The entrance to Air Canada’s Signature Suite – Photo: Air Canada
Air Canada’s Signature Suite, its newest lounge at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), officially opened on December 1. Â The Signature Suite creates an environment that makes it easy to forget you’re in an airport. Those eligible to access the lounge can receive complimentary beer, wine, champagne and signature cocktails. Complimentary food will also be available; passengers will be able to dine a la carte from a menu created by Vancouver-based celebrity chef David Hawksworth.
Prior to its opening, Air Canada spared no expense as it invited select media to preview its newest premium creation. Read more to learn about the experience inside the Signature Suite.
Have you ever thought that black was a color that represented Canada? – Image: Air Canada
Okay. There. I said what we were all thinking as Canadian AvGeeks. I just can’t. I am not a fan of Air Canada’s new look.
I want to understand the decisions behind this branding. Except, when I look at it I see nothing but bad things. “Inspired by Canada: Our brand new livery evokes the natural beauty and striking landscapes of our great nation #FlyTheFlag.”
Yeah, okay look. I am Canadian. I used to live in Canada’s subarctic. Black is a very common colo(u)r in Canada. Why? Because it’s freezing cold and dark for nine months of the year.
My Ride to Montreal from Toronto – MSN 400, registration C-GHKR – Photo: Peter J.M. Harrington-Cressman
Sometimes, when you are a true aviation enthusiast, you do things that some people would consider weird or unorthodox. Maybe you are wanting to fly just to experience a certain aircraft type. Or maybe itâ€™s a Saturday evening and you want to catch up with a buddy you havenâ€™t seen for a long time. In my case, I had a number of Aeroplan points that were going to expire. So, I decided to use those points and fly one of my closest friends and myself from Toronto to Montreal and back again — in the same evening.
For at least the last 30-40 years, Air Canada has operated almost hourly flights, known as Rapidair, on what is an extremely busy route between two of Canadaâ€™s largest cities; Toronto (YYZ) and Montreal (YUL), which is about an hour and fifteen minute flight. The route has a lot of competition: WestJet, Porter, Air Canada, and even VIA Rail. Of course, most travelers just want the leastÂ expensive flight, with the best frequency.
As I was doing this flight on points, I had basically only Air Canada to choose from. As a general rule, I donâ€™t like WestJet â€“ Iâ€™ve never had a good flight with them and sometimes all the busy business traveler wants is quiet, attentive service without the comedy shtick. But I digress. What makes these Air Canada Rapidair flights interesting is that there is a wide cross-section of equipment types used on these flights â€“ everything from Dash 8s all the way to A330s. The flight that I picked for my buddy Justen and me was Air Canada flight 834 — being operated by an Airbus A330-300.
Every now and then, the stars align, and the trip you often dream about lands in your lap. Events over the last five years came together over a few days, and the decision to attend the 2015 Sanicole International Airshow in Belgium was made. As a bonus, while researching the trip from Vancouver, Canada, I came across the opportunity for an air-to-air photoshoot. How could I refuse? One new camera and two new lenses laterâ€¦
Traffic at six O’clock: looking out the back of the skyvan, taking air-to-air shots
DAY 1: Vancouver to Toronto on Air Canada & Toronto to Belgium on Jet Airways
Itâ€™s been close to 20 years since Iâ€™ve flown business class (never on my own dime), so I was excited to start my trip in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in Vancouver (YVR). I work at the airport, so itâ€™s always nice to get a new viewpoint of the apron. I knew Iâ€™d be eating non-stop for awhile, so I made do with just a quick coffee and muffin in the lounge, before heading to the gate.