Air Canada will shortly launch more luxurious Executive First (business class) seating on its long-haul international routes. The new product, similar to the lie-flat suites offered by Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand, debuts on transatlantic services in the middle of this year, with Air Canada's routes to London being a priority.
Ten years ago Air Canada's Executive First was highly rated on account of its legroom and wide seats. But the product has increasingly become outdated when stacked against British Airways' lie-flat seating in Club World and the lie-flat style seating offered by the likes of Air France and Lufthansa. The airline says its new product is similar to those of Virgin Atlantic and Air New Zealand but with specific changes unique to Air Canada.
The new seating is manufactured by Contour, a UK firm. It features truly lie-flat beds which are 191cms long and up to 79cms wide at the shoulders. The individual suites are separated by a 109cm high privacy screen. This product is widely regarded as offering the best business class comfort aloft.
New Executive First will adopt the east-west herringbone layout (like Virgin and Air New Zealand) rather than the north-south configuration seen at other carriers.
All passengers gain access to an aisle or window seat with in-seat video and audio entertainment, adjustable head and footrests, power for portable electronic devices and an oversized tray table for dining and working.
For more information go to www.aircanada.com
Report by Alex McWhirter