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Air Canada Boeing 787-900 Economy Class Review [FRA to YUL]

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Ryan Smith
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Ryan Smith

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Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publicat...
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Michael Y. Park is a journalist living in New York City. He’s traveled through Afghanistan disguised as a Hazara Shi’ite, slept with polar bears on the Canadian tundra, picnicked with the king and que...
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Airline: Air Canada
Aircraft: Boeing 787-900
Flight #: AC 845
Route: Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) to Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
Date: August 17, 2023
Duration: 7hr 55min
Cabin and Layout: Air Canada economy with 247 seats, 3-3-3 configuration
Seat: 19G (aisle seat)
Cost: 40,100 Aeroplan points + ~$155 (including another flight to LAX)
Typical Cash Price: $1,430

I recently visited Turkmenistan with a friend and stopped at his house in Germany for a few days before returning home to California. With the peak summer travel season in full force, flight options weren’t great. I couldn’t find anything direct to Los Angeles but was happy to find a 1-stop itinerary with Air Canada via Montréal.

I’d never flown long-haul with Air Canada before, so I was excited to check it out. Was it worth the price? And how was service? Is this an airline you should intentionally try to book or one to avoid?

Here is my experience from a flight in mid-August 2023.

Booking Air Canada Economy

I booked directly with Air Canada Aeroplan, paying 40,100 points + CA$203.30 (~$155). That included my flight from Frankfurt (FRA) in Germany to Montréal (YUL) in Canada and the onward flight to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Air Canada Aeroplan redemption FRA YUL LAX in economy
The cost of my redemption. Image Credit: Air Canada

To book only the flight from FRA to YUL, expect to pay 32,500 points + $113. The cash price for my booking was $1,430 just to Montréal but $1,595 to Los Angeles. That gave me a redemption value of 3.6 cents per point — an abnormally high value for an economy booking with Aeroplan points.

Hot Tip:

If you were to book with cash, consider one of our recommendations for the best credit cards for airfare purchases.

At Frankfurt Airport

Checking In

I checked in online 24 hours in advance and was able to choose an aisle seat in the center block of 3 seats, strategically choosing one where the middle seat was likely to remain empty. I got a mobile boarding pass for the flight this way.

When checking in, I was given the option to upgrade to business class for €1,201.35 (~$1,190). I wasn’t interested in that price, especially for a daytime flight.

Air Canada upgrade options FRA YUL LAX economy
Upgrade options for my itinerary. Image Credit: Air Canada

On arrival at the airport in Frankfurt, I asked the information desk if mobile boarding passes were accepted for passing security and boarding. The employees said yes, so I didn’t go to the check-in counter. I had only carry-on bags and no reason to wait in line.


Flying in economy didn’t grant any lounge access with my ticket.

While holders of The Platinum Card® from American Express can access certain Lufthansa lounges at FRA, that wasn’t available to me since I wasn’t flying on a Lufthansa Group airline.

There were several Priority Pass lounges in Terminal 2, but I was flying from Terminal 1, where the only option was LuxxLounge. This lounge was located landside before security between Concourses B and C on the Gallery Level above the check-in desks.

LuxxLounge Frankfurt FRA entrance
The exterior door and methods of access.

There were plush chairs arranged in groups of 4, with outlets available. Toward the buffet area was an additional seating area with restaurant-style tables and chairs that were more ideal for dining.

LuxxLounge Frankfurt FRA seating
The first seating area in the lounge.

While the dining offerings weren’t spectacular, the breakfast spread had cold cuts, eggs, croissants, cinnamon rolls, and more, as well as juice, tea, and coffee.

LuxxLounge Frankfurt FRA buffet baked goods
Pastries and breads on the breakfast buffet.

The lounge had amenities such as showers and blazing-fast Wi-Fi, but the overall experience was very average, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to visit this lounge again.


My flight departed from gate B44. Shortly before boarding started, I approached the counter, assuming someone would want to see my passport. I told the employee I hadn’t checked in at the counter and asked if she needed to check my passport. She shooed me away, saying I was in boarding group 5 and to wait my turn.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy boarding gate at FRA
Our gate at Frankfurt in Terminal 1.

Of course, 30 seconds later, the same employee called my name over the speaker, saying I should come to the podium for a document check. “Hey, me again,” I greeted her. I thought it was hilarious, but she wasn’t amused.

