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Review: Air Canada 787-9 Signature Class – Montreal to Sao Paulo

To the point Here is my full review of my experience onboard the new direct flight between Montreal and São Paulo (Brazil) in the Air Canada Signature Class.

Editorial note: Air Canada invited milesopedia to review this new direct flight between Montreal (YUL) and São Paulo (GRU) in Brazil, as well as to experiment activities in the Region of São Paulo (reviewed in another post).

We did not receive compensation for this review. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced in any way.

The outbound flight from Montreal to São Paulo with Air Canada

Montreal, February 05, 2020. There will be a snowstorm in just over 24 hours. With closed schools, snowy roads and shovel festivals. I enter Montreal-Trudeau International Airport with a light jacket, my sneakers and my backpack. Let’s go to São Paulo!

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Air Canada began a new direct flight from Montreal (YUL – Montreal-Trudeau International Airport) to São Paulo (GRU – International Airport – Guarulhos) on December 11.

Until March 27, this new seasonal non-stop flight connects the two cities three times a week:

Flight Departure Arrival Day
AC96 Montreal 6:35 p.m. 7:30 a.m. (+1) São Paulo Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
AC97 São Paulo 8:40 a.m. 3:45 p.m. Montreal Monday, Thursday, Saturday

A little bird told me that unofficially, this flight would be back on December 10, 2020, because the occupancy rate to date has been more than satisfactory for Air Canada.

To book your Air Canada flight or get more information, visit this page.

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Air Canada - Signature

The aircraft assigned on this flight is a Boeing 787-9 and is one of the 29 Air Canada has in its fleet. Up to 298 passengers can seat on board:

  • 30 in Signature Class
  • 21 in Premium Economy class
  • 247 in Economy Class
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Air Canada - Signature

To reach Brazil with your Aeroplan miles, it currently costs, round trip, at the fixed rate:

  • 60,000 miles in Economy Class
  • 80,000 miles in Premium Economy Class
  • 110,000 miles in Signature Class

Originally, my ticket was in Premium Economy Class. For example, you can redeem 80,000 Aeroplan miles and pay $387.64 in taxes for a round trip.

This ticket has a value of $2,307.64, which gives an estimated value of 2.4 cents per Aeroplan mile.

Air Canada Signature Class Flight Experience

Shortly before boarding at Gate 63, I’ve been called by the boarding gate agent for an upgrade to Signature Class from the Premium Economy class!

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Air Canada - Signature

Flight attendant Martin introduced himself to me when I arrived at my 2D seat, started a discussion about my future destination and explained the conduct of the flight. Then another flight attendant arrived with a tray of orange juice and champagne. Cheers!

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Air Canada - Signature

I’ve found on my seat:

  • a pillow,
  • a fleece blanket
  • A mattress pad for my future night.

There is also a water bottle, noise-reducing headphones and a personal amenity kit.

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Air Canada - Signature
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Air Canada - Signature
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Air Canada - Signature

Controls are on the side to modify the seat inclination and flatten it completely to sleep or tilt it in any possible way.

There was a “massage” function that is handy but doesn’t last long enough for my liking (“only” 3 minutes each time).

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Air Canada - Signature

Then it was time to give Martin my choice of meal. After the fact, I realized that I had not been offered the famous menu of chef Antonio Park, which was advertised on the menu and at the Maple Leaf Lounge. Too bad, because I would have liked to taste his version of the Feijoada, a typical Brazilian dish.

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Air Canada - Signature

The aircraft left the gate, but due to a technical problem, it did not take off.

The maintenance team came in reinforcement, but their attempts were in vain. The decision was final: Air Canada had to switch the aircraft. Martin came to infinitely apologize to each of the passengers in the cabin for the inconvenience. He could not follow on the next flight because he would have exceeded his working time limit, according to the law.

As he retires in a month, I wish him well in his new projects, and I thank him for his excellent customer service!

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Air Canada - Signature

Within the new aircraft, the crew is in a more hurry than in the other, but they have 6 hours late to catch up. Looking at the previous statistics for this flight, I realize that I was not lucky, as it has been practically on time in the last few weeks. In the meantime, I’m making my bed.

