Although I have flown Air Canada’s 787–9 business class before, I’ve yet to do so “post-pandemic“ or internationally. At the end of my epic first international trip in 2+ years, I got to do just that with an Air Canada 787 business class trip between London Heathrow and Calgary.
This is my Air Canada 787 business class review along with how it compares to their domestic offering.Compare prices on Air Canada Business Class flights with Skyscanner
Route: London to Calgary
Duration: 7 hrs, 50 min
Highlights: Ground experience at LHR Maple Leaf Lounge
Low lights: No preflight drink
I typically don’t fly Air Canada internationally. Not because I don’t enjoy their service, quite the opposite. I just like to try other products out when leaving my home country as I fly Air Canada a lot domestically. Also, the redemption of Aeroplan is now on a dynamic scale for Air Canada flights so it is not an attractive option when using points.
So why did I end up on this Air Canada 787 business class flight out of London Heathrow? It was the only good option for me after my amazing Oman Air first-class flight from Muscat. When I looked at redemption options, however, it was not looking great. Business class was a staggering 200,000+ points minimum. Thankfully, there were plenty of eUpgrade options. Using my tried and tested eUpgrade strategy, I netted a flight home to Vancouver for just 52K points, over 150,000 less than the posted business class rate.
London LHR Ground Experience
My time in London was at the beginning of the “post-pandemic” issues Heathrow was facing with flight delays. I experienced a bit of chaos upon arrival with heavy delays getting through customs.
Thankfully check-in for this Air Canada 787 business class flight was seamless. For the first time in 10+ flights on this trip, I was able to check in online and use an electronic boarding pass. Security took a breezy 10 minutes to clear leaving me with plenty of time to kill.READ MORE: Air Canada CleanCare+ at YVR and YYV Maple Leaf Lounges
London Heathrow Maple Leaf Lounge
From security, I made my way to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. It’s a good 15-minute walk underground to get to the terminal and it felt like a journey. Thankfully, from the lounge itself, the Air Canada gates are much closer.
The Maple Leaf lounge in London Heathrow is surprisingly good. Not to say that domestic versions are bad but after visiting the likes of Turkish Airlines’ flagship lounge in Istanbul and Oman Air‘s first-class lounge in Muscat, I wasn’t expecting much. The Maple Leaf lounge has plenty of great seating options and the food was quite good with some subtle Canadian tastes mixed in – maple syrup with porridge (although not real maple syrup) and a preflight Caesar to name a few.
See here for my full London Heathrow Maple Leaf lounge review.
My flight was delayed over an hour due to the weather but I wasn’t fussed. I had a long layover in Calgary before connecting to Vancouver and, although the lounge there is quite good, I was happy to enjoy the London Maple Leaf lounge a little longer.
When boarding started I was in my seat within minutes. Interestingly, there was no preflight drink offered. This makes Air Canada the only airline not to do this on my eight business-class flights on this trip. Flight attendants did distribute menus and took meal orders though.
Air Canada 787 Business Class Seats
Air Canada 787 business class seats are the best in their fleet in my opinion. I specifically booked a route through Calgary on a 787 versus a direct flight to Vancouver on a 777 because of this.
Seats are plenty spacious with a footwell that has storage space underneath. I use this for my camera bag and shoes.
On either side of the footwell are literature pockets. I use these to store my laptop and notebook. Interestingly, the storage options on Air Canada 787 business class seats are far better than what I found flying on Ethiad‘s brand new A350–1000.
Moving up to the armrest area, there is a deep storage compartment where I keep my phone, AirPods, and camera. This cubby also houses the entertainment system controller as well as a power plug and USB port for charging.
Below the storage compartment are the controls for the seat. Aside from adjusting the seat from upright to laying flat, there are massage functions. These are largely gimmicky in my opinion.
Lastly, on the right side of the seat is an adjustable armrest. Beside that is a storage pocket that can house a water bottle and your amenities kit.
Air Canada 787 Business Class Service and Amenities
Speaking of amenities, the provided kit by Air Canada is by WANT Les Essentiels. It contains the standards of toothbrush and paste, ear plugs, and hand lotion. There’s nothing here that stands out about this kit except the included glass cloth which I found unique.
Overall, the staff was friendly and attentive throughout the flight. That said, there were some interesting moments with the service.
Firstly, the attendant that took my meal order came back three separate times to confirm what I had requested. Next was the absence of staff once meal service was completed. I get that there is a rush to complete meal service however I prefer to have my meal later on a flight, especially after spending time in the lounge. This was not an option here. Anything after the meal service required using the call button.
Wi-Fi and Entertainment
Wi-Fi is available onboard and provided by Gogo. Pre-purchasing access is $6.50 for one hour or $21 for one way. In flight, this was significantly more and I did not try it out. In general, I haven’t had much success with in-flight Wi-Fi. I would only use it if I needed to send some emails or messages.
In-flight entertainment includes a great selection of new movie releases and TV shows. The highlight of this includes a ton of great Canadian content options. Headphones are provided and are decent enough for viewing but not as high-end as those found on Turkish Airlines or Etihad.
Food and Drink
As mentioned, the meal service was promptly after takeoff. I was not particularly hungry as I had just spent several hours enjoying the meal options at the Maple Leaf Lounge. Still, I ordered the paprika cod and it was just OK. The appetizer of smoked salmon was exceptionally good though.
Other meal options included a short rib dish and butter chicken, both by Canadian chefs that have partnered with Air Canada which is a nice touch.
Wine options included American and Argentinian wines. Interestingly, only one Canadian wine was on the menu and one Canadian beer despite plenty of good options out there. This is an ongoing gripe of mine with the lounges not serving better Canadian beers.
The dessert service is where this Air Canada 787 business-class meal service shines. The cart came by offering a cheese plate, peach cobbler, port, and apéritif. I said yes to all of it and really enjoyed it.
Shortly before landing, a light high tea snack of finger sandwiches, scones, and clotted cream was served. This seems to be a nod to the departing city and a nice touch.
After a month of trying out some of the world’s best business-class products, my expectations were low coming home on Air Canada. That said, I felt at home with the familiarity and comfort of the service and meals offered. The meals are good and, although the crew could be a little more attentive (a preflight cocktail or drink would be appreciated), they were friendly and welcoming.
That all said, it was nice to get a taste of home before being home. I would happily fly this route again, pending there is a good Aeroplan eUpgrade option 😉
What say you?
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