Air Canada unveiled its new ‘Signature’ business class in late April 2018 on all international and long-haul domestic flights.
The Signature Service is Air Canada's new end-to-end premium travel experience, offered exclusively when flying to and from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and South America on board their mainline Boeing 787, 777 and 767 aircraft and their Airbus A330 aircraft.
Route: Brisbane - Vancouver
Flight duration: 14 hours
Aircraft: Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner
Checked baggage: Two pieces up to 32kg each
Class: Signature Class
Priority Check-in is quick and efficient, and the experience was even more seamless on the return leg, with a transfer desk at arrivals to check in luggage before riding the bus ride to the domestic terminal.
Air Canada Signature Class guests can use the new Air New Zealand Lounge at Brisbane Airport. Our flight was a morning one, so the well-stocked breakfast buffet was welcome, as was the self-serve coffee machine. At 9am the lounge was crowd-free and the wi-fi fast.
When it comes to long-haul flights it’s the seat that counts. The one-two-one configuration means everyone has aisle access. There is good storage space underneath the ottoman at the foot of your seat and handy compartments for water bottles, reading matter, phones and spectacles in the arm rests, where you’ll also find the remote control, headphone jack, USB and power adapter.
There’s no turn-down service, but controls are easy to use, converting the seat into a 203cm (six foot, seven inches) flat bed at one touch. You can adjust the firmness of the mattress, as well as the lumbar support and headrest height. The in-seat massage function got a good work-out during the 14-hour flight. Mattress cover and a light doona and large pillow are provided, along with slippers but no pyjamas, so if you are planning on sleeping for most of the flight (return flights depart Vancouver around midnight and arrive in Brisbane around 7.30am) consider packing something sleep-friendly in your cabin bag.
Amenity packs include the basics – socks, earplugs, eye mask (you’ll need them if you’re in row 1 near the brightly lit galley and bathroom), toothbrush, lip balm and hand cream by Vancouver-based aromatherapy brand, Vitruvi – you’ll find their products in the bathroom too, which also has a large window with a great view.
The large fixed-screen TV has a remote control as well as a touch-screen menu. There’s a variety of new releases with a wide range of language options – if you like French movies you’ll love the selection – as well as classics, binge-worthy TV series, audio books and podcasts, mostly on travel destinations. The save function means you can build a list to watch during the flight. The noise-cancelling headphones deliver crisp sound and the inflight map is displayed at the bottom of the screen, so you can check your progress without interrupting the show.
Service was professional, personable and unpretentious, with frequent passes throughout the cabin offering water and snacks, although it took a while for my call bell to be answered mid-flight.
Food and Beverage
Laurent-Perrier champagne was offered before takeoff, followed by full bar service with a signature cocktail made from bourbon, Sprite, ginger ale, maple syrup, and lemon and choice of Canadian and European wines, served in restaurant-sized stemless glassware. Lunch was served around an hour after takeoff – smoked salmon and caviar blinis, salad, choice of lamb rump, duck red curry, blackened barramundi or truffled pasta, followed by French cheese and dessert – and breakfast (omelette, ricotta pancakes or chicken pasta) an hour before landing.
Hot pastrami sandwiches, savoury pies, salads and ice cream were available on demand throughout the flight and there is help-yourself basket of fruit and packaged snacks at the front of the cabin beside the newspaper selection. Seated in 1A I was the last to be served and missed out on my preferred choice at breakfast, and nor were there any hot snacks left when I ordered around two-thirds of the way through the flight.
Air Canada flies daily between Brisbane and Vancouver, with dozens of onward connections throughout Canada and North America, and with new Signature Class with lie-flat seats being rolled out on select overnight trans-continental domestic flights across North America as of June 2018 and airport concierge services on arrival, it takes the hard-haul out of long-distance travel.