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How does Air Canada's International Y compare?

How does Air Canada's International Y compare?

Old Feb 24, 2019, 3:19 pm
  #1  
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How does Air Canada's International Y compare?

So, we know Air Canada's international J product is competitive and many of us fly in the front at least some of the time.

How does Air Canada's standard economy compare to other products, particularly within Star Alliance? Think about seat pitch, layout, extra/food options. Long-haul Y is generally uncomfortable, of course.

Some thoughts -
  • UA has paid E+ options to increase the miserable 30" pitch on the AC 789s
  • LH and Swiss utilize Airbus aircraft (AC has several 333s I know) which have 2x4x2 options - which is less cramped
  • Swiss has an meal "upgrade" to get something a little better than standard airplane economy goop
  • ANA's Y has a much more generous pitch = 34" ... seems much nicer for trips to TYO
Any other commentary? Does anyone here actually fly international Y (not PY, completely different).
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Old Feb 24, 2019, 3:39 pm
  #2  
 
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Originally Posted by YXUFlyboy
So, we know Air Canada's international J product is competitive and many of us fly in the front at least some of the time.

How does Air Canada's standard economy compare to other products, particularly within Star Alliance? Think about seat pitch, layout, extra/food options. Long-haul Y is generally uncomfortable, of course.

Some thoughts -
  • UA has paid E+ options to increase the miserable 30" pitch on the AC 789s
  • LH and Swiss utilize Airbus aircraft (AC has several 333s I know) which have 2x4x2 options - which is less cramped
  • Swiss has an meal "upgrade" to get something a little better than standard airplane economy goop
  • ANA's Y has a much more generous pitch = 34" ... seems much nicer for trips to TYO
Any other commentary? Does anyone here actually fly international Y (not PY, completely different).
I can't comment on the TYO routes, but to PEK and HKG, I found AC's cabin crew reasonably ok. There are some grumps in there, but in general they do keep you hydrated and do walkthroughs of the cabin every once in a while checking on people. I do wish they would do more walkthroughs with snacks more often rather than a single or if you're lucky second pass with the noodles or even pretzels... Seat pitch is a little tight sometimes (and at that time, the people in front of me regret it)... I generally aim for the paired seats at the back of the bus. Even if I get banged up a bit more (something for improvement)

But to be honest, because of AC, I've trained myself to be a bit more self sufficient on ULH flights regardless of the airline (eg, bring some light snacks...my own bottle of water/whatever) for my creature comforts. Not horrendously so but It's one of those hope for the best, plan for the worst type things. Also taught me what foods can be edible in flight (eg, don't buy a fast food burger and expect it to be edible once it gets cold, the 6" subs I get out of YYZ aren't too bad for me as long as I manage how much sauce they put on them). Yes you can get snacks (and they do often leave a tray out with cookies...and on rare occasions, sandwiches), but for anything a bit more substantial, not likely.
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Old Feb 24, 2019, 7:18 pm
  #3  
 
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I travelled earlier this month on an emergency run to see my ill mother in London and managed to do it on aeroplan points. Flight was 25% full going to london and I did the daytime flight. After takeoff, breakfast and drinks / T&Cs. Same menu a a year ago - (frozen) breakfast of omelet or pancakes. Plenty of drink runs. and a sandwich before landing. IFE is not great and the same as 6 months ago. Returning a few days later, a hot "chicken" dish and the infamous wrap. Both on a 3-3-3 787-9 which was cramped. Having done the same flight on BA for the last 5 years, the AC product is way inferior. (I know it's not a Star Alliance Comparison)
With BA, a separate drinks service first, 2/3 choices including a cheese course, plus a choice of reds and white, an ice cream mid flight and a second meal means that AC is now behind their main competitor on this route. AC really need to innovate and change the offering - from the Op above, it sounds like they're falling behind the rest of the alliance
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Old Feb 24, 2019, 7:35 pm
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Don't like it one bit, but have done a bit of TATL in Y over the past couple of years.

DL ... Y hard product seems about the same as AC in terms of overall space and comfort, but DL offers the opportunity to upgrade to E+ and enjoy more legroom at minimal cost. Soft product simply crushes AC, with consistently better food and wine, equal or better service, substantially better OTP. DL's A350 product in Y is actually not too bad at all, and significantly better than anything in the AC fleet. Downside to all DL travel is required US connection, although it can negate a morning connection in Europe depending on route.

KL ... Hard product about the same as AC, although once again more legroom is available for small incremental cost (generally bringing the ticket cost in line with AC Flex). Soft product clearly beats AC's offering with better food comparable wine, consistently better service, significantly better OTP.

