Just got into Seoul and even with a first class flight, all the way … it’s still long!

This morning’s post is all about Air Canada. There are some days, when I absolutely hate Air Canada. They’ve punked me on several occasions with respect to never informing me about delays or the inability to ever serve me a lactose free meal on a consistent basis. I’ve been an Aeroplan member for more than 10 years and I can count on one hand, the number of times that they’ve served me that lactose free meal.

Today, was not that day. On both legs of my 17 hour journey (YYZ-YVR-INC), I got my precious executive class upgrade. Travelling across continents is almost unbearable in coach class. It’s tough and I’m sad for those who don’t get the upgrade. Once it was “night time”, then the cabin lights were dimmed and then the blue strobe lights were on. It’s definitely relaxing.

If you ever wondered about crew rest and sleeping on these flights … I have your answer for you. They usually take up a couple spot in first class, so that they are out of people’s way.

Here is the picture of the amenity pack they offer to all executive class guests. It’s acceptable – not amazing like what you get with Emirates or Qatar airlines, but then again AC isn’t in that class in my opinion.

Overall as a regular Air Canada flyer. AC’s J product (branded as Executive First) is decent enough, and it is certainly better than their North American peers – doing this on a United/Continental/US Airways flight would seriously suck. For those flight junkies, this is ticketed as J (business class) versus F (first class) but overall it is still head and shoulders above it’s North American peer group. The seats are the real star (as mentioned above, 180° true lie-flat seats), the food is adequate, and service is dependent upon what crew you get. I had one minor issue with the Thales AVOD system (at seat audio and video) – where it was freezing up for two minutes.

I found that the pod seating is quite comfy, and definitely great for a single traveller. It’s sad that they don’t generally use these seats on domestic journeys over 4 hours, as the business people like me are being moved between AC’s hubs. As for a couple travelling together, because of the herringbone design, I’d book seats the are back-to-back (eg the middle row of AC’s 77x) or across the aisle from each other (eg the A-D row on their 763.) There is a divider that can be lowered between the middle pods so you may chat easier. No real advantage to sitting at a window, as the angle of the seat makes you crane your head out to get pictures like this one.

My only regret today has been that in getting the special no dairy meal, it meant that I also couldn’t have the Korean food option, which was a bit sad.

As for the meal options :

– Breakfast: On my first flight from Toronto to Vancouver – I was served breakfast starting with a first course of fresh fruit, a croissant and yogurt with coffee – on reminding them – they fished out my special meal – which was two veggie pitas with hummus. Coffee and tea of course. Our flight finished off with some fresh chocolate-chip cookies baked on board the plane – but as usual, nothing to write home about.
– Lunch : Lunch started off with two vodka/sodas. The airline crew then proceeded to serve the usual 3-course lunch. The first course was smoked salmon with a dill mustard sauce pictured above accompanied by a fresh garden salad. Next up was the main course which was some spicy marinated beef, rice seasoned with sesame seeds and black mushrooms. Last course of this meal was a mixed berry pie with was really good served with a top up of your wine glass and coffee or tea. My special lunch for lactose sensitive people … consisted off cous-cous in chicken stock, steamed chicken, steamed veggies.
– Dinner : Here you have a serving of fresh fruit and bread to start off with. The main course is beef ribs served with mashed potatoes and veggies (asparagus and tomatoes). Finally for dessert you have a box of Lindor chocolates to help finish you off.

So was it all the full fare price? Maybe not – but it’s certainly worth the price that I paid … thanks ACN for a great parting gift.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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