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Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Signature Class Review [FRA to YUL]

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Airline: Air Canada
Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Flight #: AC845
Route: Frankfurt Airport (FRA) to Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
Date: February 13, 2024
Duration: 8 hours, 10 minutes
Cabin and Layout: Business class, 30 seats, 1-2-1 configuration
Seat: 8K
Cost: 63,000 Avianca LifeMiles or $5,657 cash

Air Canada, Canada’s national airline, is an often overlooked carrier in North America. While many would consider United, American, or Delta for flights to Europe, Air Canada may actually offer more.

Although I have flown Air Canada more than 10 times, it has always been in economy. So, I was looking forward to finally trying out Air Canada in a premium cabin.

On long-haul routes and specific domestic and cross-border routes, Air Canada offers a slightly better business class experience, Signature Class.

Signature Class, considered the best Air Canada offers, comes with extra amenities like a lie-flat seat and premium food and beverages. Air Canada business class may just be the best overall premium cabin experience from a North American airline.

I recently flew Signature Class on a flight from Frankfurt (FRA) to Chicago (ORD), with a stop in Montréal (YUL). Let’s’ look at how I booked this award ticket and the entire flight experience for the Frankfurt-to-Montréal leg, including check-in, the lounge at Frankfurt Airport, the business class cabin and seat, the inflight service, and the amenities provided.

Booking Air Canada Signature Class

With Air Canada being a member of Star Alliance, there are several different loyalty programs you can utilize for award redemptions on Air Canada. Of course, you can use Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, but you can also use its partner programs. These include Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, United Mileage Plus, and Avianca LifeMiles.

Why Shouldn’t You Use Air Canada Aeroplan?

Although Air Canada Aeroplan is my favorite airline loyalty program and may be the obvious choice for booking Air Canada flights, it is actually a poor choice for booking Air Canada Signature Class. Let’s look at why that is.

For partner awards, Aeroplan uses a zone-based award chart where redemption rates depend on the total mileage flown between 2 zones. This is great, as you can calculate exactly how many Aeroplan points are needed for an award redemption.

However, Aeroplan uses dynamic pricing for its own flights, meaning that award pricing depends on several factors, including seat availability, routing, and the dates you choose to fly. Dynamic pricing for flights can be quite strict — a flight that’s just a few hours before or after another on the same route can cost 4 times as many points.

Here’s the award pricing for flights between the North America and Atlantic zones:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Distance (Miles)Operated ByEconomyPremium EconomyBusinessFirst
0 to 4,000Air Canada35,000 to 60,00050,000 to 80,00060,000 to 160,000
90,000 to 180,000
Partner Airlines35,00060,00090,000
4,001 to 6,000Air Canada40,000 to 70,00060,000 to 90,00070,000 to 180,000
100,000 to 200,000
Partner Airlines40,00070,000100,000
6,001 to 8,000Air Canada55,000 to 80,00070,000 to 100,00085,000 to 200,000
120,000 to 225,000
Partner Airlines55,00085,000120,000
8,001+Air Canada70,000 to 100,00085,000 to 160,000100,000 to 220,000
130,000 to 250,000
Partner Airlines70,000100,000130,000

For example, let’s compare award pricing for flights between Frankfurt (FRA) and Montréal (YUL). Using Great Circle Mapper, I calculated the distance between Frankfurt and Montréal to be 3,649 miles. This would mean the route would be placed in the up-to-4,000-mile distance band.

If you wanted to use Aeroplan points to fly on a Star Alliance partner airline between Frankfurt and Montréal, you would pay 60,000 points. However, if you wanted to fly on Air Canada using Aeroplan points, you’d have to pay upwards of 200,000 points at times.

Now, take the same route on the following day. A one-way business class award is priced at 261,000 Aeroplan points. That’s more than 4 times as many points as Aeroplan would charge if using a partner airline. Yes, dynamic pricing has absolutely gotten out of control.

Air Canada dynamic pricing
Dynamic pricing is absurd. Image Credit: Aeroplan

Unfortunately, seeing 6-digit points redemptions in business class is common on many long-haul international routes.

How I Booked This Award

Instead of Aeroplan, I utilized the Avianca LifeMiles program, which has some of the best rates for partner award redemptions across Star Alliance.

