I was heading to Japan over Memorial Day weekend, 2023, and this was my positioning flight for my ANA business class flight to Tokyo. I had many options to book as my starting destination on the West Coast. However, I chose this Air Canada Jazz business class flight because it gave me a nice long connection in Vancouver, so I could sample the delights of the Maple Leaf Lounge.
Overall, this was probably one of the best CRJ flights I’ve had, which isn’t saying much as I hate flying on CRJs. But this was tolerable. However, the flight did have some great upsides and opened my eyes to how good Air Canada can be. The crew was excellent, energetic, friendly, and easy to chat with. The Wi-Fi was stable and effective, and the IFE was simply brilliant. Throw in some super delicious food, and I was impressed!
That being said, some downsides still existed, including the plane looking old and tired. All in all, I would still try to avoid a CRJ, but this was the best I’ve ever seen. Hats off to Air Canada for pulling that off.
One of the craziest things about this trip was that finding the flight in SFO was difficult. The departure gate was not displayed properly on any electronic board, app, or at the airport. I got lucky by wandering around Concourse G at SFO until I found the plane.
Booking Air Canada Jazz Business Class Ticket
This was not a last-minute booking, which I can often end up doing. Instead, I booked this about two weeks in advance of my trip. I was very fortunate as it’s generally difficult to find award availability in May and June.
When searching for my trip to Japan, I saw on Aeroplan availability on several Air Canada flights from SFO that connected the same day to a single ANA seat available on the daily YVR-HND turn, ANA115.
I saw this particular flight earlier in the week, but it then disappeared before I pulled the trigger. However, a few days later, it reappeared. I didn’t hesitate and booked immediately. I had two choices, I could book from Vancouver to Tokyo in Business for 55,000 points plus taxes and fees. Or from San Fransico to Vancouver, then onwards to Tokyo.
Either way, I would have to position from New York to San Francisco or to Vancouver. After some permutations, I chose this flight from San Fransico since it would work best with my plan.
The Ground Experience
I arrived from my connecting flight into SFO Terminal C, although instead of visiting the Air Canada Lounge, I went to the Delta SkyClub in Concourse C. This is where things took an odd turn. I checked the app and saw that the next flight was departing from Concourse G, but with no gate indicated. I then checked the flight status at the airport and online. But no actual Gate was ever indicated.
I knew my plane was not a mythical being. I even watched the plane land from the SFO Delta SkyClub in the C Concourse. But still, no gate indicated!
I started checking screens; there were multiple departures for Air Canada flights; some were from Concourse C, and some were from Concourse G. I had no idea where I was supposed to go. Finally, I took a gamble and just went to the gates at G concourses, where, thankfully, I found my flight.
I went to the agent and picked up boarding passes for both of my flights. The agents were super friendly and even advised me not to visit the Air Canada lounge as a new one would be opening soon.
Lounge and Boarding
After being advised to skip the Air Canada lounge since a new one would be opening soon (it’s open now), I opted for the Delta Sky Club at San Fransico, which delivered.
Air Canada Jazz Business Class Boarding
The boarding was quick and seamless, even though I was one of the last people to board in Business class. The boarding started a little late at around 11:35, but it was over soon enough, and you could tell the gate and its area was massively oversized for the tiny plane.
While it was clear the plane was tired and had seen better days, the ground crew definitely was not. They were excellent, with a brilliant sense of humor. I was jokingly called a spy when boarding after they saw how many images I was taking.
The Air Canada Jazz Business Class Cabin and Seats
The cabin has the usual Air Canada Red, black, and Gray interior. Looking around in detail, it was clear this was an old and tired plane, just as I had suspected. That being said, the gray leather seats were very comfortable.
The business class section was configured in a One-Two formation with a single seat on the port (left) side of the plane. Overall it was comfortable for a CRJ.
I never used the bathroom on this short flight, so I did not take any pictures.
Air Canada Jazz Business Class Seat 4A
The bottom line the CRJs feel like an upgraded Regional Jet experience. However, it still has its positives.
The seat had good window alignment and seemed to have plenty of under-seat storage, where I stowed my suitcase.
In the back of the seat in front of me was a fully functional TV screen with the IFE. There was a USB Port to the left of the TV, and a power port to the right side.
On one armrest near the Window, there was a small cupholder. On the opposite side is the tray table stowed in the armrest. The tray table folds in two parts and, fortunately, was stable and supported on the other side when fully deployed.
The seat controls are very limited this is a tiny plane, after all. The seat reclines a little but is not a lie-flat seat. There is also a footrest, I didn’t try it but a unique feature on this flight.