Once boarding started, it was organized until it jumped from Group 4 to the final call. Those of us in Group 5 must have been small in number.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy boarding
Boarding at Frankfurt.

We boarded through the center door, entering in the galley between the business and economy cabins. At the door to the plane, a friendly flight attendant checked my seat number and indicated the aisle on the opposite side. Flight attendants greeted passengers in a mix of English, French, and German, and they did a good job of helping passengers clear the aisle to keep the process moving.

On Board Air Canada’s Boeing 787-900

The economy cabin on this flight used a 3-3-3 layout. I had seat 19G — the aisle seat on the right side of the middle block of seats.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seats
The middle block of 3 seats in my row.


I liked the linear pattern on the seats.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seat pattern
The pattern was attractive.

Each had a blanket and pillow.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seat at boarding
Pillow and blanket on my seat at boarding.

While I wouldn’t call the space between rows spacious, I didn’t hit my knees on the seat — my minimum expectation. I’m 5 feet, 10 inches, for context.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seat space
Knees not hitting the seat=success.

The cabin looked and felt clean, aside from this small piece of trash in my row at boarding.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seat pitch and trash
Pitch was good. Oops, someone missed some trash.

In the seat pocket in front of me was a menu (with food and drinks for sale) and a safety information card.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seat back pocket
Contents of the seat back pocket.

A button on the armrest controlled the seat’s recline.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy seat recline button
The button for reclining the seat.

The latch to release the tray table worked easily, despite being cracked.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy tray table latch
The latch worked, despite several cracks.

The tray table was a good size.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy tray table
The tray table was large.

It held my 13-inch laptop comfortably.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy tray table with laptop
The table easily held my 13-inch laptop.

Under the seat in front of me, I had a universal outlet.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy plug under seat
Universal outlet under my seat.

Overhead, there were 3 air vents and 3 reading lights.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy air vents
The lights and vents above my seat.

The overhead bins were spacious. Given that our flight was only two-thirds full, the bins weren’t packed.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy overhead bins
Overhead bins were spacious and mostly empty.

Food and Beverage

It was possible to view the meal offerings prior to departure using the Air Canada mobile app. Options on this flight included chicken teriyaki with rice and vegetables or casarecce pasta with tomato sauce and cheese.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy meal options
The menu for economy class on my flight.

During meal service, the flight attendant confirmed my special meal request (a vegan meal) and asked what I wanted to drink. The tray included a bottle of water, chopped fruit, a chickpea salad, a roll, crackers, a “salad” (just pieces of lettuce with a bottle of olive oil), and a main meal.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy meal
My meal tray.

The butter bean masala, spicy cauliflower, and couscous dish was excellent. Grade A.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy meal closeup
Except for the “salad,” my meal was really good.

And since I had the whole block of 3 seats to myself, I was able to use the seat next to me to hold my stuff and the tray table to hold my laptop when the meal came. I had an office at 30,000 feet.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy meal with laptop
The office in the sky when you’ve got a row to yourself.

An hour before landing, we also received a savory pastry. It reminded me of a Hot Pocket. The standard offering was a chicken pastry. Mine had vegetable curry inside.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy hot pocket
The hot pastry snack before landing.

These weren’t large, but they were heavy and kept my stomach happy as we neared the end of the flight.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy hot pocket bitten
Biting into the pastry to see what’s inside.


Information in the Mobile App

Prior to takeoff, I played with the Air Canada mobile app and enjoyed the information it showed about my flight. Along with viewing the flight time and departure and arrival gates, it was possible to check the meal information for the flight and items available for sale besides the complimentary meals.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy flight info in app
Info inside the app before takeoff. Image Credit: Air Canada


Each seat had a personal entertainment system. The screen wasn’t large, but it wasn’t small enough that I’d give a negative rating.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy entertainment screen welcome
My seat-back entertainment screen.

The touchscreen system worked well and had numerous language options.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy entertainment language options
Numerous language options were available.

The system offered movies, TV shows, news, music, games, and a flight map.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy entertainment home screen
The home screen on the entertainment system.

It was possible to sort the movies by genre or find new releases.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy movie genres
Filtering for new movies is a nice touch.

There were reasonably recent movies on offer, with a display of movies coming soon.

But the most interesting aspect was filtering for movies that you could finish before landing. The options obviously decreased the closer we got to arrival, but this was a cool feature.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy movie finish in time
Filtering by movies you can finish before the flight ends is fantastic.