The program has incredible sweet spots, with business class flights between Europe and North America being among them. According to the complicated LifeMiles award chart, a one-way business class award between Europe and North America can be booked for just 63,000 LifeMiles plus taxes and fees.

Best of all, the LifeMiles program does not make passengers pay fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Hot Tip:

Avianca LifeMiles are some of the most valuable miles, thanks to their many uses, particularly on partner airlines. Check out our guide on the best ways to redeem Avianca LifeMiles for maximum value.

Although LifeMiles’ search engine frequently has issues, I was able to find award availability rather easily.

Lifemiles award booking cost Air Canada
63,000 LifeMiles for a one-way business class redemption between Europe and North America. Image Credit: LifeMiles

Since I didn’t have the LifeMiles needed for this redemption, I had to transfer points to LifeMiles or purchase them.

Avianca LifeMiles is a transfer partner with several transferable points programs, including American Express Membership RewardsBilt RewardsCapital One MilesCiti ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. All programs, except Marriott Bonvoy, transfer to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to LifeMiles at a 3:1 ratio.

Although I had plenty of American Express Membership Rewards points and some Capital One miles, I have been saving them for specific redemptions. I considered transferring points over to Avianca LifeMiles and decided against it.

Instead, I decided to purchase LifeMiles directly from its site. Although buying miles is not generally recommended, it can be a great way to fly some premium cabins for a steep discount.

Better yet, LifeMiles was running a promotion where you could purchase LifeMiles with a 160% bonus. According to our valuations, LifeMiles are worth 1.4 cents per mile. If you can get a higher value than this, it may be worth buying them.

Since I already had 9,300 LifeMiles in my account, I needed to purchase 54,000 LifeMiles to get to 63,000 LifeMiles, the mileage required for this award ticket. With the bonus miles promotion, I could purchase 54,000 LifeMiles for $693. This may seem like a lot of money, but as you will see, I got my money’s worth.

Lifemiles purchase Feb 2024
Purchasing miles can be a great way to fly premium cabins for a steep discount. Image Credit: LifeMiles

With the LifeMiles in my account, I could now make the award booking. The total came to 63,000 LifeMiles plus $182 in taxes and fees for a one-way business class award between Europe and North America.

LifeMiles award booking 63000 miles FRA YUL
I booked my Air Canada business class ticket for 63,000 miles. Image Credit: LifeMiles

The one-way business class fare between Frankfurt and Chicago with a stop in Montréal on Air Canada would have set me back $5,657 if I’d’ paid cash. Since I used 63,000 Avianca LifeMiles for this one-way award, I got a value of an astounding 7.6 cents per point!

Cash price FRA YUL ORD Google Flights
Cash prices were quite high. Image Credit: Google Flights

I used my Chase Sapphire Reserve® to pay the taxes and fees on this award ticket, which came out to just under $182. The Chase Sapphire Reserve card is my top card for travel purchases, as it provides incredible travel insurance and protections.

Frankfurt Airport (FRA)

Check-In

After a wonderful few days in Munich and Frankfurt, it was time to go back home to Chicago. From Frankfurt’s Hauptbahnhof, I took the S9 train directly to Frankfurt’s airport, as the airport is well-connected to the city center.

Once I arrived at the airport, I took a second to admire the massive board listing nearly 100 flights and their departure times. Although I have flown from Frankfurt numerous times, it’s always a joy to see this relic of the golden age of air travel.

Frankfurt airport flights
Quite a few flights departing from Frankfurt in the next few hours

I then headed to the check-in counters for Air Canada flights. Although I had already checked in for my flight the day before, I wanted to get a physical copy of my boarding pass. Air Canada’s check-in counters were at the far end of Departure Hall C in Terminal 1.

However, I arrived at Frankfurt Airport about 45 minutes before the check-in counters were set to open. Fortunately, there were several self-check kiosks available.

The kiosks are easy to use and a quick way to get your boarding pass when check-in agents are unavailable. The kiosk scans your passport to verify travel information, and you can print out your boarding passes and checked baggage tags.

Air Canada business self check in machines
Self-check kiosks at Frankfurt Airport.

Within 2 minutes, I had my boarding pass and headed toward security and immigration. Fortunately, at 6 a.m., security and immigration went very quickly.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge

After clearing immigration, I headed to the lounge. At Frankfurt Airport, Air Canada business class passengers can visit the Lufthansa Business Lounge or the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.

