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Choosing your plane: an element to consider when travelling

To the point Here are our tips to make the most of your points when it comes to choosing your plane and sitting in the seat of your choice.

What to do when choosing your plane

When you are researching your airline ticket purchase, do you pay particular attention to the type of aircraft? Should you consider this in your decision?

Reasons to choose your plane

Travelers often wonder about selecting the best seats on the plane. For example, families often have rows with cribs nearby and people try to avoid seats near the toilet.

Indeed, with the possibility of obtaining travel credits for seat selection reimbursement with the National Bank World Elite Mastercard®, this aspect is often taken into account when planning.

Where does the aircraft fit in all this? Is it important to choose your plane?

A flight is mainly to get you from point A to point B to be sure; a simple means of transportation. So why spend time choosing your plane?

All aircraft are safe. Choosing your plane is more about your personal preferences.

Have a better product

Flight prices are often similar for certain routes. In fact, the variation of the rate is a function of the traffic and not of the type of aircraft. For example, on a flight between Montreal and Vancouver, Air Canada uses several aircraft.

We can see here that the price is 22,600 Aeroplan points for business class on 3 of the 4 flights: 1 flight on the Boeing 737-MAX, 1 flight on the Airbus 330, and 1 flight on the Boeing 787.

Choix domestique

However, business class on the Airbus 330 or the Boeing 787 is clearly better than on the Boeing 737-MAX. In fact, business class seats on large aircraft recline 180 degrees.

Air Canada B Business
Air Canada - 1A

While the business class on the Boeing 737 – Max is an armchair seat. So for the same price, you can have a better product. A good reason to choose your plane if you are not limited by flight schedules!

AC 737 MAX-02

Traffic is the primary determinant of pricing. So if there are fewer seats, the remaining seats will be sold at a higher price.

Another example of a glaring difference is in Qatar Airways’ business class. The next three products are in the same class of service; you will have the same service since you are in business class, but the seat is not the same. So choosing your plane allows you to have a better product.

It is easy to see the difference in the “hard product” between these three Qatar Airways business class seats. The “hard product” is the fixed product such as the seat and its functionality.

Qatar Ancienne classe affaires 2
Classe Affaire standard
Q Suites Qatar
Q Suites Qatar

The comfort and atmosphere of the aircraft

Choosing your plane is not only relevant for business class!

Some aircraft are equipped with better technology that provides greater comfort.

  • the pressurization of the cabin is more comfortable
  • the air in the cabin is more humid
  • the brightness control is better
  • the air is filtered differently
  • the engines are quieter

For example, on the Boeing 787, the aircraft’s advanced pressurization system makes the air less dry than on an Airbus 330 or Boeing 777. In addition, the cabin is pressurized to 6,000 feet, 2,000 feet lower than older aircraft, which provides all the benefits of a higher concentration of oxygen in the air.

United Airlines Business Class 787 03
United Airlines - Classe Affaires - B787-8

Then, when comparing the B-787 to the B-777, the B-787’s wing is more efficient. Therefore, the aircraft can climb faster during a flight to settle above the clouds and thus avoid more turbulence under the same conditions. Therefore, the flight is more pleasant and you arrive at your destination more rested.

Similarly, just because you cross the Atlantic doesn’t mean you’ll avoid single-aisle aircraft. Indeed, this flight between Montreal and London may be less expensive, but it involves not only a stopover, but the transatlantic segment is done on a small plane.

Choix transatlantique

For some, a single-aisle aircraft is less comfortable than a large aircraft, as there can be congestion during service, and travel is more limited.

AC 737 MAX-05

AvGeek: for the enthusiasts

For some people, everything related to aeronautics is fascinating. You can recognize them because their eyes will light up if you mention the opportunity to fly on “the Queen of the Skies”, for example. Their bucket list is often filled with specific aircraft types such as the Boeing 747 or the Airbus 380.

