Boarding was scheduled at 6:20 but started at past 6:30, which was about the time I reached the gate. There was not a good view of the plane from the gate, but this plane had the new Air Canada livery which I thought was a step back.
AC551 Los Angeles LAX – Vancouver YVR
Airbus A321-200 C-FGKZ
Gate 59B Seat 4A to 4C
Another lady with her mum was apparently seated in my seat as I came onboard. I guess that is one reason to board earlier. Not wanting to separate them, I just took the seat 4C, since this was not my first time flying between Los Angeles and Vancouver.
Seats are in 2-2 configuration spread over 4 rows. On the seat was a small pillow. Legroom was good with a legrest fitted at the base. As I settled down on my seat, the lead stewardess, Michelle offered to hang my jacket.
Old entertainment system meant small screens even though the plane has the new livery. Perhaps Air Canada should re-look at what is important to passengers and re-furbish their ageing interiors instead of spending them on the outside look which has no big problem in the first place.
Bottled water and personal headsets was distributed after boarding was completed. With the full flight there is always the issue of a lack of overhead baggage space. That meant some delay in moving some hand luggage to the emptier overhead bins on Business Class. A total of 2 empty seats on Business class today meant the experience in Business class is slightly better than in other North American airlines.
Safety video was shown as we started pull back. The plane proceeded with the taxi to the run way at 7:15am, while I started watching A Star is Born. For those not interested in watching a movie on the small screen, Air Canada’s inflight magazine EnRoute is pretty interesting to read. It was quite a long taxi to the runway as we took off under partially cloudy skies.
Menu was distributed by lead stewardess once we were cruising in the air. There was a choice of the omlette or the healthy option of just fruits and yogurt.
Hot towels were then distributed by the other stewardess. Meal service started from the front at around 7:45 though the lead stewardess did ask elite members about their choice of meal first.
After serving me the omelette I was offered bread from the basket as my drink order was taken. Omelette is not bad and enjoyable with the sweet red pepper relish. The chicken sausage, though, just felt weird and the presentation of the dish was terrible. For some reason while Air Canada tries hard to potray a premium airline image, I never had a good meal at all.
Coffee was offered afterwards and the stewardess serving the Business cabin was very friendly today. However she did hurt her hand and that delayed her from collecting my tray.
Slept a bit after the meal service as the early morning departure was tiring indeed, and I was awoken only on the announcement of descent about 30 minutes prior to landing.
Beautiful weather greeted passengers in Vancouver with sunshine as we descended into YVR. This is one reason why I liked this city and United States/International arrivals was efficient in terms of immigration and baggage claim, allowing me to meet up with my friend even before he landed on the domestic side.
Compared to my last flight review with Air Canada on a West Coast route which was operated by the Embraer jet, the A321 was just slightly more comfortable in affording more luggage space. However, I would not consider it to be that much better compared to other airlines flying smaller regional jets on these routes, especially when Air Canada’s catering is below par.