Review: Air Canada Rouge Business Class A319 Montreal to Martinique

by TwoHeartsTraveling
Rounge Economy A319

You may be wondering, just as I was, what is Air Canada Rouge? Well according to Air Canada’s website, “at Air Canada Rouge, we believe vacation is a beautiful thing. And we strive to make every one of yours amazing, from beginning to end.”

While that sounds great, Air Canada Rouge is actually Air Canada’s low-cost carrier. Offering older aircraft, and less of a premium experience than one would expect on Air Canada.

Air Canada Rouge is a subsidiary airline of Air Canada. Rouge flights are sold under Air Canada flight numbers, but are listed as “operated by Air Canada Rouge”. Your Air Canada or Star Alliance elite status is valid on Rouge and when flying Rouge, you can earn Air Canada or Star Alliance points, and access Air Canada or Star Alliance lounges.

Flight Info

Airline:  Air Canada Rouge
Aircraft:  Airbus 319
Flight #:  AC 1728
Route:  Montreal (YUL) to Martinique (FDF)
Date:  November 7th, 2019
Departure Time:  8:20am
Arrival Time:  2:20pm
Duration:  5 hours
Cabin:  Premium Class aka Business Class
Seats:  3A and 3B
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

How We Booked

This was the second 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 Rouge Check In

Air Canada Rouge uses the same check-in area as Air Canada passengers. When we arrived we were directed to the automated check-in kiosks. Usually these end up being a time saver to avoid the long lines, but in this case, we had no such luck.

After about 3 minutes of entering all of our information, we got an error on the last screen. Then we entered all the information again, and the kiosk told us to see an agent. Great..

There was one agent overseeing the nearly 20 Air Canada check-in kiosks. After waiting another 5 minutes for her to be free we explained what happened. She said that I had to go to the kiosk before going to her. I explained that we already did that, but again she directed us back to the kiosk. I would say something was lost in translation, but her English was perfect.

We went through all the prompts again with her standing there, and then on the final screen it said to see an Air Canada agent. She then took us over to a check-in counter and we were manually checked in, in about 3 minutes.

Glad to be out of there, we dropped our bags and headed to the Air Canada Montreal Maple Leaf Lounge.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal

The Air Canada Montreal Lounge was recently renovated and was beautiful and spacious. While the breakfast offerings were limited, I have heard they offer much better food for lunch and dinner.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal

 Lounge Area Air Canada YUL

Lounge Area Air Canada YUL

Bar Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal

Bar Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Montreal

Seating Business Class Lounge Montreal Air Canada

Seating Business Class Lounge Montreal Air Canada

Boarding Air Canada Rouge A319

Boarding wasn’t bad, but as with the previous flight there were no predeparture beverages, however there was a bottle of water sitting on the armrest for each patient.

Boarding Waterbottles

Boarding Waterbottles

Premium Cabin

Air Canada Rouge names their business class “Premium Rouge”. It’s basically a stripped-down version of domestic first class. The seats recline but do not lie flat, and there are no IFE screens.

On the Airbus A319, Air Canada Rouge offers 12 Premium Rouge seats, 3 rows in a 2-2 configuration.

Air Canada Rouge Premium Seats

Air Canada Rouge Premium Seats

There are approximately 116 seats in economy in a 3-3 configuration.

Rounge Economy A319

Rounge Economy A319

Premium Seat

The seat is a standard domestic first class reclining seat, but with less recline. It has 36 inches of pitch (vs the usual 40-42 inches), and 21 inches of width (standard). This isn’t surprising being on a low cost carrier.

Premium Seats Air Canada Rouge A319

Premium Seats Air Canada Rouge A319

There was a weird footrest, which was so tiny I couldn’t imagine anyone getting use out of.

Footrest

Footrest

There were no IFE screens, but passengers in Premium Class were provided an iPad to use if they wanted.

Seatback

Seatback

IPad

IPad

While there were no IFE screens, least there were international charging outlets by each seat.

Charging Outlets

Charging Outlets

Even the seat back tray table was less than premium. I could barely fit my 15 inch laptop on it.

Tray Table

Tray Table

Food & Beverage

The food was similar to our flight yesterday from Los Angeles to Montreal. However the drink selection was different, there was no sparkling wine and only one choice for red and one choice for white wine. There was also a small snack selection if you got hungry later.

Menu Montreal to Martinique Rouge Air Canada

Menu Montreal to Martinique Rouge Air Canada

Breakfast Air Canada Rouge

Breakfast Air Canada Rouge

Snacks AC Rouge

Snacks AC Rouge

Service

The service was good but nothing exceptional. The flight attendants were polite, but didn’t go out of their way to make the flight any more enjoyable for the passengers.

They did sport some interesting outfits though.

Air Canada Rouge Uniforms

Air Canada Rouge Uniforms (Picture credit to flyrouge.com)

Five hours after takeoff we arrived to Martinique! The highlight of the flight was looking through the window to see Mount Pelée and Fort de France all in one shot. You can even see the Simon Hotel where we would be staying at that very night!

Martinique!

Martinique!

Overall Impression

Overall Air Canada Rouge is definitely a low-cost carrier. There are no IFE screens, the seat has less recline than industry standard and the aircraft are outdated. I would try to avoid flying them if possible, however if the price were right it may be worth it for a sub 5 hour flight.

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