An Air Canada 777-300ER being prepared for a transcontinental flight from Vancouver to Toronto
Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to try out Air Canadaâ€™s new Signature Class cabin and lounge experiences.
Launched in June, the service is aimed squarely at the business/first class traveler, and competes quite readily with existing offerings by its North American mainline-carrier rivals.
Domestic Signature service is offered on flights between Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver to Toronto; daily flights between Montreal and New York-Newark to Vancouver; between Calgary, Edmonton, and Toronto; and between Toronto and Honolulu. Internationally, it’s offered on all Air Canada flights serviced using Boeing 767, 777, and 787, as well as Airbus A330 aircraft.
The routing for my flights were SEA-YVR-YYZ-SEA. The hop from Seattle to Vancouver was in standard coach class on a venerable Bombardier Q400.
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.
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.
Celebrating Aer Lingus’ return to Toronto – Photo: Philip Debski
Back on April 14, 2014, Aer Lingus officially launchedÂ its comeback to Canada. That Monday was dark and wet, with pouring rain, when flight ‘Shamrock 1 Mike 9’ (129 in the reservation system) landed for the first time in Toronto (YYZ). The company has returned to the Canadian market after 30 years of absence, last flying to Canada in the 70s and 80s with scheduled flights toÂ MontrÃ©alâ€“Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)Â and rare charter flights to YYZ.
The Dublin – Toronto route is part of the company’s recent transatlantic expansion plans. This is the 4thÂ new launch by the airline.
Being served by their recently-acquired Boeing 757s, the route will be daily during the summer and 4x weekly during the winter. Toronto, for Aer Lingus, is an important business and tourism market, and also homeÂ to a growing Irish community.
Sparkling-new Air Canada 777-300ER C-FIVX at the Boeing Delivery Center, Paine Field, Everett WA.Â Photo: Bernie Leighton
It’s looking pretty busy at Air CanadaÂ (AC) and not just because they’ve launched their new “leisure airline,” rouge.
This summer, AC took delivery of the first two 777-300ERs from their latest five-plane order. When this order is completed, AC will have 17 -300ERs and 6 -200LRs in their international fleet. While AC’s new 777s look standard on the outside, they are very different inside.
Their newest 777s are configured in a new, three-class cabin, seating 458. That’s a huge 30% capacity increase from AC’s older 777-300ERs, which have 349 seats in a two-class arrangement. What all has changed? Obviously we had to take a closer look.