Flight: Toronto to Dublin
Airline: Air Canada
Flight Number: AC800
Plane: Boeing 787-9
Cabin: Signature (Business Class)
This is a review of my flight from Toronto to Dublin with Air Canada.
As I’ve also written in my Frankfurt/Washington review, I’d been toying with the idea of moving from OneWorld to Star Alliance – and these flights have substantially contributed to that decision.
The long story short, having previously flown in to Washington on United, I was leaving Washington on Air Canada to Toronto – and making the connection back to the UK from there.
The flight leaves the Toronto at 22:00, landing in Dublin at 08:20, and is just 6:20 long. So not much time for sleeping! In fact it’s a pretty hideous flight whichever way you look at it, which is why I now tend to fly back from the East Coast during the day – which I’ve reviewed here.
All checking in was done in Washington. As I was transiting Canada, I was required to use a E-Transit visa, which I pre-bought for CAD$4.99.
An annoying factor about flying with Air Canada is their insistence in masks – despite the US having adapted their policy.
Masks aside, once landing in Toronto, I was required to do a quick post-US document check before being allowed into Canada.
Immediately after exiting the document check area, I found the Maple Leaf lounge in front of me, which I paid a quick visit to.
I then headed to the Signature Lounge, of which access is only granted if you’re flying Signature Class. Sadly, because Air Canada was so hideously late landing into Toronto, I didn’t have time to experience their a la carte signature dining.
Nevertheless, both lounges were a good bench mark of how Air Canada/Star Alliance measures up to American Airlines/OneWorld. Averagely.
I was flying in Air Canada’s Boeing 787-9, which Air Canada operate 29 x -9’s and 8 x -8’s.
Air Canada don’t offer a First Class product at all, so Signature Class is ‘the best they have’.
This 787-9 was configured with 30 Signature Class (Business Class) seats, 21 Premium Economy Seats, and 247 Economy seats.
In order to attempt to reduce the length of these blogs, you can find my review of the Signature Class seat here.
General observations are that it’s comparable to British Airway’s Club Suite. I found both storage and charging to be an issue – but the seat was otherwise comfortable.
Food and Drink
Unlike virtually every other airline flying right now, Air Canada didn’t offer any pre-departure drinks on this flight – not so much as a glass of water!
Once airborne, pre-drinks were offered with a packet nuts. I found this to be relatively low-end compared to United or American’s efforts of putting them in a bowl. I had a beer and a coke, as I was thirsty by this point!
Various white and red wines were on offer, as well as a port. Nothing tipped the $15 per bottle price. Cheap!
Pre-takeoff, dinner orders were taken. Air Canada do this by ‘status’ rather than by seat number/row. I guess in some ways it makes sense, and ensures those ‘most important’ get their choice. But this meant darting around the cabin in quite an illogical way!
As a Star Alliance nothing, I was literally last 29th to be asked what I wanted to eat. But I was glad that they did have my choice despite it.
On the menu for dinner was:
- Pork cheeks
- Chicken stew
- Potato gnocchi
Suffice to say, there seemed to be a consensus amongst the entirety of the cabin that octopus had gone a step too far…. I could hear everyone around my saying that they didn’t want it.
Despite saying I didn’t want the octopus, it was still delivered. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the salad at all; it was frozen solid. It was literally ice – not enjoyable!
For the main, I went for the chicken stew, which I ordered with a glass of Italian white wine. The wine was so horrid I switched to red!
Unfortunately, I didn’t really like the chicken. It wasn’t a stew, as promised – and I found the cut of meat poor. The meat was mostly fat, skin and brown meat. It just didn’t look nice at all.
Desert on the other hand was an improvement! Once the dinner was cleared, the Cabin Crew brought a trolley down with deserts.
Being the last seat in the cabin and having endured a relatively poor meal – I enquired as to whether I was allowed two deserts.
The answer was yes, and I had both the chocolate cake and cheese. I have to say both of these were very nice indeed!
Breakfast was a single tray effort, which made sense for the length of the flight.
On offer was;
Personally, I quite liked this offering as I like cheese for breakfast – but I can see that many would complain about it.
Carefully balanced on the bulkhead of the front rows were baskets with crisps, cookies, biscuits and chocolates. I grabbed a few supplies on my way to the bathroom!
Two Amenities Kits were offered.
The first was a simple ‘Covid Kit’ consisting of;
The ‘main’ Amenities Kit was a nice Amenities bag by Want Les Essentiels. Inside the kit was;
- Toothbrush & Toothpaste
- Floss pick
- Lip balm
- Hand lotion
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
- Glasses cloth
Compared to the usual offerings, I thought that this kit was actually quite unique – and my favorite thing is the glasses cleaner!
Air Canada offered two Wifi passes. One for browsing (CAD$19.25) and the other for streaming (CAD$34.50).
It always annoys me paying for the ‘wrong’ Wifi – and I intended to sleep, so I didn’t buy either!
I found the TV was a good size of the seat. The controls for the TV sit under the magic flap.
What I like about this entertainment system (which is the same as Club Suite) is that the TV and remote can work independently of each other. This means you can have flight map on the TV, and be selecting music from the remote – without disrupting the flight map.
There seemed to be a good amount of music, TV and movies loaded on to the system. One thing I thought was quite interesting was the ‘Britbox’ channel!
Air Canada hands out headphones, which are a decent quality – but I couldn’t work out who makes them. Unlike American Airlines, there was no ‘HeadphoneGate’ at the end of the flight – passengers were trusted to leave them on the aircraft.
One annoying feature is that after the safety video and some following some adverts, the entertainment appeared to reset itself – meaning I had to find what I was watching and load it all up again.
I found the Cabin Crew to be really nice on this flight, and that’s all of them!
I made the point about offering my octopus to another cabin crew member (who didn’t take my tray away) and she made the point of coming to thank me for it – although she probably didn’t eat it!
During the dinner course, the Cabin Crew walked the aisles proactively offering refills on the wine – which is something American Airlines rarely do!
All were super nice, funny and approachable – so that was a nice feature – there was nobody ‘off’ as can happen with a lot of US-based airlines,
Landing in Dublin
After landing in Dublin we waited what took an age for stairs. Seemingly there was no jet bridge gate that Air Canada were prepared to pay for!
Then, I waited another age for my bags to come out. Seemingly, in the middle of delivering the bags – the baggage carousel changed, which was rather bizarre!
In general terms Signature Class and Air Canada is good. There is a nice lounge, the seat is nice, the cabin crew are nice, the amenities kit good.
The letdown for me was the food and drink. No pre-takeoff drinks, poor mains, ambitious starters – it was just not quite right.
79 out of 101 – or 78%.
Sadly, the food was a real let down – as was the lateness of my inbound flight, as was the busyness of the lounge.