I was offered a set of headphones. But chose not to take them since I would not be using them.
The Amenity Kit
No amenity kit was offered on this flight.
Air Canada Jazz Business Class Inflight Entertainment & Wi-Fi
First, I must say that it’s really cool to see an IFE system on a CRJ; that’s a first for me. The screen is 9-10” and touch-enabled with support for multiple languages. You can find movies, TV, Audio, About Us, and the Kids section in the menu.
The selection of movies was good and up to date. I appreciate how Air Canada keeps its IFE as the best in the airline business on all kinds of planes. There was also an inflight map that displayed the plane’s position along with other useful information.
My only gripe with the IFE is the system itself was very slow to load and operate. Not only did you have to wait for items to load, but also, moving between menu items in the interface was slow. However, it was working, which is important on a CRJ.
Air Canada Jazz Business Class Wi-Fi
You have a couple of options to purchase Wi-Fi packages. You can purchase a package for the duration of the flight for 1,200 Aeroplan points. Alternatively, you can purchase 30 min package for 650 points.
I mistakenly purchased two 30-minute packages instead of the better-value package for the whole flight. Having said that, I found the connection to be stable, smooth, and fast when using it.
The flight was incredible. The crew and pilot were incredibly friendly and provided excellent service. From start to finish, the flight and crew were a joy. Although we were slightly delayed, we eventually got underway, taking off to the Northeast over San Fransico Bay. Before long, we were heading north, cruising over central California. Just before departure, I was offered the choice between Champagne and Orange Juice, I chose OJ.
The flight attendant came around as the plane was still boarding and offered the in-flight menu. Air Canada offers a simple two-sided, one-sheet menu on the CRJ. However, we’d still get a three-course meal on this regional flight.
During the taxi, the flight attendant came around and individually greeted all passengers in Business Class. Also took all lunch orders and drink orders for the flight before returning and asking if I needed anything else. I found the service exceptionally attentive.
Air Canada Jazz Business Class Meal Service
First up, we were served coffee, and I also received roasted salted almonds in a small packet as a snack. Then, the Meal service came out all at once, with three plates on a single tray.
Even though this is a small plane, everything was served on proper ceramic tableware, with metal utensils and a napkin. On this flight, the menu included:
- Appetizer: Heritage Mix Salad, Julienne Apples, Pomegranate Seeds
- Main Course: Vegetable Paella or a Chicken Tagine; I chose the Vegetable Paella, which came with Red Peppers, Green Beans, Peas, Tomatoes, and Olives.
- Dessert: Carrot Cake (I didn’t try this)
- Butter and olive oil as condiments.
Overall, the food was good, but not great. As I sit here eating, I’m unsure how to describe this food and a little lost for words. It is decent and good but not amazing or great, but neither is it tasteless or bland. Would I eat it again? Yes, would I ask for it again? Probably not! However, it did Beat my expectations, which were nonexistent for a CRJ flight.
The crew kept an endless supply of fresh coffee coming my way, and I received regular refills. Once, I asked for a coffee refill, and rather than give me old, stale coffee., The attendant made a whole new pot and served me five minutes later. What fantastic service!
Arrival at Vancouver YVR
The approach and landing in Vancouver were uneventful. However, if you are a fan of the views, you want a seat on the right-hand side of the plane to get the city’s best views.
We pulled into gate 82, which finally allowed me to take some good snaps of the aircraft. Like its sister airport in Montreal, Vancouver has a great airy, open feel that I love. Eventually, I made my way to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge to wait for my connection to Tokyo.
At the end of the day, this was probably one of the best CRJ flights I’ve had, which isn’t saying too much as I hate flying on CRJs. The crew and service were amazing, and the Wi-Fi was stable and effective. And the flight even had an IFE system. Plus, the fight was very smooth, with an endless supply of delicious coffee.
However, I don’t think I’ll fly a CRJ again if I can avoid it, even though I really enjoyed this flight! I would still try to avoid CRJ, but this was the best I’ve ever seen – kudos to Air Canada for pulling that off. I think now that I’ve experienced several Air Canada flights, they’re definitely a fantastic airline in North America.
- AC crews were a surprise – great energy, very friendly, and easy to chat with
- Comfortable CRJ cabin in Business Class.
- Full IFE on a CRJ! Wow, that’s impressive.
- Wi-Fi was stable and effective.
- Excellent level of service – with paper menus, proper utensils and ceramic ware, and a three-course meal.
- Food was decently good, not great or amazing, but not tasteless or bland either. Beat my expectations for a CRJ flight.
- Crew didn’t take coats upon boarding.
- The plane was quite old and tired-looking