Having been to both before, I decided to go to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, which is much smaller and has more private seating. The lounge also offers better tarmac views.

It’s relatively easy to find whichever lounge you want to go to at Frankfurt Airport, as several overhead signs point you in the direction you need to go. The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is 1 level up from the main departures hall, near gate B43 in Terminal 1, Concourse B. 

Air Canada business sign to Maple Leaf Lounge
There are many overhead signs at Frankfurt Airport.

Near gate B43 was an escalator on the right up to the lounge. After a few minutes, I reached the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge.

The lounge was open daily between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m., covering all Air Canada’s departures out of Frankfurt.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt entrance
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge entrance.

As I entered the lounge, I was welcomed with a model Air Canada Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, the plane I would be flying on in just a few short hours.

Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt model 787 Dreamliner
Air Canada model 787.

After spending way too much time looking at this model plane, I headed to the lounge’s check-in desk, where I was greeted by an attendant who quickly scanned my boarding pass.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt check in desk
Check-in desk.

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge is a single massive room divided into smaller seating sections, each feeling fairly private.

As I entered the lounge, I saw the buffet with 1 of several different seating areas directly across. This section had high-top seats surrounding 2 large tables.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt high chairs
High-top seating options.

Near the entrance corridor were several cafe-style tables along the wall, featuring both table seats and a long single bench. The seating was next to a TV and a flight information monitor.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt seats
Cafe-style seating options.

A separate seating area was in the center of the lounge. This section featured 2 massive, U-shaped couches with a flame-like art sculpture directly between them. There were also interesting tables in different wood designs.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt center seating and art
Central seating options.

The section featured unique mood lighting, and alternating glass and textured panels separated the area from the rest of the lounge. The leather couches were also quite comfortable.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt center seating
Leather couch seating options.

As I headed out of the central seating area, there were 2 areas with more traditional lounge seating. Toward the back, there were more armchairs and views overlooking the tarmac.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt so much seating
Armchair seating options.

These areas featured many leather armchairs in groups of 4. These armchairs were also quite comfortable and a perfect setting for those traveling in groups.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt even more seating
Group seating options.

In the far back of the lounge were private relaxation cubicles for a more quiet space. This is where I spent most of my time.

These cubicles featured oddly designed lounging chairs and side tables. There was also a TV, though I didn’t bother turning it on.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt lounging chair
Relaxation cubicles.

After walking around the lounge for a few minutes, I headed to the self-serve breakfast buffet. There was a decent selection of both hot and cold dishes.

The main breakfast section featured fresh scrambled eggs, miniature traditional Munich sausages with sweet mustard, cherry tomato comfit, and shredded potato hash.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt breakfast food
Self-serve breakfast.

There was also a wide selection of pastries. These included whole wheat bread, pretzels, croissants, and incredibly delicious apple pie.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt breakfast options
Pastry selection.

There were lots of cold cuts, fruits, and yogurt.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt breakfast nook
Cold breakfast foods.

The lounge also had several beverages, including water, soda, coffee, and tea. There was also a decent selection of beer, wine, and liquor.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt drink selection
Beverages.

After looking at the different foods the lounge had to offer, I grabbed a plate with a little bit of everything.

Although I try not to overeat in lounges, the food was fresh, and I couldn’t help but grab an extra croissant and slice of apple pie, as both were especially delicious. I even enjoyed an exquisite hot chocolate.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt my breakfast
Breakfast.

After breakfast, I checked out the lounge’s showers. There were several shower suites available for passengers to use. An attendant lets you inside one when a clean suite is available.

The shower suites were incredibly clean and well-stocked. The rainfall showerhead had great pressure and was the perfect way to end a solid lounge experience.

Air Canada business Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt bathroomshower
Shower suite.

Overall, the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Frankfurt Airport is an excellent option for Star Alliance travelers. The Maple Leaf Lounge had several seating areas, nice decor, a comfortable quiet zone, clean shower suites, and an excellent breakfast selection.

Although it’s much smaller than the Lufthansa Business Lounge, I prefer this one, as it’s typically less busy. Even though Air Canada had 2 flights to Toronto and Montréal departing 20 minutes apart, the lounge was not at all crowded.

