Πα. Δεκ 8th, 2023
20231012 Air Canada 787 Business Class BSmithson 30

Quick take: A perfectly acceptable, if unexciting, business-class experience across the Atlantic if you can book it for the right price.


  • High-quality bedding
  • Lightning-fast onboard Wi-Fi
  • Four entree choices for dinner


  • Lack of some storage and privacy in business-class seats
  • A narrow bed around the shoulders
  • Sloppily presented food and no predeparture Champagne

Passengers flying to Europe in business class are spoiled for choice, with numerous carriers on both sides of the Atlantic vying for your business with impressive premium products.

Air Canada has a surprisingly large European route network, flying to about two dozen cities from hubs on both sides of the country. While some destinations are only flown to during summer, the airline may have a flight to your next holiday destination.

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Following an underwhelming premium economy experience on an older Boeing 777 recently, I tried Air Canada’s business-class product on one of its newest aircraft from Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Here’s what the experience was like.


How much does business class cost to book on Air Canada?

Air Canada operates one daily flight year-round between Montreal and London, increasing to two daily from May to September, all on Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

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Aeroplan uses dynamic pricing for Air Canada-operated flights, which fluctuates wildly depending on demand. I booked a one-way business-class flight from Montreal to London at the lowest level of just 57,400 Aeroplan points plus 66 Canadian dollars ($48).

Here is the range of cash and award rates over the next 12 months:

Class Economy Premium economy Business
Airfare (round-trip) $656-$1,125 $2,204-$3,078 $4,894-$7,444
Aeroplan points (round-trip) 66,300-691,000 plus $287 100,000-568,800 plus $351 115,700-756,400 plus $351

Both cash fares and points redemptions include seat selection, two checked bags of 70 pounds each, one full-sized cabin bag and one personal item (like a handbag or laptop bag).

Air Canada Flight AC866 departs Montreal at 10 p.m. daily over the summer season, arriving in London at 9:35 a.m. the following morning, around six hours later, with the normal tail winds.

One of the easiest ways to earn enough points to book this flight is with the Aeroplan Credit Card from Chase, which offers a generous welcome bonus, triple points in multiple categories, monthly bonus points, statement credits, Aeroplan elite status and discounted award pricing.

This card is incredibly valuable, especially if you ever fly Air Canada.


You can also transfer the following credit card rewards to Aeroplan at a 1:1 transfer ratio:

The following cards all currently offer strong welcome bonuses with points and miles that you can transfer to your Aeroplan account:

Checking in to and boarding business class on Air Canada

Air Canada’s “Signature Class” business-class passengers can expect the following priority services at the airport.

Lounge available Maple Leaf Lounge
TSA PreCheck access Yes
Boarding group 1

Montreal Airport has one terminal for domestic, transborder (U.S.) and international flights.

Air Canada operates a single large check-in area for flights, regardless of destination. While there was a priority check-in line, I found it odd that all Aeroplan and Star Alliance elite members and those flying in premium economy could access it rather than being split into a few separate priority lines.

Given how many flights Air Canada operates to Europe each night, hundreds of passengers could use this priority line simultaneously, which would not be a premium experience for business-class passengers.

Fortunately, the wait was only a few minutes around 6 p.m., and I was then through to the priority security line that similarly only took a few minutes.


Business-class passengers (and Star Alliance Gold elite members) can access the Maple Leaf Lounge near Gate 52.


The upstairs lounge is a single long rectangular space with plenty of seating options and great views of the aircraft below, thanks to the extensive floor-to-ceiling windows.

A central buffet area was filled with cold light bites, including salads, olives, arancini balls and desserts.

I was excited to see a live cooking station offering hot dishes like Moroccan chicken with rice and olives, lamb curry and the local delicacy poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy), though this was simply a staff member assembling pre-cooked items as passengers requested them.

The lounge also featured a freestanding bar, which remained popular throughout my visit. The bartender worked tirelessly, efficiently pouring draft beer and glasses of wine (though no Champagne was available) and mixing cocktails with endless cheery greetings to passengers and plenty of smiles and small talk about their travels.

Overall, it was a pleasant place to wait for your flight.

At Gate 50, boarding lanes were carefully set up, and plenty of seats were available. Boarding commenced 30 minutes before departure, with Zone 1 (business class) invited to board first.

How comfortable was business class on Air Canada?


Air Canada’s three-class 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft have the following dimensions in a single business-class cabin:

Number of seats 30
Cabin layout 1-2-1
Fully flat bed Yes
Bed length 80 inches
Seat width 21 inches
Screen size 18 inches

I chose a window seat midway back in the cabin. The reverse herringbone seats all had direct aisle access, and the white and gray color scheme on this 7-year-old aircraft felt fresh, clean and modern.

My seat had a large shelf on the left armrest under the window and a shallow storage unit where the remote control, universal and USB-C charging plug, and headphone jack were stored.

The seat was otherwise light on storage.