EI ... The A330 hard product is probably equal to AC in the case of EI's newer aircraft, and close but but not quite on older airframes. Service about the same as AC, similar food and beverages. OPT substantially better than AC. Crews inevitably polished and friendly to a fault.

And like Forrect Gump, that's all I got to say about that.
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Old Feb 24, 2019, 7:38 pm
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Having flown AC INTL Y a couple of times (not something I'm particularly proud of) and having flown on a number of other * airlines long haul international in Y I can say that AC Y is ok.

The positives for me are:
  • AC pilots seems to use the stay seated sign less than the UA ones allowing me to roam around the cabin more
  • The inclusion of full size kitkat bars, none of these mini nonsense you often find on UA long haul flights
  • Access to the MLLs (presumably) if I'm flying ex-Canada which are better than the Dom UCs
  • Better check-in experience at YYZ - dedicated set of desks for us UA Gold SEs like myself. For UA and LH, you'll be lucky if there's an extra lane open for J/*Gold
The downsides for me are:
  • Lack of E+ seating for elites travelling in any fare class - I've been on UA long haul flights and a good over-wing E exit seat on say a 777 allows you to take a window seat where you can stretch your legs out fully and still have enough space to get out of your seat and into the aisle without waking anyone up!
  • Lack of wifi on aircraft - I've been on 3 AC long haul INTL flights over the last year and none had them (LHR>YYZ, YYZ>MAN and YYZ>DXB)
  • Frequency of food service is not as good as on other carriers. IRC my flight from YYZ to DXB had a full meal service initially then a light meal prior to landing. I don't know about you but that seems a bit light for a 13+ hour flight. If this were UA, I would have gotten 2 full meals and a mini meal for a similar flight
  • Limited booze selection - even UA on TATL flights has a decent selection of craft beer in addition to Molson American and other domestic beers
  • No free same day changes (SDCs) on AC flights in any fare class. OTOH UA gives their Gold elites (and higher) free SDCs (so long as they aren't basic economy)
  • Lack of cheap upgrades to J (UA is notorious for selling INTL upgrades for a couple hundred USD and has a variety of other options including milage upgrades
As for IFE I couldn't care much either way - I get prefer to use my iPad/laptop whilst travelling anyways. As for food, I've yet to travel on any airline in Y and say, "this food is amazing" they're all pretty bland, high caloric utility foods meant to provide you with the sustenance of life whilst preventing flatulence.

Overall, would I fly AC again? It really depends on what my needs are and the fare. For instance, I'm flying LHR>LAX next month. AC and UA were around the same price yet AC required a stop in YYZ and had all of the accompanying disadvantages - hence I choose UA. OTOH in September when I was travelling to the UK to begin my studies, AC Rogue was the better option since I was only travelling with 2 pieces of luggage and would prefer to have the non-stop flight especially for a "domestic" international flight like that.

Safe Travels,

James
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 10:03 am
  #6  
 
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I've mostly flown AC transpacific, plus once on China Eastern and Hainan. Overall, AC crews were fine and friendly. The competition had better hard products. I will be flying with EVA and Singapore soon next month, looking forward to see if they live up to the hype.
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 10:20 am
  #7  
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Lets assume no status to make it a fair comparison. AC Y scrapes the bottom when it comes to international Y. Some aircraft are better than other. The seats are tight both in shoulder and leg room. Tighter than most competition. Crew is at best disinterested, at worst angry to be doing their job. Food is borderline inedible.

I flew two segments on QR, two on EK, two on DL last year without any status in longhaul Y - All three were infinitely better experiences than my 2 AC Y flights (and thats as a Star Gold).
I did get op-up'ed up on two other AC Y flights to PY, which was nice - but even AC PY was subpar, and I cant imagine spending extra money on it over Y.