Bottom Line:

The Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge at Frankfurt Airport is excellent for Star Alliance business class passengers looking to pass time ahead of their flight.

Boarding at FRA

After nearly 2.5 hours in the lounge, I headed to the departure gate, B47. Before getting in the priority boarding queue, I went to the window and saw the massive Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner that would be taking us nearly 3,700 miles to Montréal.

Air Canada 787 at gate in Frankfurt
Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner.

Unfortunately, boarding was chaotic, with no real direction from the Air Canada staff. The gate agents did not make any early announcements, and thus, hundreds of people just mobbed the boarding queue.

Fortunately, the gate agents were strict with boarding based on zone number once they saw the chaos. Passengers in business class were in zone 1, which allowed them to board the aircraft before everyone else (after those who needed assistance and families traveling with small children, of course).

Overall, boarding took about 30 minutes total, which was relatively quick, all things considered. I entered through door 1, reserved for those flying in business class. I was among the first people on board, which gave me an extra few moments to look around the business class cabin.

On Board the Air Canada Boeing 787-9

After boarding the Boeing 787-9, I was greeted by a wonderful flight attendant who showed me to my seat, 8K. I threw my carry-on bag in the overhead compartment and began to look around the seat and cabin.

Air Canada business class seat
Seat 8K.

Air Canada has 2 unique Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in its fleet: a 787-8 (788) and a 787-9 (789). The 787-9 is the larger of the 2, and its business class cabin features 30 reverse-herringbone seats in a 1-2-1 configuration spread across 8 rows, meaning every business class passenger had direct aisle access.

Air Canada uses the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond product for its Signature business class seats, which is common to several airlines. Best of all, there were no overhead bins in the center section, making the cabin feel extra spacious.

Air Canada business class cabin 787 from back middle
The Air Canada 787-9 business class cabin features 30 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Since there was only 1 business class cabin, each seat was nearly identical. Seats A and K were the window seats on each side, while D and G were the middle seats. Solo travelers could enjoy the window seats as they faced away from the aisle.

However, seats 5A and 5K were missing windows. I went with seat 8K, as it provided additional privacy because there weren’t any passenger seats behind it.

Although the seat was quite close to the middle galley, the noise didn’t bother me at all. The privacy curtain also helped with disturbances.

One thing to note is that the privacy dividers between the middle seats were fixed in an upright position and could not be adjusted. Thus, the middle seats may not be best for those traveling together.

Air Canada business class cabin 787
Air Canada 787-9 business class cabin.

Overall, the business class cabin was absolutely beautiful. I loved the white and gray scheme of the cabin, and the subtle hints of black made the cabin feel premium.

Business Class Seat

After walking around the cabin, I sat down and looked at everything the business class seat had to offer. I immediately noticed that the seat had a pillow, blanket, and mattress pad on the seat. I moved them to the side to get a full view of the business class seat.

The Air Canada business class seat was quite spacious and comfortable, and I loved the color palette of the seat and the entire cabin.

Although the seats did not have any sort of privacy dividers or sliding doors, the curvature of the seat panels provided a barrier. When I was seated, seeing passengers across the aisle was difficult.

Air Canada 787 9 business class seat 8K
Air Canada business class seat.

The seat featured an 18-inch inflight entertainment screen, but the distance from the seat made it harder to view at times.

Below the IFE screen was the tray table, which was stowed away. Beneath the tray table was the massive footwell. A literature pocket was against the side panel.

Air Canada business class footwell and space
These seats have a lot of space in the footwell.

My personal item had plenty of room below the footrest. However, the footrest was quite far from the seat, and I couldn’t reach it when seated.

Air Canada business class footwell and storage
There was enough space beneath the footrest for my personal item.

The seat had plenty of storage. On the outer lip of the seat, below the armrest on the aisle side, there was another small bin.

Air Canada business class seat and aisle storage
Seat storage compartment on the outside of the seat.

A large flat surface on the right was just above the right armrest. This shelf featured the main storage compartment.

Air Canada business class armrest and storage
Massive flat surface that can be used as storage.

Opening the flat panel surface revealed a deep cubby. I used it to store my MacBook and iPhone power adapters and cables throughout the flight.

This was also where the noise-canceling headphones and a water bottle were. I mostly used this compartment to store my mirrorless camera when not in use, as it had the perfect amount of space.

