B787-Business-air-canada

Review : Air Canada B787-8 Business Class | Toronto – Vienna

YYZ VIE
Flight Carrier Air Canada
Departing Airport Toronto-Pearson International Airport
Arrival Airport Vienna International Airport
Flight Number AC886
Duration 8 hours and 15 minutes
Aircraft Boeing 787
Cabin Class Business Class
Cost 70,000 Aeroplan points + $74
Tutorial Aeroplan: How To Find The Best Prices On Aeroplan?

Toronto-Pearson International Airport
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To the point I'm sharing my impressions of Air Canada's Boeing 787-8 Business Class on our flight from Toronto to Vienna.

Air Canada 787 Business Class - Booking tickets

Our two Business Class tickets were booked eleven months in advance. We knew we wanted to go skiing in Europe, somewhere in the Alps.

We were 0% flexible on travel dates, but 100% flexible on arrival city. So when we saw a rate of 140,000 Aeroplan points per person for a round trip, we decided to book our seats.

The floor rate could have been as low as 120,000 points, but we were still happy with our choice, given that we absolutely had to make this trip during March Break.

At this fare, we arrived in Austria at Vienna airport. Our two round-trip Business Class tickets cost a total of 280,000 points and $433.

From origin to destination, we flew from Ottawa to Vienna, with a stopover and connection in Toronto.

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From Ottawa

With a Business Class ticket, Air Canada promises an enhanced travel experience from departure to arrival.

At our departure airport, it all starts at the priority check-in counter: it allows us to benefit from faster service and, above all, personalized check-in.

Another advantage of the Business Class ticket is access to priority lines to get through airport security checks. In Ottawa, we have to admit that it’s rarely useful to have this advantage, because with a mid-day departure, security checkpoint queues are always non-existent.

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Since we bring our own clothes and ski equipment, we can’t get away without checking in two pieces of luggage per person. Our Business Class tickets allow us to bring this baggage free of charge, and the weight limit is increased to 70 pounds per bag (instead of 50 pounds in Economy Class). This limit has even enabled us to combine two pairs of skis in the same ski bag without any problem.

Another advantage of Business Class is that our checked baggage is labeled “priority”. Later, on our arrival in Vienna, when all our luggage arrives on the carousel in the top 10 of a 250-person flight, we’ll be forced to admit that it does make a difference.

Air Canada 787 Business Class - Boarding

Arriving at Toronto airport from Ottawa, we are informed that our flight to Vienna will be delayed by 2.5 hours, due to repairs that were apparently planned on board the aircraft.

I’m convinced that the 2.5-hour delay was carefully calculated: a mere 30 minutes extra would have been enough to entitle each passenger to $400 in compensation (for a delay of 3 hours or more).

Fortunately, our Business Class tickets give us access to the Maple Leaf Lounge at Toronto airport. It’s always a good idea to stop off for an extended, unexpected stopover like this one.

It’s finally time to board our flight to Vienna. Taking the reserved lane in zone 1, we use a separate corridor for Business Class ticket holders and board the aircraft.

Air Canada 787 Business Class - Aircraft

The aircraft is a Boeing 787-8. This particular aircraft has been in service for nine years and is configured to accommodate a total of 250 passengers.

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The seating configuration is as follows:

Business Class 20 seats
Economy Plus class 21 seats
Economy Class 214 seats

In Business Class, only five rows of four seats make up the cabin. Each seat has direct access to one of the two aisles.

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Having a seat in a cabin with only 20 passengers means guaranteed peace and quiet. What’s more, if you’re lucky enough to be in the very first row, chances are you won’t see any other passengers for your entire flight. That’s literally what happened to me when I booked Seat 1A, and that’s what I enjoyed most about my flight.

This chair, also known as a “pod”, is equipped with massage functions, offering lumbar support that transforms into a totally horizontal bed 203.2 cm (6′ 7″) long. We also have a clean, disinfected pillow, a quilt and a mattress cover all packed together.

A beautiful little “Acqua di Parma” toiletry kit, in the form of a 100% PVC reusable pouch, is offered to every passenger in business class. Contents: 3 ml lip balm, 10 ml hand cream, 100% polyester eye mask, 99% polyester and 1% rubber socks, 100% polyester cleaning cloth, ear plugs, 5 g Colgate toothpaste, toothbrush, 14 ml mouthwash and dental floss holder.

A bottle of water and a pair of headphones are also distributed to each seat.

Several films are available on the entertainment system, and that’s more than enough to make your day. However, I would have liked access to a camera for a view ahead or below the aircraft (a service recently tried out on a similar Air France flight).

A space for recharging our electronic devices is available between the armchair and the window.

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Air Canada 787 Business Class - Service

Just before departure, we are offered a complimentary glass of wine. The flight will last 8 hours 15 minutes, for a total distance of almost 7,000 kilometers.

The flight can be divided into three phases: dinner, bedtime and breakfast. Shortly after departure, just before dinner, small hot towels are distributed.

Supper starts gradually with warm snacks (nuts), followed by the actual meal.

My dinner menu was :

  • Appetizer: Mediterranean mezze with hummus, loubieh bi zeit, muhammara and feta seasoned with zaatar. All served with a fresh seasonal green salad, a choice of dressing and a selection of warm breads;
  • Main course: beef bourguignon with beef ribs, served with gratin dauphinois, sautéed mushrooms, roasted pearl onions garnished with parsley ;
  • Cheeses: Oka, cheddar, brie, grapes and crackers;
  • Dessert: dark chocolate fondant, served with espresso, cappuccino, coffee and a selection of teas.

Once dinner is over, the cabin lights are dimmed and it’s time for bed. My seat is placed in a horizontal position for the night and I fall asleep for a few hours.

Around 1.5 hr before arrival in Vienna, the cabin lights are gradually switched back on. This marks the start of breakfast.

My breakfast menu was :

  • Parsley omelette, pan-fried chicken sausage with parmesan cheese and spinach, hash browns, cumin tomato chutney, croissant, butter, jam and yogurt.
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Please note that between meals, a basket of snacks (candy bars, chips, chocolate bars, etc.) is available for Business Class passengers. In short, there’s never a shortage of food (or drink), and that’s something I have to watch out for: moderating your food intake can help prevent stomach upsets.

Conclusion

In my opinion, using Aeroplan points to obtain a seat in Business Class on a transatlantic flight between Eastern Canada and Europe is the best compromise between an aspirational reward and one that is easily achievable.

This is even truer for the outward journey to Europe than for the return journey, as the advantage of having an armchair that converts into a bed is undeniable, especially if you want to arrive at your destination rested and able to make the most of your first day.

For the return trip to Canada, since this is a daytime flight, a Premium Economy Class ticket may be an interesting and sufficient option.

The only fly in the ointment was a delay at the Toronto airport, but the flight itself was most pleasant and relaxing. I even appreciated having a slightly longer route, Toronto-Vienna, than the classic slightly shorter route, Montreal-Paris, so as to have a little more time to sleep.

An option to consider for your next ski trip to Europe would be to book Business Class seats with Swiss on a flight from Toronto (or Montreal) to Zurich to enjoy the Swiss Lounge on arrival and one of their private bedrooms. This is really the only advantage of a Business Class ticket that I couldn’t get with an Air Canada flight to Vienna.

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!

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