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Air Canada Signature Business Class Review A220-300 Montreal Canada YUL to New York LGA

September 5, 2023
Osman Dadi
the final leg of my exceptional trip on Air Canada form Asuncion to New York La Guardia, and it was as brilliant as ever.
From
Montreal Canada YUL
To
New York LaGuardia LGA
Duration
1h20m
Via
Air Canada
Seat(s)
3F
Points Used
92,300 Aeroplan Points
Cash Spent
CAD $145 (USD $110)

Having just experienced long haul Air Canada Signature Business Class from Sao Paulo Brazil to Montreal Canada in the B787-900, I was looking forward to sampling the delights of Air Canada on the shorter, last leg of my trip back home from Asuncion to New York.

Although I had never flown Air Canada on this route before before, I was very pleasantly surprised across the board. Even on this very short flight, some great features remain, like a full-service breakfast on a substantially smaller aircraft.

Air Canada Business Class seats
Air Canada A220-300 Signature Business Class seats

After my experience on this route and the fact that cash tickets can be found at a relatively good deal of $330 or so in Business Class, I wonder why I bother paying Delta for flights on this route.

Booking an Air Canada Business Class Ticket

Booking was straightforward, although a little on the expensive side. My return Journey from Asuncion ended up costing 92,300 Aeroplan points and CAD 145 ($110) and involved the following three legs.

I described the process in greater detail in my Air Canada Business class review from Sao Paulo to Montreal. Including how I had to rebook due to a change in plan, which substantially boosted the price.

Montreal Canada YUL Ground Experience

The ground experience in Montreal was rushed and tight. I had just come off my ACA097 flight from GRU Sao Paulo. I had made plans to have a leisurely for 2 hours and 30 minutes, hopefully permitting enough time to try and review the Maple Leaf Lounge on the US border side of the airport. However, this did not pan out as planned due to delays at the US Border Control.

Waiting for US border services to open at Montreal Canada YUL
Waiting for US border services to open at Montreal Canada YUL

I used every second or time I had to connect and catch my flight to La Guardia.

U.S. Border Delay

After a long walk from my flight, I arrived at the US border only to find that the security and screening facility only opened at 7 a.m. So, I had to wait half an hour for it to do so.

These preclearance areas often found in Canadian Airports mean you are clearing US security and Immigration on the Canadian side of the border. However, there are a couple of other destinations in the Caribbean, as well as Dublin, Shannon, and Abu Dhabi. Going through these preclearance facilities means when you arrive in the US, it is as if you are coming in off a domestic flight, with no need for immigration.

Unfortunately, even though it just opened, the crossing was very congested, possibly because the transfer entry and security lane feeds into the same Border Crossing Zone as those used by main Canadian immigration lanes.

The way to the gate in the USA transit zone at Montreal Canada YUL
The way to the gate in the USA transit zone at Montreal Canada YUL

Ultimately, it took until 7:40 a.m. to clear immigration and security, leaving little time to do anything else but head to the gate to catch my flight.

I lost so much time crossing that even though gate G77 is next to the security. I did not even have time to take pictures of the aircraft at the gate.

Boarding

Boarding began at 7:50 a.m. with those traveling with children and the elderly. Soon, it was business class passengers and others in Group 1.

Boarding
Boarding

I was luckily the second to board, and also requested of the passenger in front of me that I pass through to take images of the aircraft. Fortunately, he graciously obliged.

Air Canada Aircarft door
Air Canada A220-300 aircraft door

The lead flight attendant greeted all passengers and checked in Business Class passengers as well. And because of my early boarding, I was fortunate to be able to get amazing images of the Business Class and Economy Cabins.

The Air Canada Business Class Cabin and Seats

At first glance, the Air Canada A220-300 has a beautiful business-class cabin with a very open and spacious feel. Just like the previous flight, it featured beautiful, classy black, red, grey, and warm wood tones.

Air Canada A220-300 Business Class seat 3F
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class seat 3F

It is worth noting that the Air Canada business class cabin was prepared beautifully, with attention to detail. Although the business class cabin really shines, the economy section looked equally comfortable in a 3+2 seat configuration.

Air Canada A220-300 Business Class cabin
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class cabin

A couple of things stood out. The first was the giant TV screen and complex IFE system. The second is how clean and well-maintained the aircraft’s interior looked.

Air Canada A220-300 Economy Class cabin
Air Canada A220-300 Economy Class cabin

Air Canada Business Class Bathroom

The Air Canada business class bathroom was elegant and very spacious, with tons of room. It featured the same maple leaf décor and motif found on the larger wide-body Boeing B789. This bathroom was possibly bigger than the smaller business-class bathroom on the B789. And unlike the smaller bathroom, it came with a fold-down table.