Air Canada business class storage cubby
Storage cubby.

Inside the cubby was the seat’s inflight entertainment remote control. The seat’s headphone jack, USB port, and universal AC power outlet were also inside, along the compartment’s walls.

Air Canada business class storage cubby and IFE remote
The seat’s inflight entertainment remote control sits inside this cubby.

The retractable inflight entertainment remote control featured several clickable buttons. Overall, the controls were quite responsive, and the user interface was easy to follow.

Air Canada business class IFE remote
IFE remote.

Behind the cubby was a massive, entirely separate counter that could be used for storage. For reference, I placed my hat, mirrorless camera, and MacBook on it to show how much space there actually was.

Air Canada business class storage area armrest
Plenty more space for storage on the back panel.

Below the storage cubby and near the armrest, I found a small touchscreen monitor that adjusted the seat.

From the main screen, there were 4 controls: ambiance, service, comfort, and control. It was nice to have so much control of everything with the seat. I particularly liked how you could control the lights above and dim the windows.

Air Canada business class seat controls
Touchscreen monitor for seat controls.

The monitor was quite intuitive and easy to use. The seat could be adjusted into many positions, including reclining and raising the seat. Of course, you could also turn the seat into a fully lie-flat bed.

Air Canada business class seat controls
Touchscreen monitor for seat controls.

Below the seat’s inflight entertainment screen was the sliding bifold tray table. The tray table was large, heavy, and nearly extended to the inflight entertainment screen. It was quite sturdy when locked into its fully extended position.

The tray table could be pushed away from the seat, but I found that the mechanism to lock it did not hold it in place when pushed away from the seat.

Air Canada business class full tray table
The seat featured an incredibly large tray table.

Air Canada went all out regarding bedding, as I was provided with a mattress pad, a thick duvet, and a relatively large pillow. A flight attendant set up my bed in under 2 minutes.

Air Canada business class bed
The seat converts to a fully lie-flat bed.

Although I wasn’t planning on sleeping at any point during the flight, I did spend about 3 hours in bed catching up on TV shows on my MacBook. I found the bed extremely comfortable, providing enough space for me to lie down on my side.

The mattress pad was incredibly comfortable, and the provided blanket was thick enough to keep me warm without feeling smothered. The only complaint I had was that the space around my shoulders felt tight while I was lying down in bed.

Air Canada business class bed top view with flash
The provided mattress pad and blanket made the bed quite comfortable.

Although the seat was not incredibly private, the staggered layout of the cabin meant I didn’t see much of my neighbors.

I loved the cabin’s aesthetic and found the seat visually appealing. I particularly liked the simple color palette of the seat and cabin and how everything was incredibly sleek and modern.

The seat also had a lot of storage compartments. I found myself forgetting where I placed small items (like my AirPods case), as there were so many individual storage options.

However, most importantly, I found the seat incredibly comfortable regarding ergonomics. I was very impressed with the seat and consider it one of the best reverse-herringbone products I’ve experienced thus far.

Food and Beverage

Although Air Canada may not be known for its inflight catering, I was thoroughly impressed. A dine-on-demand service is offered where the staff will set your dinner aside for later in the flight. However, I chose to have the meal service as soon as possible.

A flight attendant brought me the Signature Class menu for our flight shortly before takeoff. The menu was quite extensive and offered a nice variety.

Although we had an early morning flight, we were served dinner on the flight, which I thought was interesting. According to Air Canada, flights scheduled to depart before 10 a.m. were served breakfast.

The dinner service consisted of an appetizer, a main course, and a dessert, with an additional light meal shortly before landing. After looking through the menu, I was delighted at the many options. For the main course, I could have beef cheeks, chicken curry and rice, grilled cod, or Asiago pasta.

Air Canada business class menu
Air Canada business class menu.

The menu had an extensive selection of sparkling wines, red and white wines, and cocktails, with a good variety of nonalcoholic beverages, including fruit juices, soft drinks, and hot beverages, such as espressos, cappuccinos, coffee, and tea.

Shortly after boarding, flight attendants handed out predeparture drinks: a choice of sparkling wine or sparkling water. I passed on both and requested a Coke Zero with a lemon, which the flight attendant said she would bring as soon as the meal service began once we were at cruising altitude.

