Class: Air Canada Business class
Aircraft: 777-300er (77W) – three class V1
Route: YVR – JFK
Date: November 12, 2018 | 11:49pm – 6:58am (+1)
Actual Flight time: 4 hours 9 minutes
Booking: Revenue + AP + Avios: NYC & Vancouver
Vancouver Maple Leaf Lounge (Domestic Terminal)
For domestic passengers in YVR, you really only have two lounge options: the Maple Leaf Lounge or the Plaza Premium located right after security. I can tell you the plaza premium has better food – the YVR domestic one has sushi on demand! However, it is much smaller and very open, everyone walking past security can see you.
On the other hand, maple leaf lounge is located on the second floor and is huge. There are two sides of seating areas with the “food” area in the middle. I say “food” because there are only bread, cookies, chips and some salad items. You do get a hot soup option but that’s about it.
I wasn’t hungry so I just went to the Maple leaf lounge to use their wifi before my flight. Thinking about it, I probably would have been better off at the plaza premium as the Maple Leaf lounge was really busy while the plaza premium was almost empty.
My plan for this red-eye flight was to get me back in time for work on Tuesday morning. Because of the time difference, even if you leave Vancouver at 3pm, you wont be back until past 10pm. I thought with lie flat seats, I can sleep on the plane and be well rested for work, thus maximizing my time in Vancouver and making the most efficient use of time.
I can tell you this was a terrible idea, even if you can fall asleep straight away in a noisy environment, you would be lucky to get 3 hours of sleep. With a flight duration of just over 4 hours, the first 45 minutes consisted of flight attendants asking you if you wanted breakfast and rolling the trolley around for drinks and nuts, it really is quite hard to fall asleep in that environment. I was completely exhausted the following day.
Anyway, for this flight I sat in the back window seat of the business class mini cabin, in seat 11k. The mini cabin feels more intimate and private as there are less people. I originally thought the back row would give more space, but this wasn’t the case.
Seat & Comfort
You don’t get walked to your seat like Cathay Pacific first class. Upon arriving at my seat, the pillow, mattress pad and blankets (both of which are sealed in a plastic bag) is waiting for you on the seat. The mattress “pad” is super thin, maybe 2-3mm thick. To be honest I’m not really sure why they bother, it almost seems more for sanitary reasons than comfort.
Having said that, seat is actually very comfortable and Air Canada has stuffed it full of controls and features. First of all you actually get 2 mini control screens – one to control the seats/lights and one for the main display. The main screen is also touch screen, so the control pad in the compartment is quite redundant (I don’t think I used it once). The USB and headphone jack is also inside the compartment – when you close it there is a gap on the side that lets cables pass through.
There are actually 4 lights you can control. One for the footwell area, one on the side of the seat and 2 individually lights overhead. There are also 2 air nozzles for you so you can keep the temperature as warm or cold as you wish! As someone who likes to sleep with the temperature cold, this was a big bonus for me.
In lie flat mode, I actually found it very comfortable. I know some bloggers complained about the small footwell area, but I honestly felt very comfortable. On t he contrary, I found the top part of the “bed” very narrow, I would move slightly and knock my arm against the elevated armrest on the window side. The blankets are slightly thin, but that wasn’t a problem for me.
One final note is that the seats has a massage function. This was new to me and I really wanted to try it out. If you were expecting massaging functions like the OSIM massage chairs, you would be very disappointing. I felt something move up and down my back and some vibrations – it would do nothing to loosen your muscles and I turned it off very quickly.
Amenities and Food
The Amenity kit was super basic. Eye shades, toothbrush, socks and ear plugs. I have received better kits in longhaul economy class before, but for a domestic flight I’ll take what I can.
You get drinks and nuts after takeoff and asked if you wanted breakfast and if so, would you like to be woken up for it.
I think I was one of the very few people who opted to have breakfast. Most people seemed to want to get that extra 45 minutes of sleep, and to be honest I would too. However, I wanted a picture for my readers so I sucked it up and told the attendant I wanted to be waken up for breakfast.
Air Canada serves the same breakfast on every single (non-international) flight – Parsley omelette, sausage and potatoes. The fruit was a welcome sight, but I can only say the food was fine, perfectly edible but nothing to write home about.
The service was a far cry from Cathay Pacific first class. The flight Attendant seemed robotic and wanted to be done with you in as little words and time as possible. I can understand this for a late night domestic flight though, so I won’t complain about it.
The food was average and honestly I would just skip it on a late night flight. On the other hand, the seat was very comfortable – on a Canadian domestic route, there is simply no better seats available.
I would definitely recommend flying on a wide-body Air Canada jet (777 or 787) for this route, but in the future avoid these overnight flights unless you can sleep in the whole day afterwards.