Flight AC34 Sydney-Vancouver
THE LOYALTY PROGRAM
Aeroplan, with points also accumulated in the programs of other Star Alliance airlines.
Premium economy seat, 14K
2 p.m., 30 mins
CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSION
2.42 tons. Air Canada offers a carbon offset facility for passengers in partnership with Canadian company Less Emissions (see www.less.ca)
Air Canada flies daily from Sydney to Vancouver.
Passengers are required to wear a mask. We receive a kit containing disinfectant and a spare mask, as well as equipment. Note that some arriving passengers may be selected to undertake a random COVID-19 test after arrival and will be notified by email of the procedure.
At the entrance to the check-in counters there is a first check of COVID-era passenger documents – so have ready printouts/screenshots of your international vaccine certificate, ETA issued by the Canada and the ArriveCAN app. Beyond this point, there is a dedicated counter for premium economy class passengers. The staff are efficient and smiling, especially since I arrived at the unholy hour of 5:30 am, four hours before the flight departure time.
Premium Economy seats are arranged in a 2-4-2 formation on this Boeing 777. There are only three rows in this class, with bulkheads forward and aft. My seat has a width of 51 cm (20 inches) and a pitch of 94 cm (37 inches). Since the armrests are fixed, the seat is a bit snug, although there is plenty of shoulder room. It is also very firm. For comparison, the economy seats on this aircraft are spread over 10 with a seat width of 43 cm (17 inches) and a pitch of 79 cm (31 inches), so the premium economy offers significantly more personal space ; although my zone still feels restricted when the front passenger fully reclines his seat.
Checked baggage is up to two bags weighing 23 kg each. For cabin baggage, you can take one piece of hand baggage and one personal item.
The selection of onboard entertainment is good, with recent films such as Licorice Pizza and Belfastand TV shows ranging from the sci-fi series station eleven to costume drama Golden age (I look at the recent Matrix continuation of the film and I regret it, but it passes the time). Audio entertainment covers various musical genres, as well as audiobooks and podcasts. In-flight Wi-Fi is available for a price, across a range of speeds and durations, from C$8.75 for an hour of light browsing, to C$30.75 for a single-speed all-flight pass. which supports streaming. There are also all-day options that extend to other Air Canada flights.
The service is akin to that of business class, efficient and attentive. The crew is quick to introduce themselves at the start of the flight and offer a welcome drink. Throughout the flight, they deliver meals and answer questions with speed and positivity.
The first meal of the flight is an early breakfast, with a choice of chicken stir-fry over hokkien noodles or hickory pork stew with mashed potatoes. The chicken is awesome, hot and flavorful. The dessert is a slice of caramel mud. Food is served on crockery with the ever-popular metal cutlery and glassware for drinks. I order a glass of bubbly and offer a silent toast to the return of long-distance travel after the lean years. Halfway through the flight we have a chicken caesar wrap and a cookie. Before our morning arrival in Vancouver, we enjoy a choice of breakfast (although we revert to all-plastic dishes and utensils for some reason): a savory option with egg and sausage, or waffles with compote strawberries.
ONE MORE THING
One of Air Canada’s main advantages in Vancouver is the one-stop nature of travel, avoiding the need to clear customs at a US airport before boarding a flight to Canada. Onward transfers from Vancouver to other Canadian cities are simple.
A relatively comfortable way to cross the Pacific and a step up from the economy.
OUR SCORE OUT OF FIVE
Tim Richards traveled courtesy of Destination Canada and received an upgrade from Air Canada.
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