Shortly after takeoff, I was brought my beverage of choice and salted almonds and cashews.

Air Canada business class welcome nuts and drinks
A beverage and assortment of nuts were provided shortly after takeoff.

Shortly after, I was served the appetizer, which was presented beautifully. The appetizer consisted of buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes with marinated artichokes, and grilled peppers with olives. This was served with a fresh green salad and a choice of warm bread.

Fortunately, the warm breads included garlic bread, which was delicious. The flight attendant noticed how much I enjoyed it and kept bringing me more. I ended up having 6 slices of garlic bread throughout the flight.

I loved the variety of food on the plate, as each item had a distinct taste and, simply put, was a wonderfully orchestrated combination of flavors. It was a fantastic way to start the meal service.

Air Canada business class appetizer
The appetizer was quite tasty, particularly the soft garlic bread.

About 20 minutes after the appetizer, I was served the main course. I went with the beef cheeks with red wine sauce, horseradish mashed potatoes, and roasted root vegetables. The beef was tender and juicy, and the mashed potatoes and vegetables paired nicely. The main course was relatively simple yet incredibly filling.

Air Canada business class beef main course
Air Canada business class main course consisting of beef, mashed potatoes, and roasted vegetables.

Finally, the dessert included mango and coconut tart and fresh seasonal fruit. The tart was tremendous and one of the best desserts I have ever had on a flight.

Air Canada business class dessert
Air Canada business class dessert.

For a quick mid-flight snack about 2 hours after the dinner service, I ordered a cappuccino, which was accompanied by a Lotus Biscoff cookie, which happens to be my favorite brand and type of cookie in the world.

Air Canada business class cappucino and Biscoff cookies
Air Canada business class mid-flight cappuccino and snack.

The crew served a light meal approximately 75 minutes before landing: tuna tataki slices and smoked salmon with red cabbage coleslaw and herb mayonnaise. This was accompanied by fresh seasonal fruit, bread, and chocolate.

The tuna and salmon slices were the highlight of the inflight catering. As someone who regularly eats seafood, I thought this was the perfect way to end the meal service.

Air Canada business class light meal tuna and smoked salmon
The Air Canada business class light meal consisted of fantastic tuna and salmon.

Overall, I found the Air Canada Signature Class meal service fantastic. I appreciated how the cabin crew was focused on the meal presentation.

While the food was much better than I expected it to be, the variety is what really surprised me. The portions were also quite generous, and, on top of everything else, the cabin crew quickly handled requests and refilled drinks.

While not on the level of Singapore Airlines or Turkish Airlines, the Air Canada inflight meal service won high marks. The food was better than the business class meals I’ve had on several other airlines, including United and Lufthansa.

Amenities

As great as almost everything was on this flight, Air Canada severely lacked amenities for business class passengers.

For example, there were no pajamas or slippers. A flight attendant told me that Air Canada does not offer pajamas to business class passengers on any of its flights but that the airline gives slippers to long-haul business class passengers traveling to Asia.

That is an interesting choice for Air Canada, as these are standard amenities on most of the world’s best airlines. It’s little things that make the biggest difference.

Inflight Entertainment

Air Canada offers some of the best inflight entertainment of any North American carrier. But while the touchscreen is large and responsive, it is certainly not one of the most advanced out there.

The inflight entertainment on this flight included an extensive library of TV shows, movies, music, and games. It also featured an interactive map. Although I did not use the inflight entertainment much, preferring my MacBook, it was nice to follow our flight path occasionally.

Air Canada business class seat and IFE
The IFE had an excellent selection of TV shows and movies.

The noise-canceling headphones were surprisingly high-quality and quite comfortable. I found the sound quality to be excellent.

Air Canada business class headphones
Air Canada distributed noise-canceling headphones.

Amenity Kit

Air Canada provided an excellent Acqua di Parma amenity kit. I loved the high-quality material of the pouch and the sturdy zippers.

Air Canada business class amenity kit outside
An Acqua di Parma amenity kit is provided to business class passengers.

The amenity kit was well stocked and featured many travel necessities. The amenity kit had a dental kit, Acqua di Parma hand cream, foam earplugs, a microfiber lens cloth, a sleep mask, and thick socks.

