Air Canada is running a daily 787 Dreamliner service from/ to Toronto and San Francisco. I was curious how it would stack up against the competition.
The flight was originally scheduled for 10.50 PM but was moved to 10.30 PM a few days before my flight. I had no trouble checking in online and get a boarding pass with TSA PreCheck on it. However, it mentioned document check and I stopped by the deserted Air Canada check-in counter at The San Francisco International Terminal to avoid potential drama at the gate later.
Air Canada includes access to the United Club with the flight (unlike United would do). However, the United Club is a drab affair with just a few snacks and a small drink selection. It’s quiet though and better than nothing but if you have access the two excellent Priority pass restaurants and the American Express Centurion lounge are the better choices (and you do not even need to clear security again).
Boarding started right on time and just past 10 PM everyone had boarded. Business Class was completely full and everyone seemed to be in a hurry to get settled in. The whole plane appeared new and very clean. The seats itself seemed in an immaculate setup.
Air Canada uses a seat design that many airlines have adopted. It’s similar to the United 757 lie-flat a flew last year.
To my surprise, the seat would not recline fully but instead stop at about 165 degrees angle. I was shocked – why go through all that trouble and install such beautiful seats that take (almost) as much room as lie-flat seats but not let it all flat?
Flying time was announced to be just under 4 hours – a very short journey due to good winds. I would have wanted an extra long flying time to get more sleep.
After a fast takeoff, we set a course east. There was no dinner service but the flight attendants asked if they should wake me for breakfast. I declined so the whole ‘service’ for this flight was a short interaction and a bottle of water.
To my surprise, I barely noticed the angled lie-flat setting once asleep and had enough space to turn. Since airplanes are tilted upwards at a few degrees during the cruise the remaining angle is likely just around 10 degrees. There is no way to sleep on your stomach but if you sleep on your back you won’t slide down.
The high-quality, warm blanket also helped to get proper rest quickly.
I was barely conscious during the landing, it was a cold and windy day in Toronto.
In sum, this was a lovely routine flight. I really appreciated the opportunity to get some quality sleep – it was deep solid sleep as well. Air Canada uses a high-quality product for these ‘domestic’ flights that is on par with what American and United have.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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