Business Class, where the seats face towards the aisle. Instead, the outer pods in the 787 will face the windows, and be angled towards each other in the middle of the cabin. I’m looking forward to seeing this setup; it isn’t easy to look out the window in the current J-class, and it’s challenging to chat with a partner when you’re both in the opposite-facing middle seats. The 787’s window seats might be a bit quieter, too, because your head won’t be up against the outer wall of the fuselage.
The 787s will have new features added to Business Class, including a massage feature in the seats, an 18″ IFE screen with a touch control handset, and a new espresso and cappuccino service for international flights.
Next, the Premium Economy cabin will have 21 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration. This cabin was introduced by AC in the new 777s. The seating in the 787 will be 19.5″ wide, with a seat pitch of 38″. The IFE touch-screens will be either 9″ or 11″ in Premium Economy.
And then we come to the new 787-8 economy cabin, which sports 210 slim-line seats in a 3-3-3 configuration with a 31″ seat pitch. In their press release, AC says that the configuration provides “personal space consistent with the comfort of Air Canada’s current Economy cabin.” The seats are a bit wider than in AC’s new 777s, at 17.3″ vs 17″, but the 787’s five-inch seat recline is one inch less than the new 777’s. Consistent? Perhaps. Comfortable? For the 12 hour-plus flight from TLV to YYZ? Let’s wait for the first passengers’ impressions.
Along with the 15 787-8s that begin delivery next year, Air Canada has ordered 22 787-9s. The first delivery of the -9 is planned for July 2015, and all of AC’s 787s are scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2019. As the 787s come into the AC fleet, current A319s and 767s will be transferred to its “leisure carrier”, Air Canada rouge. As A330s leave the fleet, Air Canada will become “all-Boeing” for its wide-body fleet.
What do you think about this new cabin for Air Canada’s 787s? Have you flown an international business class with this configuration? How about a 9-abreast 787 economy flight? Leave a comment.