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Airline: Air Canada
Aircraft: 787-9 (789) “Dreamliner”
Flight #: AC782
Route: Los Angeles (LAX) to Montreal (YUL)
Date: November 6th, 2019
Departure Time: 8:15am scheduled, 8:30am actual
Arrival Time: 4:15pm
Duration: 4 hours, 45 minutes
Cabin: Business Class
Seats: 5D, 5G
Miles Used: 30K United miles per person, for entire trip LAX-YUL-FDF
Taxes & Fees: $5.60
Typical Cost to Purchase: $1000
Value: 3.3 cents/mile
Ah the beauty of aircraft swaps.. when it works in your favor.
Less than 12 hours before departure we were set to leave on an A320, but with the swap we were set to fly to Montreal on a beautiful new 789 Dreamliner. Spoiler alert the Air Canada Dreamliner is just as amazing as its name suggests 🙂
Less than 12 hours before the flight, I was checking in and noticed that instead of being a 2-2 configuration, it was now a 1-2-1. We still had the same seats, but instead of sitting next together there was an aisle in the way.
I had sent an Expert Flyer email alert for flight changes or aircraft changes (as one should always do), but I didn’t have any notifications, which was strange. I then logged into expert flyer and did a search, and it was still set as an A320. In hindsight that made sense because Expert Flyer hadn’t been notified of the aircraft swap, therefore it wouldn’t notify me either.
Still confused though, I called Air Canada directly and the representative said on his end it looks like an aircraft swap was implemented less than an hour ago. We were now set to travel our five hour flight to Montreal on a 787-9 Dreamliner!
It took about another hour for the flight alert to show up on expert flyer FYI so that’s something to keep in mind that sometimes the notifications and changes on expert flyer take a few hours to process.
How We Booked Air Canada Business Class
This was the first flight of two on our way traveling from LAX to Martinique (and then St. Barts, Saba, Sint Maarten and Las Vegas!) We used a total of 30K United miles each to travel from LAX to Montreal (with a one-night layover) and then flew the next day from Montreal to Martinique.
It can be difficult to travel to the Caribbean on points and miles, especially in business class. The trick is to be flexible on both dates AND routings. Also keep in mind only certain islands in the Caribbean have airports that offer direct flights to and from the United States
Air Canada LAX Check In
There were a few issues with check in. The first was that the agent couldn’t located Jess’ reservation. After about five minutes of searching, the agent kept saying that I was the only passenger on my itinerary and that there was no record of a Jessica Stewart on the flight. While that is unnerving to hear right when you arrive to the airport, luckily, we had checked in the night before and had our mobile boarding passes on our phones. Jess showed her boarding pass and the agent was finally able to locate her reservation.
The second issue was with printing the boarding passes. The agent said that there was an issue with the machine and would only be able to print our first boarding pass, and not the second one for the flight from Montreal to Martinique. I’m not sure if this is because our second flight was more than 24 hours in advance or what. But it didn’t end up being a big issue because we had to re-check-in for our checked bags for the next flight anyway.
Air Canada Lounge
With the horrific LAX traffic and issues with check-in, we only had about 15 minutes in the lounge. Air Canada recently relocated from Terminal 2 to Terminal 6 at LAX. Their current Maple Leaf Lounge is smaller than the previous one, but construction is in process to enlarge the lounge. In all the lounge was nothing extraordinary, but offered a nice place to relax for a few minutes before our flight.
Boarding 789 Dreamliner
We reserved seats 1D and 1G the night before and were excited to be sitting together on our first flight on a Dreamliner. Except that upon boarding we were notified that seat 1G was broken. It would not recline and the IFE system was not working.
The explanation for our broken seat was that this was last minute business class sale for the broken seat and that’s why our ticket was so cheap?
Not only did that reasoning not make sense, but we had secured our tickets months ago. Maybe there was more confusion with the last-minute aircraft swap?
I explained that we had our tickets for months, and then gently suggested that with the aircraft swap, the business class cabin now had twice as many seats, so maybe there were 2 empty seats together that worked.
The attendant seemed a little annoyed but checked the seat map and placed us in 5D and 5G. There ended up being 4 empty business class seats on the plane.
Our breakfast requests were taken prior to departure. No predeparture beverages or snacks were offered.
The plane departed about 15 min late (again due to some issues with the aircraft swap) but arrived 15 min early because the Dreamliner is a much faster aircraft.
The Dreamliner Business Class Cabin
The Air Canada Dreamliner cabin is stunning. It feels spacious, luxurious and modern with whites, and varying shades of greige.