Air Canada A220-300 Business Class Bathroom
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class Bathroom
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class Bathroom Table
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class Bathroom Table

Seat 3F: Air Canada Business Class

The seat on this aircraft is widespread on the A220s I have been on. I’ve seen it used on Delta and Salam Air, among other airlines. However, this is the best implementation I’ve seen by far!

Air Canada A220-300 Business Class seating
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class seating

The seat has two and a half windows, which are aligned perfectly for viewing out of them, and you also get a good view of the engine. Perhaps Rows 2 or Row 1 would have an even better view, with a full view of the engine turbine blade.

Air Canada A220-300 Business Class seat 3F
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class seat 3F

In the back of the seat in front of you is a giant TV screen around 15-16 inches, which can be adjusted for pitch to give you an excellent viewing angle.

Air Canada A220-300 Business Class IFE
Air Canada A220-300 Business Class IFE

Below the seat in front of you is a footrest, which is unique to Air Canada since I have never seen it on another carrier before.

Air Canada's A220-300 Business Class uniquely offers both an ottoman, as well as a foot rest
Air Canada’s A220-300 Business Class uniquely offers both an ottoman, as well as a foot rest
Air Canada business class seat with water botles
Air Canada business class seat with water bottles

The center console has a storage area and, somewhat surprisingly, two headphone jacks and two USB ports. One is a USB A port, and the other is a USB C port. There is also a flip-up storage well on the side, where you can move the center panel and place your items.

Air Canada business class center console with sockets
Air Canada business class center console with sockets

The console also features two drink stands—one inset and one that pulls out of the console.

Air Canada business class center console
Air Canada business class center console

Tray Table

The tray table is on the other side of the seat, which folds out of the armrest. Press a small button, and the table pops out of its cubby. The table has two positions with a fold in the center. I found it to be very sturdy. You can slide the table forward and backward to get the perfect position for even more adjustability.

Seat table half deployed
table half deployed
Seat table fully deployed
Seat table fully deployed

Seat Controls

The seat controls are in the center console, immediately below the small drinks trays. Although limited in comparison to first-class lie-flat seats, there are still plenty of options to control your seat, including:

  • A footrest release button that brings up the footrest in front of you.
  • The recline button allows you to recline your seat.
Seat Controls
Seat Controls

Overall, these seats are so comfortable. They are an incredible design, perfect for short to medium-length flights. I might even try this coast-to-coast. It’s so good.

The Air Canada Business Class Amenity Kit

Sadly, no Amenity kit was provided on such a short flight, although I still had my excellent kit from my flight from Sao Paulo to Montreal.

The Air Canada Business Inflight Entertainment & Wi-Fi

Without a shadow of a doubt, this is one of the best IFE systems I have ever seen. It is fast, slick, and comes with so many different options. Not to mention its incredibly generous, approximately 16-inch size.

Flight map on the amazing IFE system on the A220-300
Flight map on the amazing IFE system on the A220-300

The IFE screen has Power, Play, Stop, Volume, Brightness, Home, and Flight mode buttons on the front. The IFE was very similar to that aboard the B789, although missing some more advanced functions, like adjusting the tint of your window and such.

Seat IFE
Seat IFE

Wi-Fi

The Wi-Fi was excellent on the flight and made working a breeze. It was announced during boarding and is available from gate to gate. Although I was, I could connect before the door was closed, and thus, I managed to work uninterrupted for the whole flight.

Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi is not free even in business class, although I did find the service to be reasonably priced as follows:

  • Full flight basic streaming for $10.25 or 1050 points.
  • Advanced premium streaming for the whole flight for $13.75 or $1,400 points.

As a bonus, there is free texting for Air Canada members, and the IFE monitor also displays when Wi-Fi is available and when it is not available.

The Flight 

The flight was delayed by about 15 minutes since we were still waiting for passengers to get through the congested US immigration process. However, once the door was closed, we were off. The Air Canada business class cabin was only served by one flight attendant, who seemed nervous about all the photography I was doing – which I understand.

Announcements were made in French and English, and most of the crew spoke at least both languages.

Before long, we were down the taxiway and taking off quietly to the Southwest. The A220 has some of the quietest engines I have experienced. We climbed fast, turned to the left, and were on our way to La Guardia.

Pre-Departure Service

There was no major pre-departure service on offer. Instead, at each center console, there were a couple of water bottles to be found. They were large 330ml/11floz bottle.

