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Air Canada's A220 + 15 hours in Chicago (YYZ-YUL-ORD-IAD-YYZ on AC and UA)

Air Canada's A220 + 15 hours in Chicago (YYZ-YUL-ORD-IAD-YYZ on AC and UA)

Old May 25, 20, 11:17 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2015
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Air Canada's A220 + 15 hours in Chicago (YYZ-YUL-ORD-IAD-YYZ on AC and UA)

Background:
Back in November 2019 my roommate and I were discussing doing a day trip to try out Air Canada's new A220 which was set to enter service in early January 2020. We started searching itineraries on ITA matrix to find a combination of flights that would work for us. Initially we were looking to fly January 19th which was set to be the first weekend in service, but due to scheduling conflicts and the possibility of delays to the aircrafts introduction we decided on January 26th, the following week. We threw around several possible itineraries such as YYZ-YUL on the AC A220, and returning YUL-YYZ on Air Transat's 737, or even a multi leg trip with the first leg on the Air Canada A220 and then further stops in Ottawa and Halifax as well. When we went to book we thought maybe we should look at routings through the United States just to cover all the bases, and what we ended up finding was YYZ-YUL-ORD-YYZ. This routing would save us each $100 and we would have time for dinner in Chicago. A week before the flights we were able to confirm Air Canada eupgrades to business class for YYZ-YUL-ORD thanks to my Elite 50K status.

Original Routing:
AC404 YYZ-YUL 09:00-10:21 (A220)
AC7595 YUL-ORD 13:50-15:25 (E175)
UA391 ORD-YYZ 21:10-23:49 (B738)

To the Airport (Changes)

We left our apartment in Waterloo, Ontario at 6am in order to arrive at Pearson around 7, so we would have time to visit the maple leaf lounge and AC cafe, as well as get some pictures of the new A220. Before leaving we had noticed that there was a travel warning posted by AC due to the weather in Montreal and Chicago which constitutes free changes. While I drove my roommate looked through matrix to see if there were any cool changes we could make to our itinerary. He found one which would add an overnight in Chicago, with flights back to Toronto via Washington Dulles in the morning. Having Star Alliance Gold for the first time, a connection in Dulles to check out the Turkish and Lufthansa lounges seemed like a fun idea. We dialled up AC and were able to have the tickets reissued before we reached the airport.

Revised Routing:
AC404 YYZ-YUL 09:00-10:21 (A220)
AC7595 YUL-ORD 13:50-15:25 (E175)
UA2198 ORD-IAD 06:15-09:00 (A320)
AC7709 IAD-YYZ. 10:15-11:49 (E175)

Upon arrival in Mississauga, we parked at the short term park and fly lot, and went to wait for a shuttle to terminal 1. After waiting for about 10 minutes we gave up and decided to walk 10 minutes to the terminal as we didn't have any luggage.



Beautiful Mississauga

Upon arrival in the terminal we made our way to Air Canada's business class checkin area, where we were issued boarding passes for our first two flights. As we were unable to checkin online for our United flight the following morning we asked if the agent would be able to provide boarding passes, but unfortunately she was unable, but assured us our flights were ticketed properly.




After quick hop through security we were on our way up to Air Canada's domestic maple leaf lounge. While I didn't grab any pictures of the decor, the lounge hasn't changed much over the last 10 years, so it's definitely time for a refresh.


Advertisements for the A220 at the lounge elevators

There is a hot breakfast selection with eggs, sausages, and tater tots, as well as oatmeal and breads.

We made our way to AC's latest premium offering, the Air Canada cafe which is a full service coffee shop offering drinks, snacks, and sandwiches to enjoy in the cafe or to take away for your flight. Entrance to the cafe is granted with a business class ticket, Star Gold and Elite 50K/75K and Super Elite 100K. We enjoyed a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, and grabbed some chocolates and candies for the road.




Flight #1
AC404 YYZ-YUL
Airbus A220-300
Seat 1A

Upon leaving the cafe we found ourselves right across from our gate D20, and zone 1 was just beginning to board. We lined up and were able to be amongst the first onboard.


Air Canada branding in the aircraft entry

Upon reaching the aircraft we asked the service director about getting into the flight deck to take some pictures, and our request was happily granted. The A220 flight deck is incredibly sleek and seems like a real pilots aircraft. Placements made sense and were quite intuitive. The two pilots were very excited to show off their brand new toy, and answer our questions. It's great for us as new commercial pilots just entering the industry to ask questions and make connections.



After our tour upfront, I got settled into seat 1A. The first thing I noticed was the size of the PTV. They are quite large and the quality is very good. The system seems to be the same as the one on Air Canada's 737max, which is lightyears ahead of the other narrow body aircraft.



Water bottles and news papers were handed out, and there was already a small (low quality) pillow waiting on each seat in business class. This is standard AC service, as they have done away with the pre departure beverage other than water on non signature service flights. Normally I am not a fan of bulkhead seats in J class as I find they can sometimes have reduced legroom, but I had no issues with row 1 on the 220. That being said I am only 5'9.




We pushed back from D20 more or less ontime, and the flight attendants performed a live safety demo, as there was no safety video ready for the 220 at the time. These Pratt and Whitney engines are huge and take a LONG time to spool up on start. Thankfully on this warm(ish) January morning we were able to skip the deicing bay and taxi right out to runway 23 for departure. While taxiing we struck up a conversation with an A220 captain who was deadheading in the cabin. He told us that for the first few weeks of service they would have two crews on the aircraft, one flying and one deadheading and they would trade out after each leg. He would be taking the aircraft back to Toronto later in the morning.

Taxi out and takeoff from 23 was swift, and soon enough we were climbing into the soup on this 1 hour flight to Montreal. Thankfully it is always sunny above the clouds.



Once through 10,000ft the flight attendants jumped into action, as there is a full drink service in both cabins, as well as a hot meal served in J.


Air Canada's classic omelette

On this flight the choice of breakfast was omelette, omelette or omelette. I've been flying AC for quite some time now, and this was actually my first time trying it. I will say it wasn't bad, but I'm not sure it deserves the hype some people give it. Upon completion of the breakfast service we were already descending into Montreal. Much too short of a flight on this awesome aircraft. We joined the downwind leg for runway 24L and were once again back into the soup.

Touchdown was firm, but ill excuse the pilots as this was our FO's first time ever landing the real aircraft.



From 24L its a brief taxi in to the terminal in Montreal. We sat short of the gate for a few minutes for some airport plow crews, as it had been snowing quite heavily before our arrival.



Once on the gate we waited for everyone to deplane so we could grab a few pictures of the cabin before we disembarked. We thanked the cabin crew and the pilots and headed off into the terminal, to of course take more pictures.





Thanks for reading the first part of the report. There is much more adventure still to come!

Last edited by YHZ_Flyer; May 25, 20 at 4:02 pm
YHZ_Flyer is offline  
Old May 28, 20, 12:43 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
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The A220 flight deck is pretty impressive. I jump-seated on one before C19 on Delta. The crew really loved flying it. For me, flying the 757/767, I was rather envious of the panel!
757FO is offline  
Old May 29, 20, 6:35 pm
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Join Date: May 2020
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Nice pictures. Thanks for the post.
Det Ace is offline  
Old Jun 5, 20, 8:52 pm
  #4  
 
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I really like the pictures of this A220!
angeloedades is offline  
Old Sep 19, 20, 3:25 pm
  #5  
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Love the elegant look of the A220 J cabin
fly747first is offline  

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