There are 3 classes of seats on the Air Canada 787-9. The most forward cabin is business class which offers 30 seats in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration. There are seven rows of 1-2-1, and then row 8 has two seats, one on each side of the airplane. The Air Canada 787-8 in comparison offers just 20 business seats in the same configuration.
Premium economy has 21 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration and economy has 247 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration.
The seats are the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond seats, which is pretty standard these days for business class, but among the best. So no complaints here. The seats came stocked with a pillow, a fluffy comforter, a bottle of water and headphones.
With the reverse herringbone configuration, the center seats are generally better if you wish to sit next to a travel companion. However in this case, the center divider was engineered to not lower at all. This meant that we both had to sit up really tall to see or talk to each other. This was a little disappointing as lowering the center divider is generally a standard feature on most airlines, however I know there have been issues in the past with the center divider. So it looks like Air Canada didn’t want to have to deal with the issue if a divider not working and just mounted the dividers in place.
The side seats offer a little more privacy, but in this case since the center dividers did not go down, it may not be a bad option to choose one side seat and one center seat if you have a travel companion.
The seat itself is completely lie-flat with 80 inches of pitch and 21 inches of width. As you can see it wasn’t difficult at all to get comfy on this flight.
Business Class Foot SpaceThe seat offered plenty of leg room, however when lying down, the footwell can get a little cramped. There was also a small storage area by the footwell
The aisle side arm rest could be raised and lowered as necessary.
There was plenty of room to place belongings, phones or laptops on the center armrest.
The seat controls were located on the center armrest, along with a small storage area that would fit belongings such as a wallet or sunglasses. Also in the small storage area was the beautiful new IFE controller, a universal outlet and USB charging port.
I really appreciated the design feature that allows the charging cables out of the storage compartment. I hate when there is no notch and the arm rest won’t close fully because the cables are in the way!
The IFE screens were beautiful with a matte finish to help prevent glare. The measured 19 inches which is among the larger screens in business class. Both the hand remote and touch screen worked perfectly and were fast and responsive.
The Air Canada branded headphones were fairly comfortable, and offered good sound quality. Not on the same level as Bose, but still good nonetheless.
There was a small reading light next to each seat as well as individual air nozzles which are nice when the cabin gets too warm.
The tray table extended out from under the IFE screen and could be moved forward or back depending on your preference.
It was a little tricky to unlatch though, make sure to check under the tray table for the latch 😉
Air Canada Business Class Food & Beverage
The choices for breakfast were:
• Parsley omelet with chicken sausage, cottage cheese, roasted red skin potatoes and red pepper relish
• Pancakes with maple butter, chicken sausage and cranapple compote
• A healthy option with seasonal fruit, cheese, yogurt and oatmeal
All options were served with yogurt, fresh fruit and a bread roll. Assorted snacks were available throughout the flight
They also offered a “dine anytime” option where you could enjoy your meal anytime during the flight up to 50 minutes prior to landing. I think this is a fantastic option and something that you usually don’t see in business class.
Meal service started approximately 40 minutes after departure with a warm towel and champagne.
The sparkling wine being served was a prosecco, Bottega Millesimato Brut 2018, which retails for about $25 a bottle on the ground. It was decent, but in that price range there are plenty of other good Champagnes, Crémants and Cavas so it was an interesting choice nonetheless.
The meal was served in two courses. The first was fresh fruit, yogurt and a bread roll. This platter would have been good, except there was an issue with my fruit. All of my fruit tasted like onion. More specifically the sliced areas of the fruit tasted like someone had sliced an onion and then without cleaning the knife sliced the fruit. While it made the fruit un-edible (is there anyone who likes their cantaloupe to taste like onion?), the more concerning issue is one of cleanliness and proper food preparation techniques..
The second course was the main with the omelet, potatoes and sausage. It was good but nothing amazing. The omelet was flavorful and fluffy but not too greasy. The sausage and potatoes were good as well. It was plenty of food to leave me full, but not completely stuffed.
There were light snacks such as potato chips and chocolate bars available throughout the remainder of the flight as well.
Air Canada Service
There were 3 total flight attendants for the business class cabin. Other than the initial issue with the broken seat, they were all very nice, but appeared understaffed. Possibly because of the last minute aircraft swap, there were enough flight attendants to legally depart, but not enough for top notch service.
Overall, we were very fortunate for the last-minute aircraft swap. The 787-9 Air Canada Dreamliner is a beautiful aircraft and a large upgrade over the relining seats we would have had otherwise. Despite the issues with check-in and my “onion fruit”, we had a great flight. I would fly Air Canada again, especially if it was on a new Dreamliner.