Air Canada business class amenity kit inside
The Acqua di Parma amenity kit was well stocked.

Wi-Fi

Unlike most major international airlines, Air Canada does not provide complimentary Wi-Fi to business class passengers. Air Canada offers a free texting service for Aeroplan members, which works with iMessage, Messages, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

However, I was unable to get any service to work. I tried both on my phone and MacBook and could not connect to any messaging services. I found this quite frustrating, as I’d recently flown Singapore Airlines business class and had complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi for the entire flight.

Air Canada offered Wi-Fi passes for a price: A 1-hour Wi-Fi pass could be purchased for CA$10.75 (~$8), and a full-flight Wi-Fi pass was CA$27.75 (~$20).

More and more airlines have been including free Wi-Fi as a perk for passengers in premium cabins, however, Air Canada is not one of them. While free messaging is a nice perk (when it works), I would like to see Air Canada step it up by providing business class passengers with free Wi-Fi.

Service

Although Air Canada is not necessarily known for its service, the business class experience on this flight was simply incredible, thanks to the fantastic service provided by the professional cabin crew.

On most of my previous Air Canada flights, I found cabin crews to be average at best. However, this was not the case on this flight.

The 2 flight attendants whom I had the pleasure of meeting were incredible. Both were easily 2 of the best inflight crew members I’ve had on any airline. I had personal conversations with each flight attendant about our work, world travels, favorite destinations, and the best airlines we have flown.

They both seemed to enjoy their job and really went out of their way to make sure I enjoyed my first business class experience with Air Canada.

Arrival at Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Despite leaving Frankfurt about 15 minutes behind schedule, we arrived in Montréal right on time. I again thanked the cabin crew for their incredible service and made my way up the jet bridge.

I looked back and snapped a quick picture of the Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner that had brought us here.

Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner at gate YUL
The Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner that brought us to Montréal.

I followed the signs for U.S. connections, as I had a tight connection to Chicago. Getting to the right area was a long journey, with multiple passport and boarding pass checks.

I then needed to clear additional security, as this section was strictly for flights to the U.S. There were no separate lines for TSA PreCheck and no priority lanes for business class passengers. Security took nearly 30 minutes.

Fortunately, having Global Entry allowed me to clear U.S. immigration in under 2 minutes. I arrived at my gate with about 10 minutes to spare before my connection down to Chicago O’Hare.

Final Thoughts

I was pleasantly surprised by this Air Canada Signature Class experience. After flying Turkish Airlines business class and Lufthansa first class over the past few weeks, I came in with relatively low expectations for Air Canada, as those are considered among the best airline cabins in the world.

However, Air Canada’s Signature Class cabin was visually appealing, and the seat was super comfortable, especially when in fully lie-flat bed mode.

For flights between North America and Europe, I would personally choose Air Canada over United, American, and even Delta. Air Canada offers a consistent business class experience on its long-haul flights, and I had an excellent flight experience. I will absolutely fly Air Canada again on an even longer flight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which award program is best for Air Canada business class flights?

As Air Canada is a member of Star Alliance, there are several options when it comes to award redemptions. Some popular options include Air Canada’s own Aeroplan program, Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles, ANA Mileage Club, and Avianca LifeMiles.

How much does Avianca LifeMiles charge for a business class award flight between the U.S. and Europe?

Avianca LifeMiles charges 63,000 miles for a one-way business class award ticket on a Star Alliance partner between the U.S. and Europe.

Do you get complimentary Wi-Fi in Air Canada's Signature business class?

No, Air Canada does not provide complimentary Wi-Fi to business class passengers.

How many business class seats are on the Air Canada 787-9 Dreamliner?

On the 787-9, there are 30 business class seats arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Which points programs transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan?

Air Canada Aeroplan is a transfer partner of American Express Membership RewardsBilt RewardsChase Ultimate RewardsCapital One MilesCiti ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy.

All the programs above, except Marriott Bonvoy, transfer to Aeroplan at a 1:1 rate. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratio to Aeroplan, and for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you transfer, you get a 5,000-mile bonus.

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About Ehsan Haque

Ehsan is an avid traveler who has traveled to 100 countries, diligently using points and miles to fund his journeys. Currently, he holds 32 active credit cards and earns over a million points and miles annually, primarily using them for luxury hotels and long-haul premium cabins.

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