A critical review of various airlines as experienced first-hand by editorial members of The Business Travel Magazine team.
THE FLIGHT: Flight AC851 from London Heathrow Terminal 2 to Calgary, Alberta. Operated by a Dreamliner 787, the flight departed at 13.05.
PRE-DEPARTURE: Premium Economy passengers receive priority check-in and boarding, plus a larger baggage allowance (two 23kg checked bags). Efficient check-in staff and a smiley welcome onboard made for great first impressions. The aircraft was bright, spotlessly clean and felt new. The smart charcoal and red seating and carpets were set in a cabin that felt roomy thanks to the sculpted overhead bins, which gave plenty of head room, and the good lighting.
THE SEAT: The Premium Economy cabin was confi gured in three rows of 2-3-2 seating and there was a good sense of space and comfort. The wider seat, with seven-inch recline and 38-inch pitch, plus extra leg room and a footrest, enhanced personal comfort. The touchscreen IFE selection included 25 fi lms, games and more. A bottle of water, headphones and no frills amenity pack were on the seat.
THE SERVICE: Welcome drinks of orange juice or water were swiftly followed by menu delivery and hot towels. I chose the chicken which was great – stuffed with parmesan and leak and served on Madeira-infused farro with cherry tomatoes and asparagus along with a salad, roll and butter. Dessert was a lemon tart and snacks of ice cream and pretzels were served mid-flight. A second meal service – chicken or roasted veg pastry – was served prior to landing. Staff were efficient and available with regular rounds of water throughout the flight.
THE VERDICT: Premium Economy offers good leg room and comfort and the general spaciousness of the Dreamliner cabin sets the mood for an upbeat and comfortable journey. The staff were attentive and professional throughout. The wide seat with adjustable back and footrest added comfort for those who wanted to sleep, while there was plenty of elbow room and laptop space – plus power easily accessible – for those working on route. In short, a very enjoyable flight.
THE DETAILS: Air Canada operates a range of flights from the UK including a daily non-stop service from London Heathrow to Calgary. Economy return flights start from £595.27 including taxes and charges. aircanada.com.
Reviewed by Julie Baxter (2017)