Here is my feedback on the CA880 flight I took from Montreal to Beijing in business class on Air China, using Aeroplan miles.
For more details about booking this ticket, and about this trip in general, I invite you to read my article “My friends and I in business class to Thailand”. Here are the details of the flight and the booking on Aeroplan, which was paid for thanks to the American Express Small Business Platinum Card sign-up bonus:
Registration at Montreal-Trudeau
It is an international flight that leaves relatively early in the afternoon: 3:05 pm. I’m pretty used to flying to Europe after 5-6pm.
Air China check-in counters are busy at 1pm, 2 hours before departure. Fortunately, there is no one in the business/first class line.
These are “Star Alliance” counters shared by Air China and Turkish Airlines.
Air China gives us access to the National Bank lounge, but we prefer to go to the new Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge to which we also have access (business class travel on a Star Alliance airline).
I have detailed in the past my visit in this new lounge and have not taken any pictures except this one with the arrival of our plane from Beijing.
The lounge was not very busy and to our regret, the food offering was not exceptional (nachos and pizza). There was no “chef” delivering hot food in the buffet area provided.
Boarding to Beijing on flight CA880
After 30-45 minutes of celebrating our departure for vacation with a few glasses of champagne, it was time to go to our boarding gate with a close-up view of our plane.
And this one is packed!
After several minutes of confusion, boarding begins with priority given to business class passengers (there will be no First Class passengers on this flight).
The business class cabin consists of 42 seats arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration.
If you want to have access to the corridor without disturbing/being disturbed by the person sitting next to you, you will have to choose the middle row.
The first class cabin has 8 seats arranged in 1-2-1.
On this flight, only 14 seats were occupied in business class, so we had plenty of choice (and I took the opportunity to test several seats at different times of the flight!).
Flight CA880 Montreal – Beijing
Shortly after settling in, the flight attendant offers us either champagne or orange juice. It will be Champagne for us!
They also brought us the menu of the day (written in Chinese/English) and the L’Occitane en Provence kits.
In these, you will find the essential hygiene products for these 14 hours of flight as well as slippers.
We leave the door on time.
Shortly after takeoff, dinner service begins. Here are the different dishes offered.
What about the meal? I chose Asian dishes – I particularly like this type of food – and was quite disappointed. The taste was bland, and sometimes it was even inedible. My 3 friends were of the same opinion.
On the other hand the service is fast and efficient. Within an hour, everything was finished, which is really appreciated!
Even if the barrier of the language is clear with the personnel on board, we manage to be understood in English. But don’t ask for “Mustard”, they obviously don’t know.
We finish the meal here:
Between business and first class, there is plenty of room to refresh yourself during the flight or to stretch your legs.
What’s nice here is that it’s a separate area from the galley – unlike the vast majority of airlines operating a B777-300ER. You don’t feel like you’re interfering with the flight attendants’ work by staying here for a few minutes.
As you can see on the different pictures taken on the right and on the left side of the cabin, I walked around all along this flight, to try different seats. The one I preferred is 11A: it is the farthest from the engines and despite the warning from seat-guru that we could be disturbed by the passage to the toilets, we are still well away.
Here are different views of the cabin with “red” lighting.
The blankets provided by Air China are very thick. Once you lie down, you feel like you are in a cocoon. Here is a picture of the blankets used by my friends on our flight home:
Passing by the North Pole, we had a sunset for 10 hours…!
At least that’s what I told myself when I woke up after a good 7 hours of sleep: the sun was still “setting”!
2 hours before landing we are offered a new meal.
We arrive soon, and it’s late afternoon in Asia.
Some views on China:
We arrive on time in Beijing and have a 1h40 connection time. It is an opportunity to see unknown aircraft in Montreal like this Emirates A380.
The customs formalities are completed very quickly and the airport is surprisingly empty at this hour. In a future article, you will discover the Air China lounge in Beijing and the flight to Bangkok.