Let’s see, I have some kind of love-hate relationship with Air Canada. First of all, they are kind of monopolistic in the Canadian market resulting in high fares between Vancouver and Toronto, 2 major cities in the west and east of Canada. And they have 10-abreast seating on the 777-300ERs when Cathay Pacific uses a 9-abreast seating in the Economy class. But I did enjoy their Embraer regional jet service between San Francisco and Vancouver. While I did find their service to be consistently good in most flights I have taken, they do not provide much in terms of frequent flyer benefits or mileage earning opportunities compared to other North American airlines and neither are they as polished as the Asian-based airlines. To put it plainly, they are just an average airline at best.
But it seems that will change with the introduction of the 787 Dreamliner which is expected to join Air Canada’s fleet in spring 2014. According to them, the 787 will initially serve routes between Canada and Europe and certain domestic flights before permanently flying between Toronto to Tel Aviv in July. And by 2019 (that certainly is a long wait…) they should have 37 of these jets in fleet.
The main surprise in their 787 is how they manage to fit a whole new international business class cabin that is similar to Cathay Pacific’s, which coincidentally won the best business class seat award in 2012. A video of the new international business class cabin on the 787 can be seen here:
In addition, they will also have a pretty good Premium Economy cabin with seats that seems similar to what British Airways and Qantas uses for their Premium Economy cabins on the 777-300ERs and A380s respectively. The Premium Economy cabin is arranged in 2-3-2 configuration, which is great since Cathay Pacific fits a 2-4-2 configuration on their 777 Premium Economy cabin. The 777 is a bit wider than the 787 though so the seat width for both should be similar. And being a fan of Cathay Pacific’s Premium Economy cabin, I would give Air Canada a thumbs up for that.
Meanwhile the Economy class remains a laggard in this respect since Air Canada has chosen to fit 9 seats across in a 3-3-3 configuration. Do note that Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines fits 9 seats across on the 777 and the 777 is a larger plane. The seat and cabin design on Air Canada’s website does look pretty neat though, so hopefully the real life version will look as good! And since I have not taken a 787 plane ride yet, Air Canada’s 787 might just be the first one I board!