The flight also had Apple TV+, with many shows available.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy Apple TV plus
Apple TV+ series during the flight.

Within the settings, it was possible to enable parental controls.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy entertainment settings
The screen had notifications and parental control settings.

A headphone jack and USB-A port (for charging only) were on the bottom of the screen.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy entertainment USB and headphone jack
Headphone and USB ports below the screen.


Lavatories were at the middle and rear of the economy cabin, along both aisles. They didn’t have any special features.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy lavatory toilet
The lavatory’s toilet.

The flight crew did a great job keeping these clean and stocked throughout the flight.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy lavatory sink
Inside the economy cabin’s bathroom.


If you wanted to access the internet, there was information in the bistro booklet in the seat pocket and on the entertainment system.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy entertainment wifi info
The entertainment system explained how to access the Wi-Fi.

Messaging was available for free for Aeroplan members.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy wifi cost
Standard and surfing-capable internet options were available, plus free messaging.

Messaging was accessed by providing your last name and seat number. However, this may not have worked if you did not list your Aeroplan number on the flight (for example, if you booked with United miles).

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy wifi access with seat number
Free messaging worked by seat number.

For 1 hour, internet access was priced at 1,100 Aeroplan points or CA$10.75 (~$8.17). That was a value of 0.7 cents per point — pretty bad. For a flight pass, the cost was 2,800 points or CA$27.75 (~$21.10). Again, using your points to pay presented poor value. You could pay by credit card or PayPal.

The network only cut out for a brief moment during the flight, and speeds were pretty good as far as airplane Wi-Fi goes: 23.35 Mbps downloads and 2.22 uploads.

Air Canada FRA YUL wifi speed test
Wi-Fi speeds were good as far as inflight internet goes. Image Credit: Speedtest by Ookla
Hot Tip:

Air Canada started offering free messaging Wi-Fi across its Wi-Fi-equipped planes as of May 2023.


The flight attendants on this flight were great. Aside from the snarky gate agent (who was an airport employee, not an Air Canada employee), everyone else working this flight was friendly and helpful.
At boarding and before departure, flight attendants were smiling and eager to help people find their seats, search for overhead bins, and move out of the aisle to let other passengers by.

During meal service, the process was efficient and friendly. And the crew returned quickly with a trash cart to clear away trays after people had finished eating.

Air Canada B787-9 FRA to YUL economy cabin lights off
Inside the B787-9 cabin during the flight.

I also enjoyed that the pilots and flight attendants didn’t make an unnecessary number of announcements. Some airline crews love to use the intercom, but we got the information we needed without extra fluff. This elevated the flying experience, in my view.


On arrival in Montréal, we quickly taxied to our gate, and flight attendants were present at the door to smile, say goodbye, and point people in the right direction. We deplaned through the center door, between business class and economy, and the process was extremely efficient.

Air Canada B787-9 at YUL
Our plane after arrival into Montréal.

Final Thoughts

I’d never flown Air Canada long-haul before, and this was a good first experience. The flight attendants were friendly, the internet worked well, and the meal service was good.

Would I go out of my way to fly Air Canada over another carrier? No, because I’m not a fan of unnecessarily adding time to a travel day. But given this experience, I’d likely choose Air Canada over another airline if all things were equal (like cost, travel time, etc.).

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Frequently Asked Questions

How many seats are on Air Canada’s B787-9 plane?

There are 298 seats total on Air Canada’s B787-900 planes. There are 30 seats in business class, 21 in premium economy, and 247 seats in a 3-3-3 layout in economy.

Does Air Canada give free meals in economy?

On long-haul international flights, there is a complimentary meal in the economy cabin. However, complimentary meals are not served in economy during transborder flights between Canada and the U.S.

What is Air Canada Bistro?

Bistro is Air Canada’s “for purchase” menu. This includes snacks, drinks, meals, and combos available to buy during a flight.

What terminal does Air Canada use in Frankfurt (FRA)?

Air Canada uses Terminal 1. Check-in counters are in the B/C area of the terminal.

Ryan Smith's image

About Ryan Smith

Ryan completed his goal of visiting every country in the world in December of 2023 and now plans to let his wife choose their destinations. Over the years, he’s written about award travel for publications including AwardWallet, The Points Guy, USA Today Blueprint, CNBC Select, Tripadvisor, and Forbes Advisor.


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