But lets face it, AC Y - the price is right. Tickets are cheap to fill in the planes, especially TPAC and/or out of the USA. At that price point - one seriously cant expect anything but rock bottom?
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 10:44 am
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AC is often cheap in Y ... but so are DL, UA, BA, AF, KL, WS, EI .... most of which offer a better product for roughly the same money.
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 10:59 am
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Not very good. But for the majority of the people travelling in Y, they probably think its ok. Thats why AC can sell those seats.
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 12:52 pm
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The big European and Asian carriers, BA, LH, KLM, CX, JAL/ANA etc will have much better Y meals. The meal service on AC is at the bottom of the barrel, particularly when flying Canada -> Europe. I am especially amused by their "breakfast" service on transatlantic routes, which was a single, frozen (literally) slice of banana bread. Nothing else was provided, no fruit, no yogurt, no bread, no butter.
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by newcdn
The big European and Asian carriers, BA, LH, KLM, CX, JAL/ANA etc will have much better Y meals. The meal service on AC is at the bottom of the barrel, particularly when flying Canada -> Europe. I am especially amused by their "breakfast" service on transatlantic routes, which was a single, frozen (literally) slice of banana bread. Nothing else was provided, no fruit, no yogurt, no bread, no butter.
One of the first moved Ben Smith wants to do at AF is enhance the Y class meal experience to focus on premium cabins. Sound familiar?

(La bonification des cabines suprieures devraient se faire)au dtriment de la classe conomique, dont le service devrait tre par ailleurs rduit.
[...]
La diffrence de service avec la classe conomique sera beaucoup plus marque qu'elle ne l'est aujourd'hui.
https://www.latribune.fr/entreprises...on-804782.html
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 4:53 pm
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Originally Posted by newcdn
frozen (literally) slice of banana bread.
The "banana bread" is legendary! I would love to see the expiry date on that thing (if it even has one)
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Old Feb 25, 2019, 5:00 pm
  #13  
 
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Originally Posted by newcdn
The big European and Asian carriers, BA, LH, KLM, CX, JAL/ANA etc will have much better Y meals. The meal service on AC is at the bottom of the barrel, particularly when flying Canada -> Europe. I am especially amused by their "breakfast" service on transatlantic routes, which was a single, frozen (literally) slice of banana bread. Nothing else was provided, no fruit, no yogurt, no bread, no butter.
Be fair they also pair it with a drink service



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Old Feb 25, 2019, 10:24 pm
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I'm a fairly big guy, 5'10" and quite heavy. I find TATLs in Y on AC metal tolerable, if, and only if, you get the right aircraft. AC's timetable is optimized to try and pack you into the sardine seating on one of their 777 or 787s. You want to do the opposite of this, and opt for a 333 or 767 instead.

Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've always found AC crews to be at least pleasant, and often quite jovial. LH and LX FAs are also friendly but a bit more polished in presentation.

Foodwise I've found everything almost equally unremarkable. AC's mystery pasta has actually been the best of the bunch as far as entrees go; in particular I remember LH catering ex-YYZ as being surprisingly poor.

I'm confessedly confused why AC doesn't offer sparkling water; it sounds trivial, but Sprudelwasser and Apfelschorle are things I look forward to when I'm on LH.

Also mystified as to where the Monty's lattice pastries that you used to get on AC disappeared to -- I would have paid real money for the Spinach & Feta ones at a supermarket. Now you either get the wraps, which aren't as good...or worse yet, the 'spice bread'. LX shorthaul handed out broccoli quiche, which would also be a good stand-in here...even the EW box sandwiches are better.


Originally Posted by rankourabu
The "banana bread" is legendary! I would love to see the expiry date on that thing (if it even has one)
Come on, I'm sure they take the banana bread slices out of the packages and wash them every couple of months to keep them fresh.
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Old Feb 26, 2019, 12:19 am
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I am largely aircraft dependent when looking at long haul flights.

1. Will never fly the 777 HD's if I can help it. Just plain uncomfortable (5'11" bigger guy). I'll take longer routes and connections to avoid them
2. 767 and 787 is ok for AC (never flown Rouge, so can't comment on that)
3. In general, food is not very good on any of the airlines, but TK seems to be fairly palatable. Depending on when/where I am going through customs, I will sometimes pack a nice meat/cheese tray and other misc snacks. I remember almost getting mugged once coming on board a yyz-yvr flight with very hot pizza after a long day of flying, I got many envious glares as I walked down the aisle and the cabin smelled like hot pizza

Other *A carriers
1. For TPAC (based in Vancouver), I will sometimes go through LAX/SFO/DEN/SEA to avoid a 777, I don't mind the UA 747's (been a few years) and the 787, NH seems to be very doable, but have only done a connecting 6 hr flight with them
2. For TATL, if the routing/price works, I'll take TK when I can, depending on time of year I'll go with with UA and AC is lower on the list
3. Trying LH for the first time April on the way back in PY, hopefully will take a peak at Y.


Originally Posted by rankourabu
The "banana bread" is legendary! I would love to see the expiry date on that thing (if it even has one)
I think you mean half-life, not expiry date
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Last edited by purelywasted; Feb 26, 2019 at 12:25 am
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