Avios multipartner
lufthansa first fra bos 32

So, choosing your plane is even more important than the itinerary for an AvGeek. What do you do when you come back from a trip to Portugal and you really want to fly in the new Singapore Airlines suites? We opt for the route Lisbon-Frankfurt-New York-Montreal for a route that allows us to take the desired flight!

How to choose your plane?

The airline's search engine

On the Air Canada search engine, you can select the option to have the aircraft type appear in your search results.

Choisir l’avion


There are several types of seats in the same aircraft. To determine what kind of “hard product” you will receive, you can go to Expert Flyer and find the cabin plan of your aircraft. In general, it’s the seat configuration that will let you know which “hard product” we’re dealing with.

For example, on the Qatar Airways side, you can usually see the following three configurations in their business class. When you have direct access to the aisle, you are in Qatar Airways’ new business class. When the seats are not aligned, it is the Qsuite!

Qatar Airways – ancienne classe affaire
Qatar Airways – classe affaire
Qatar Airways – Qsuites

Note that the two aircraft (first and third photo) have different configurations in terms of their business class.

On Air Canada, it’s the same thing: most of the big planes have been retrofitted with the new “signature class” seats for their business class. However, some Airbus 330s are still equipped with the old business class. The old business class seats 3 people per row, while the new business class seats 4 people with the new seats.

air canada a330 old business class

How can we analyze the different routes?

It should also be noted that routes are not permanently assigned to an aircraft. It’s all about making their fleet profitable. An airline like Air Canada can decide to use its Boeing 787, Boeing 777, or Airbus 330 between Montreal and Paris. Schedules are planned but are subject to last-minute changes.

Changes are often made on a monthly basis, so if you are committed to flying the B-787 and are flexible on your dates, you may want to try to search for a different month.

Air Canada B Business

To make sure you are protected (as much as possible) from aircraft changes, you can check the trends on Flight Radar. For example, the Montreal-Tokyo and Montreal-Shanghai routes will almost certainly be flown on the B-787, whereas the Montreal-Paris route changes more often.

Flight Radar

You can see the usage history of aircraft types on a route in the last 7 days at no charge and up to the last 3 years with a subscription.

How to choose an airline?

What if the same route is served by two different airlines? It is always possible to choose your plane and/or airline.

Choisir entre 2 compagnies

From there, the choice will be between the “hard product” and the “soft product”. The service and the attention given to the customer differ from one company to another as well as the type of seat.

On the “soft product” side, the demarcation will be more in the quality of the meals, the selection of films, the service from the flight attendants, etc.

In this respect, cultural differences may give some companies an advantage. For example, I have a preference for the Japanese touch: meals, cushions, attention, etc.

Indeed, I often travelled on the route between Dallas/Forth Worth and Tokyo Narita where my choice was almost always Japan Airlines compared to American Airlines.


How to choose your plane seat?

On another topic, a question that comes up often in the Facebook community is seat selection. In fact, with the travel credits offered by certain credit cards such as the National Bank World Elite Mastercard®, it makes sense to use them to secure a preferred seat!

The SeatGuru website allows you to view the cabin map by indicating the airline and flight number.

The color-coding of the seats indicates whether the opinion is positive, mixed, or negative. You can also find information about this seat such as whether it is near the toilet.


When a flight is not at full capacity, it is sometimes possible to lie down on several seats in economy class. You’ll have a better chance if you’re in the tail section of the plane, as the forward seats are more often coveted.

Bottom Line

Finally, travelers who wish to fly on a specific aircraft should remember that nothing is guaranteed. The mandate of a company is to get you to your destination in the class of service you paid for, no compensation will be given if you no longer have your pod.

The airline always reserves the right to make changes to optimize their fleet; if there are only 50 people on your Boeing 787, they may assign another plane for your flight.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
I'm Aline, an experienced traveller, a foodie at heart, an Avgeek, a photography enthusiast and an expert on credit card programs. I use Reward Points to travel on a budget and to save money on everyday life; writing about these topics allows me to share my passion and help you. ~ 7 continents and 75 countries ~

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