For the Thanksgiving long weekend, let’s go to Paris! Audrey had left with our son, Arthur, a few weeks earlier in Marseille (and had taken the opportunity to make her first photo report on Air Canada Rouge). It was my turn to join her in Paris with our daughter, Alexandra on Air Canada.
A few weeks ago, Air Canada apparently posted incorrect prices for many flights. We took advantage of this mistake to book these tickets for $250 round trip. Considering that the round trip would have cost 60,000 Aeroplan miles and hundreds of dollars in taxes… this was a real bargain! And a good opportunity to test the new “high density” configuration in economy class on its Boeing 777-300ERs.
It’s hard to take a lot of pictures when you are alone with a child. That’s why I’m presenting you today, in one article, the outward journey AND the return journey.
Montreal – Paris on Air Canada Economy
Registration and security queue
I use the check-in kiosks and tag my luggage myself to drop it off. No waiting on this side with many Air Canada counters available. Here too, I can drop off my luggage myself without any intervention from an agent.
Being accompanied by my daughter, I go to the dedicated security lines.
Fortunately, the Montreal-Trudeau airport was particularly busy this Thanksgiving weekend. In addition, a lot of work is currently underway to install new security gates to make the controls more fluid.
It will take us about 15 minutes to pass the controls, which is reasonable. For more information on safety checks with a child, go here.
I am used to frequenting the Montreal-Trudeau Airport, but I am always impressed by the improvements made for the comfort of passengers. The restaurant offer is now of a good level, adapted to all tastes and budgets.
On the other hand, a complaint: the changing tables in the airport toilets. I didn’t take a picture but here is a description in the men’s room (confirmed by Audrey in the women’s room).
The changing table is high up, right next to the hand washers, with a large mirror so that everyone can see the show. What’s the worst? There is no garbage can in the immediate vicinity.
However, on the site of the Airport is indicated:
Nursing rooms are adjacent to most restrooms and are equipped with a sink, chair, changing table and, in many cases, a microwave oven.
I haven’t seen them. Signalling defect?
After passing a line for the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, I went to the National Bank World Mastercard Lounge, which you can read about in this article.
Tonight’s flight is full. At the time of boarding, the plane is still not at the gate. An announcement was made by Air Canada staff asking for volunteers to take the next day’s flight in exchange for a $200 coupon.
After 10 minutes, no volunteers having shown up, the bidding went up to $800 and then $1000. Obviously, some people took advantage of the offer because once the aircraft arrived, boarding could begin.
Although our tickets were in zone 4, families were able to board with priority along with the disabled, even before the passengers in zone 1! Thank you Air Canada, it’s an evolution compared to the domestic flight I had done between Montreal and Vancouver, on which families were not boarded in priority!
Once on board, I was able to take several pictures of this high density cabin.
That’s a lot of seats, right? Explanations.
In this 777-300 ER, there are 398 passengers in Economy, 24 in Economy Privilege and 28 in Business Class , for a total of 450 passengers!
Air France, which uses a high-density configuration on the Montreal-Paris route, carries 381 passengers, 315 of whom are in economy.
To give you an idea, Swiss also uses a high density economy configuration on its new 777-300ER during the summer on the Montreal-Zurich route, but only 340 passengers can board, of which 270 are in economy!
Air China, which operates a 777-300ER between Montreal and Beijing, can carry 311 passengers, 261 of them in economy. This is a normal configuration with rows of 9 seats, not 10!
Mathematically, it is therefore necessary to “cut back” somewhere to make this cabin more dense in the face of competition!
The pitch (distance between the back of the front seat and your back) is 31 inches (vs. 32-33 for other companies) while the width of the seats is 17 inches (vs. 17-18.5 for other companies).
The legroom is thus rather reduced…
well, not for everyone.
If you want a little more space, seating against the wall can be a solution. However, you will not be able to extend your legs under the seat in front of you. Honestly, I would have preferred these seats (offered at $100 upon check-in or available to parents with babies with bassinets).
The seat recline is also reduced to only 5 inches. That’s very little. The headrest adjusts in height and on the sides.
Fortunately, Air Canada has upgraded its entertainment system. The touch screen is a comfortable size ( milesopedia coaster test) and has a USB plug. However, it is not adjustable in inclination and is therefore difficult to watch for young children.
There is also an electrical outlet between each seat.
The flight attendants were very professional and attentive to the needs of the parents and children. A play kit was distributed that also contained helmets adapted to their size. Nice attention.
The cabin being quickly darkened for this night flight, and having to take care of my daughter, I didn’t take any other pictures.
Printing at the exit of the aircraft (on the tarmac with bus transfer…)? We didn’t manage to sleep… like most of the other passengers. The chairs are not comfortable, far too stiff. Only the entertainment system saves the honor for this outbound flight.
Paris – Montreal on Air Canada Economy
Registration and security queue
In Paris, you have to wait in line to drop off your luggage. Fortunately – after negotiation with the station manager – we were able to go first with two small children who were getting impatient in the queue.
We had requested a crib for our return flight with a baby, but it was not granted. To tell the truth, we would have had to travel separately, we preferred to stay together on a row of 3 (father, mother, daughter. The baby staying on the parents’ lap).
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge
I had already had the opportunity to test this lounge during a business class flight between Paris and Montreal on Air Canada.
This lounge is available to Priority Pass holders. Being an American Express Platinum card holder, we were able to enter this lounge without any worries.
Here are some pictures of the show which was particularly busy.
Families were also able to go through priority (at the same time as Zone 1).
This is really nice because on full flights you can take your time to place everything you need for your children in your seats, and have the necessary space in the luggage compartments. Here is for example our stroller adapted to these compartments.
And here are more pictures of the cabin, during the day.
The same travel kit for the children as on the outward journey was distributed. Alexandra starts to play with the touch screen. Note the legroom for Audrey in the middle seat.
Shortly after take-off, the meal is served. It is a tabbouleh salad (starter) and aCajun chicken with sweet corn mashed potatoes and carrots (main course) followed by a Brontë coffee cookie. The other choice of main course is Pasta with creamy tomato sauce, mozzarella and mixed vegetables.
Or as we say the traditional “
Chicken or Pasta
“. Nothing exceptional, but it is eatable.
The flight was smooth to Montreal. Here are some pictures of the cabin (full) during the flight. If you are traveling with two people and you are not in a hurry to get out of the plane (you will have about 400 people in front of you…), the back rows can be a good choice as they have two seats and a little more aisle space (second picture, rows on the left). And as you can see, the hallways are quite narrow (compared to the size of my 2.5 year old daughter).
Shortly before landing, a wrap is served. Not bad.
The landing in Montreal will be abrupt (many passengers even shouted). The plane was in fact slammed violently into the ground by rotating winds. Strangely, no one applauded.
The customs clearance will be done quickly (Permanent Residents / Canadian Citizens side). Please note that Montreal-Trudeau Airport is currently installing new automated systems that should further facilitate / accelerate the arrival of international travelers.
For the price paid ($250 round trip), nothing to complain about. On the other hand, the comfort on this high density Boeing 777-300ER is not really superior to what you could have on Air France or even Air Transat. Only the entertainment system saves the honor.
In short, don’t use 60,000 Aeroplan miles (+ $500-600 taxes) to fly economy on Air Canada. Prefer Swiss for example (which will not charge you a carrier surcharge). Or, if you really want to fly direct and have the miles to do so (110,000 Aeroplan miles roundtrip), fly Air Canada on business!