Air Canada's new business class will debut on Toronto-London route

7 Dec 2006 by business traveller

London will be the first European city to experience Air Canada's new flat bed business seating.

The carrier's new B777-300ERs will appear on its prime Toronto-London route on April 2. These planes will be factory-fitted at Boeing with the new seating. Branded Executive First Suites (Air Canada does not offer first class) they're similar to the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class seats which are disposed in a herringbone layout.

The B777s will operate to London on most days with AC856 departing Toronto at 1810 and reaching London at 0625 the next day. The first B777 will be out of Heathrow as AC869 on April 3, departing at 0830 and arriving at 1105.

Over the following months the B777-300ERs will gradually take over more flights on this route. After London, the new product will arrive on the Toronto-Frankfurt route. It will be found on flights AC872 eastbound and AC873 westbound, both operated by B777s, on various days of the week starting from May 31. Air Canada plans to offer the new seating every day on these flights starting from June 28.

Executive First seating features a seat pitch of 75 inches with 21 inch wide cushions. On the B777 the seating occupies rows 1 to 11 in a four across layout with seats lettered A, D, G or K.

Following these two European routes, the plan is for the B777s to appear on flights AC1 and AC2 operating Toronto-Tokyo from June 1. Flights AC3 and AC4 which ply between Vancouver and Tokyo will follow from June 30.

Air Canada says it will not begin promoting the new product to European passengers until the New Year. Why ? "Because we don't want to create disappointment with our customers," an airline spokesperson told Business Traveller.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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