 Air Canada Business Class water bottles at seat
Air Canada Business Class water bottles at seat

The flight attendant also walked around the cabin offering headphones. These were packaged with Air Canada branding and found in sealed paper pouches.

 Air Canada Business Class headphones
Air Canada Business Class headphones

The Air Canada Business Class Meal Service

This was a very short flight, so things were done sequentially and compactly. First, an announcement was made during take-off that there would be hot beverages, beer, and wine served on the flight.

First, hot towels were offered right after take-off, with the crew walking around passing these out from a tray.

Hot towels served prior to the meal service
Hot towels served prior to the meal service

I was then surprised to discover that on this short 50-minute flight, Business Class passengers were provided a complete breakfast!

Air Canada business Class full breakfast
Air Canada Business Class full breakfast

The breakfast included the following items:

  • Parsley Omelet with Tomato, Sausage, and Potatoes; and a delicious cranberry sauce with cream.
  • Fruit plate with kiwi, orange, grapefruit and strawberry
  • Fresh bread.
  • Yogurt, butter, jam.
Parsley Omelet with Tomato, Sausage, and Potatoes; and a delicious cranberry sauce with cream.
Parsley Omelet with Tomato, Sausage, and Potatoes; and a delicious cranberry sauce with cream.
Pieces of fresh fruit
Pieces of fresh fruit

The food was utterly delicious, the cooked breakfast was outstanding, and the fruit was incredibly fresh. I wanted to have even more of the sauce – it was incredible. My goodness, I didn’t know Air Canada could serve such good food.

Delicious fresh bread
Delicious fresh bread

Fresh coffee was also served from the front galley. All in all, with only about 10 minutes to consume the meal, the crew did a superb job getting everything out and done quickly.

Arrival at New York La Guardia

The descent into La Guardia was announced with 30 minutes to go. Incredibly, some of the business class cabin passengers, including myself! had not even received their food yet. The crew did not give up and quickly set the tables for the remaining passengers. And the food was delivered.

Arrival in La Guardia
Arrival in La Guardia, Terminal B

Shortly after that, our dishes were collected with fifteen minutes of flying time to go. Although short, it was still enough time to enjoy the food, just not enough time to write about it.

We approached from the North and landed directly in La Guardia. The aircraft taxied to terminal B and parked beside an Air Canada B737. Deplaning was easy and quick, and we were off the plane in minutes. On the way out, I told the crew how much I enjoyed the flight and what a fantastic service it was.

La Guardia Terminal B Airport interior
La Guardia Terminal B Airport interior

One in the Terminal, I loved the airy feeling and space in the new LaGuardia Terminal. However, the walks to and from the gate are 2-3 times longer than before. Not to mention, the climbs up and down the stairs can be a little strenuous.

Although I didn’t have any checked baggage, I did notice that it arrived promptly on belt 8 just after I took a picture of the empty belt.

Baggage reclaim belt 8 at LGA Terminal B
Baggage reclaim belt 8 at LGA Terminal B

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that this is the best way to travel between the US and Canadian cities. The aircraft is far superior to the CRJ-900 product Delta uses on the same route from New York to Montreal.

I was impressed and absolutely amazed at Air Canada, which delivers an outstanding hard and soft product.

Overall, the quality of service felt like Singapore Airlines meets Air France – fast, efficient, courteous, and friendly. It was shockingly good! I left this flight wanting to fly Air Canada again quickly!

At the end of the day, the choice of carriers on these routes is limited. So, I think that this is the best option I’ve used to travel between New York and the major Canadian cities.  Although a bit pricier in both miles and money, for the quality of the product and service, this is the best one!

Pros:

  • Another excellent crew! Wow, I really was not expecting it. The friendliness, approachability, and service are top-notch and one of the best I’ve experienced.
  • Efficient service as well. Everything was well thought out to provide the best possible service.
  • It’s incredible that a full-service breakfast meal was offered on such a short flight.
  • Very prompt, fast, and efficient service.
  • Hard working FA continued even after the thirty-minute warning was announced.
  • The seat is excellent for working and multi-tasking. Perfect and very convenient design. Lots of storage and lots of functionality.
  • Very comfortable.
  • One of the best IFE and Seat Control systems I’ve witnessed to date. It’s just super sophisticated and advanced. Same system as on larger jets.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity was easy to use.
  • Power and several USB ports.
  • Excellent windows and light.
  • Very quiet aircraft.

Cons:

  • None – this flight was too short.

Verdict: 10/10