Air Canada Signature Class Meals

The service began with a lobster and orzo salad, saffron aioli, sundried tomatoes and a mesclun salad. It was delicious.

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Air Canada - Signature

As the main course, I had roasted salmon, harissa sauce, Mediterranean couscous and cauliflower. The spicy level of the sauce was correct at first, but in the long run, its taste took over and masked the taste of the salmon.

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Air Canada - Signature

Then the cheeses and fruits plate was served. I could have had a glass of Porto to go with this, but it was late (2:30 a.m). All I wanted to do was to get some sleep as soon as possible.

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For dessert, a choice of profiteroles or fruit was offered. I chose the fruits, wanting to eat light before sleeping.

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Air Canada - Signature

The flight attendants cleared off everything pretty quickly, and the cabin went into sleep mode.

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Air Canada - Signature

When we woke up, breakfast consisted of a parsley omelette with chicken sausage, cottage cheese, roasted potato and red pepper relish OR maple butter pancakes with apple-cranberry compote with the same chicken sausage.

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Air Canada - Signature

On arrival around noon (São Paulo’s time, which is 2 hours off with Montreal), it was 26 degrees Celcius with a cloudy sky and an overwhelming humidity leaving the plane.

Bem vindo a São Paulo!

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The return flight from São Paulo to Montreal with Air Canada

After four days of sun, humidity and heat, the rain goes wild a few hours before my departure. This is the second time in 77 years that São Paulo has received so much water. There’s flooding, canceled flights, landslides, deaths. Hellish traffic triples my travel journey time to the airport.

I’m late, but the flight attendants of my flight are caught up in traffic too, behind me. The plane will take off an hour and 40 minutes late which, given the situation there, is a feat!

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Air Canada - Signature

Again, my Premium Economy ticket turns into a Signature class. This time I have the 1D seat. Rogeirio greets me with a smile and inquires about my trip. Breakfast is served, and I will have the same omelette as last week (with a slight variation).

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Air Canada - Signature

Through the entertainment system, I take the opportunity to listen during my meal the film “Parasite” which won at the Oscars the day before. Also, as a promotion to celebrate the new GRU-YUL flight, Signature Class passengers received a code at the boarding gate to get free Wi-Fi with Boingo.

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Air Canada - Signature

Then we take my order for dinner but again, no mention of Chef Park’s menu. As a starter, I had smoked salmon with rice, asparagus, carrots and mesclun salad.

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Air Canada - Signature

As the main course, the beef was good but a little bland in the mouth, in the long run. A sauce would have been perfect on it.

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Air Canada - Signature

This time I had a glass of Porto with the cheeses and fruits plate.

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Air Canada - Signature

The meal ended with a trio of ice cream or profiteroles. Note that you are entitled to a multitude of alcohol, wines and drinks. Champagne, Lavazza coffee, Signature cocktail, wines, beers and tea. I drink little alcohol, and that’s why you’ve barely seen any in the meal photos.

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Air Canada - Signature

When my flight was over, I took my backpack, closed my light jacket and ended up in sneakers in the snowbanks of Montreal, which had grown about forty centimetres since I left. I pouted, adjusted my hood and faced the cold.

Only 40 days to go until spring.

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Air Canada - Signature

Conclusion

Air Canada has increased the number of route openings – particularly international ones such as Shanghai or Tokyo – from Montreal-Trudeau in recent years.

São Paulo is a great new addition to reach Brazil and South America, and many members of the milesopedia’s community have welcomed the opening of this flight (removing 1 to 2 connections needed until then).

And as you’ll see in my next post, there are a lot of exciting things to do in the region. A perfect break from our Canadian winter!

The fares for this flight are often very competitive in Economy class – around $700 (redeeming Aeroplan miles is not worthwhile there). On the other hand, to travel in Premium Economy or Signature class, redeeming Aeroplan miles is very advantageous!

To book your Air Canada flight or get more information, visit this page.

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