May 4, 2017

Air Canada ramps up 787 non-stops, but keep eye on WestJet

It's all Dreamliners on the Vancouver routes, but for the glorious Qantas Queen of the Skies 747

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Air Canada’s 787-9, beautiful from the outside, but rather compact within where you will be for 15 hours

Air Canada will have three non-stop Australia-Vancouver services over the Christmas-New Year peak leisure season at the end of this year, adding Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners on the Vancouver route four times weekly between December 3 and February 4, 2018.

The Canadian airline already has year around mostly 787 services to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane, in a semi-Dreamlinerathon which gathered momentum after Qantas scheduled much more comfortable 747-400s on the Sydney route more than two years ago.

Canada has surged into frame as a better value for money ski and year around holiday destination for Australia in recent years, and theoretically (since Qantas has not shown anything official about this) become a Jetstar destination at some time in the future.

It could be worth keeping an eye on the ambitions of the other Canadian flag carrier WestJet in the medium term, following its earlier decision this week to acquire 10 Dreamliners plus 10 options.

WestJet is headquartered in Calgary, the ski capital of Canada.

The possibility of two Canadian and two Australian brands divided between low cost and full service brands serving this market could firm in coming years, and Air Canada also has its Rouge leisure division with almost 50 jets in its fleet which appears hungry to find new opportunities for expansion.

The pleasure factor in the Australia-Canada non-stop market at the moment is the 747-400s that fly to Vancouver for Qantas. The 747 may be old, but it is configured with more amenable economy seats that the 787 alternative.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)


Leave a comment

8 thoughts on “Air Canada ramps up 787 non-stops, but keep eye on WestJet

  1. Creeper

    777LR from Sydney.

    1. J_sh

      A very good Y cabin when it was 3-3-3 but a degrading experience as 3-4-3. Not just for the passengers either but for the cabin crew whose workplace has been turned into the pits and who manage the stress by disengaging and just going through the motions. W is a bit better but is a pale imitation of decent Ws, and the fact that the disengaged Y attendants look after W doesn’t help.

    2. J_sh

      Unfortunately though Ben the Qantas supplemental only runs over the northern winter. Years ago when CP was newly part of AC the trans-Pacific flights were crewed by ex-CP staff based in Vancouver and one was telling me how the two cultures were quite different, AC having its Montreal based “Don’t give a damn stuff you” attitude from Quebecfois management which the western Canadians found quite unsettling. So Westjet came into being able to offer an alternative to capitalise on that dis-satisfaction with customers, as well as with ex-CP crew. It will be interesting to see if they offer a decent configuration, e.g. as do Virgin sticking with 3-3-3 on the B777s whereas AA have joined AC in 3-4-3.

  2. comet

    I used to fly Air Canada across the pacific from Vancouver.

    It was a good flight back then, on the 777ER with 9-across seating. I wide seat is not just good for fat people. For thin people, it gives you more wriggle room. And tilt room is important. Tilting allows you to get into a more loungie position, or to lean against the wall if you have a windows seat.

    Narrow seats force you into a very upright position, rubbing shoulders with the person next to you. You are more confined. You can’t change position very easily.

    But it’s also a very long flight from Vancouver to Australia. And do you really want to be in their new narrower seating for such a long trip?

    1. J_sh

      Like I’ve posted before rubbing shoulders is putting it mildly: More like pressing flesh from shoulders to elbow and hip bone to near the knee. Rubbing suggests a bit of wriggling going on but one is packed in far to tightly to do that, one is immobilised. And that was for me, pretty average myself sitting next to a thin young guy. And waiting for the lav I couldn’t avoid seeing the pained expression on a slim young woman in the bulkhead aisle seat as the big guy next to her rested his shoulders on her chest, right across to near her breast. And the poor woman in seat 28H right across the now very narrow aisle from the lav door, constantly having that opening and closing all night long with accompanying light, noises, and other sensory input. Funnily enough the lav queues were quite short but returning to one’s ultra narrow seat in the dark made settling back into the squish position very difficult, there being no room to push the seat belt to the side as one gets up, i.e. you end up sitting on the belt as one sits down and having to half stand up again and feel around for it, then hold the two bits forward to sit back down. We were in the middle of the row behind PE and my wife on the aisle continually had her knee bashed by the cart as the attendants maneuvered it out of PE back into Y and the geometry of the aisle being offset and the Y aisle being narrow made it impossible for them to do it cleanly. Doing the trip many times over the years was far better, esp on the classic 3-3-3 configuration but before that even via HNL on the A340, and the B767 (a tad more comfortable). Never again on any B777 in 3-4-3 across unless it was a shortish trip (say YYZ – YVR). The AC PE was very disappointing. Factor in the fact that the PE attendants are the same over-stressed and disengaged Y attendants the new PE experience is out about the same in the old Y 3-3-3, for about 60% more cost than before the near bankruptcy saw Air Canada convert itself into a low cost competitor as well as spinning off Rouge. It’s quite similar to how Qantas under GOD, and now under his protege Mr Joyce, is turning itself into a low cost competitor with Jetstar.

      Down the back anyway.

  3. Rais

    As more and more tourists are put off by the increasingly aggressive unpleasantness of US Immigration Aussie wanting a North American holiday may prefer to go to Canada instead. The Rockies, the Great Lakes, Niagara can all be visited in Canada and there are many other attractions exclusive to Canada. Mexico is just a few hours away and from there Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean is friendly and interesting.

    1. J_sh

      Korean will often have very good deals to YVR and their B777s are still classic 3-3-3 down the back.

  4. Arcanum

    On a related note, some of you may find this group interesting:
    If so, sign their petition and/or email your MP!

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details