Air Canada took delivery of the B777 aircraft it uses on the London-Vancouver route in March last year.
Fitted in a three-class configuration of business, premium economy and economy, by next summer they will be retrofitted with the seats found on the airline’s new Dreamliners.
I arrived at Heathrow Terminal 2 at 0750 for my 1005 departure on AC855, and headed to Zone A, having checked in online and accepted my seat allocation.
I printed my boarding pass and bag tag at a self-service kiosk before handing over my case at one of the numerous staffed desks (A1-18). It didn’t take long to get through security.
It was a 15-minute walk to satellite terminal T2B, where my gate, B44, was located. Screens directed passengers to head there at 0905 and, when I arrived at 0930, it was on its final call.
On board, I was offered juice or water and given a menu.
Premium economy runs from row 12 to 14 and is configured 2-4-2 (A-C, D-E-F-G, H-K), with a galley and washrooms ahead, and economy behind. I was in 13A.
I was impressed by the 20-inch width (compared with 17 inches in economy). The pitch (38 inches) was seven inches greater than in economy, while recline (eight inches) was two inches more.
Upholstered in navy leather, the seat felt spacious and comfortable, and had a footrest and a headrest with wings. The fold-out tray table was stable for working on. There was a magazine pocket and plenty of overhead locker space.
The ten-inch touchscreen in-flight entertainment screens pull out towards you if the seat in front is reclined. There was a good choice of recently released movies, and built-in seat power and USB sockets.
In-ear headphones, a bottle of water and an amenity kit with socks, eyemask, earplugs and toothbrush/paste were provided.
WHICH SEAT TO CHOOSE?
A-C and H-K are a good choice, as are aisle seats 13D/G and 14D/G. Avoid E-F.
Aisle seats in row 12 are close to the galley so there may be some disturbance from crew coming by with trolleys. Seats 14D-E-F-G are in front of economy class bassinets attached to the bulkhead.
Washrooms are shared with business class.
We pushed back on time and took off at 1025. The IFE could be used at this time.
Once cruising, meal and drink orders were taken – there was a choice of wine, beer and spirits.
My table was laid with a cloth for lunch – I had asparagus and cheese tortellini in tomato and olive sauce, with a green salad and bread roll. The other option was cheese and mushroom-filled chicken breast with white wine risotto, while dessert was crème brûlée tart.
I really enjoyed the food, which was good quality and fresh. A second drink was offered, as well as tea and coffee.
Crew were polite and organised, and looked after us well, offering water regularly and, later on, further drinks, nuts, ice cream and an afternoon snack.
I spent the flight watching films, working and resting. If travelling overnight, the environment will be considerably quieter and more comfortable than in ten-across economy class.
We landed early at 1115 local time, with the IFE staying on until touchdown, and disembarked from the front. Immigration took ten minutes and baggage a further 15 minutes.
A very good premium economy product with excellent entertainment, good catering, attentive service and a comfortable seat (a little more spacious than those on Air Canada’s B787, which are 19.5 inches wide and have seven inches of recline).
A distinct cut above economy.
- DEPARTURE TIME 1005
- JOURNEY TIME 9 hours 30 minutes
- AIRCRAFT TYPE B777-300ER
- CONFIGURATION 2-4-2
- SEAT PITCH 38in/96.5cm
- SEAT WIDTH 20in/50.8cm
- SEAT RECLINE 8in/20.3cm
- PRICE Internet rates for a return flexible premium economy flight from London to Vancouver in September started from £1,404.
- CONTACT aircanada.co.uk