Best seats for solo travelers A and K seats
Best seats for couples Any pair of D and G seats in rows 3-7
Seats to avoid Rows 1 and 8

The seat reclined fully flat via a control panel in front of the storage bin.


The high-quality bedding meant I felt comfortable when the seat was fully reclined with enough room for my feet in the footwell next to the front seat. The space around the shoulders did feel tight while sleeping, however.

The large, bi-fold tray table extended from under the screen, which was a clever design as it allowed me to maneuver out of my seat even if the table had a meal tray or laptop on it.

Three restrooms were provided for the 30-seat cabin, which was sufficient, and there were rarely queues to use them other than just before landing. While they were not spacious, they were kept clean and stocked with Edition Voyage toiletries, and I liked the leaf motif across the wall.

Amenities in Air Canada business class

Waiting on my seat was a large, high-quality blanket, mattress pad and comforter, and non-branded, noise-canceling headphones in the storage bin.

There was also an Acqua di Parma amenity kit with hand cream, lip balm, sleep socks, eye mask, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash and earplugs.


There were also two pairs of basic earbud headphones, one properly rolled up and the other that looked like it may already have been used, which was messy and perplexing. Why stock earbud headphones in the amenity kits when passengers are already given superior noise-canceling ones?

The crisp inflight entertainment screen, unfortunately, couldn’t be tilted up or down to watch a movie in bed, but it had 73 new release movies, including “The Flash,” “Evil Dead Rise,” “Scream VI” and “Magic Mike’s Last Dance.”

Wi-Fi was available on my flight to London. Texting was free for all Aeroplan members, with streaming options from CA$10.75 ($7.85) for one hour to CA$34.50 ($25.20) for a full-flight pass.

I registered fantastic speeds of 38.6Mbps downloads and 4.03Mbps uploads.

How was the food in Air Canada business class?

During boarding, the cabin crew offered pre-poured water or “sparkling wine.” Unfortunately, the sparkling wine tasted more like a sickly sweet prosecco than Champagne. To the crew’s credit, they told me I might want to hold off on the sparkling wine in favor of better options at dinner.

Menus were also distributed, offering a prawn cocktail appetizer, salad and warm bread with a coconut lavender cake and cheese plate for dessert with an impressive four entree choices:

  • Harissa marinated chicken thighs with basmati rice and green beans
  • Teriyaki glazed salmon fillet with Shandong noodles and sauteed red peppers
  • Grilled veal striploin with butternut squash risotto and steamed asparagus
  • Mushroom risotto with asparagus and peas

I ordered the chicken thighs, which were served promptly 30 minutes after takeoff.

Unlike during boarding, Laurent-Perrier Champagne Brut (which retails for about $45 per bottle) was available with dinner.

I appreciated the efficiency of the meal being served at once on this fairly short flight, though the presentation was messy. The dipping sauce for the appetizer was served in a plastic tub with the lid still on, which didn’t feel very premium, and the entree could have been plated more neatly.

Fortunately, everything tasted decent, with some nice harissa spice on the Middle Eastern-themed chicken dish. This wasn’t hugely different from what was available in the Maple Leaf Lounge, so I’d choose sleep over staying up for this meal next time.

Trays were cleared about 60 minutes after departure, and the cabin was darkened for passengers to sleep.


Snacks, including potato chips, chocolate bars and cookies, and extra water bottles were available between meal services in the front of the cabin. However, with barely a few hours between meal services, they remained mostly untouched.


Seventy-five minutes before landing, the lights were turned up and breakfast was served. There was no choice of dishes, which seemed odd given the main dish contained meat and four options were offered for the previous meal on this flight.

All passengers were served fresh-cut fruit, a parsley omelet (with potatoes, chicken sausage and vegetable salsa), croissant, yogurt, juice and a hot drink.


The hot dish looked unappetizing and didn’t taste much better — particularly the shriveled, rectangular sausage. A mystery baked white substance next to the salsa was some type of dried-out cheese.

The croissant and fruit salad were good, but this wasn’t a breakfast worth waking up for on such a short flight.

Sleep was a top priority on a six-hour overnight flight, and the crew on my flight to London worked very efficiently to ensure passengers could maximize rest. The business-class cabin was full, with most passengers awake for both meal services, but they managed to quietly hustle to ensure passengers were fed while other passengers slept.

That’s about as much as you can ask for on a flight this brief.


Would you recommend Air Canada 787 business class?

Aeroplan’s dynamic pricing for Air Canada-operated flights can result in some jaw-droppingly high prices. If I were faced with a 450,000-point price for this six-hour flight in business class, I would keep the points and happily fly in economy.

It was a great deal at the lowest one-way price of under 60,000 points and minimal fees and taxes, as I paid for an overnight flight to Europe in a lie-flat bed with direct aisle access.

After a disappointing premium economy experience, Air Canada’s business-class product on the 787 Dreamliner was perfectly acceptable, and I would fly it again. Next time, though, I’d eat dinner in the lounge, skip the onboard meals and sleep the entire journey.

Από achrafwin

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