If you are considering flying on Air Canada’s Signature Class, this post will give you everything you need to know. This Air Canada business class review takes into account domestic services, international services as well as the Air Canada business class lounge in Canada and abroad.
There are quite a few names for Air Canada’s top level of service, the Signature Class, as it is a part of Air Canada’s Business Class, but not available on all flights. Only certain aircraft have the pod seats featured in Signature Class, but since most people refer to this class of service as “Business Class pods” or “Air Canada First Class pods” you may see me mention different names throughout this post.
Air Canada Business Class Review: Signature Class on the 787 Dreamliner
Features of Air Canada 787 Business Class
Air Canada’s 787 Dreamliners are a pleasure to fly in. These wide-body planes are spacious and comfortable and from the second you board, every need is taken care of.
Well, that is not exactly true, from the moment you arrive at the airport, you are well taken care of with dedicated check-in and the opportunity to board the aircraft at your leisure when zone 1 boarding begins.
Lay Flat Executive Pods
Air Canada’s Signature Pods are incredibly comfortable, with plenty of legroom to stretch out while sitting. You actually have to bring the try table quite close to you to reach! There is a convenient table at your side as well and an armrest that goes up and down on the aisle.
You can choose to raise your legs while sitting and you can also recline these pods fully flat giving up to 6’7″ length. The pods come with a full-size pillow, mattress pad and duvet, giving a comfortable sleep, despite flying on an airplane!
And there is more, the seats offer a massage feature which is nice when you are sitting for so long.
The only thing that I did notice, is there is no adjustable headrest, but I am assuming that since the seats can fully recline to sleep, the adjustable headrest is not needed to sleep.
Meals and Drinks
Upon boarding, I was quickly offered a welcome beverage (I highly recommend a mimosa to start your flight off!). Nowhere you will find wasteful plastic cups, but cute glasses serving water, wines and mixed cocktails.
Meals are served over many courses with a few choices. For breakfast, I had a wrap and for dinner, I chose a steak option. The food comes out plated, not in plastic wrapped containers and multiple beverage services are offered during the meal.
There is a meal card for overnight flights allowing you to choose whether you want to be woken up for breakfast, and when you would like your breakfast served, or if you would prefer to rest and not eat. You can also ask for your meals to be served at different times.
Air Canada offers hundreds of movies, from new releases to classics. There are games and podcasts as well. In the Air Canada business class pods noise-canceling headphones are provided and they block out ALL THE NOISE! I suggest sleeping with them on as well.
Just a note, the entertainment in Signature Class is the same as what is offered in Economy, but Signature class offers larger screens and the noise-canceling headphones I mentioned above.
Where can you experience Signature Class
International Flights on select 787, 777, 767 and A330. I flew on A 787 Dreamliner from Vancouver to Toronto and then Toronto to Vienna, Austria and from Frankfurt, Germany to Vancouver. This gave me plenty of time to experience the amenities and prepare this review. These are some of the prime routes.
The North American routes include Toronto to and from Vancouver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and soon, Honolulu. From Montreal to and from Vancouver, from New York to and from Vancouver.
Other routes offer Business Class seats, but unless they mention lay-flat pods and signature class, you will get traditional business class seating (mostly on North America, Central America and Carribean routes). Check your route carefully when booking.
When booking your fare, ensure you check that the aircraft offers signature class. For example, not EVERY flight from Vancouver to Toronto offers the Signature Class in Business Class. Take a look at the examples below.
Maple Leaf Lounge Reviews
Air Canada’s Maple Leaf lounges are in 17 airports across Canada, the USA and Europe. I visited both the Toronto Pearson Maple Leaf Lounge and the Frankfurt Maple Leaf Lounge on my recent travels.
The Maple Leaf lounges offer light snacks and a large selection of beverages, including wine, beer on tap and spirits. Popular newspapers and magazines are available to read while in the lounge or take them on your flight with you
Business centers have computers and printers (came in handy for me as I needed to print my Jordan pass before arriving into Jordan).
Advice for Families: Is Air Canada’s Signature Class Worth it?
Well, worth it and ideal are two totally different things.
Worth it for space for your children to be able to lay down and have a comfortable sleep. Probably if they are over 3 and no longer able to curl up on the economy seat and put their head on your lap.
As for ideal, I cannot imagine that many children who are under 5 who would be able to not have arms-reach access to their parents. These Air Canada pods are designed for privacy and comfort, not for talking to the person next to you. You cannot really reach the person next to you. If you had a young child that needs to you to get things for them or help them with things, you would constantly be getting out of your seat to help them. That is the only downside of the Air Canada business class configurations.
If you do plan on traveling on Air Canada Business Class Signature Pods with kids, I would suggest a few seating options.
ONE OPTION THE MIDDLE SEATS SAME ROW: choose the seats in the middle of the plane, that way, there is just a small partition and you can reach over it to hand your children things. The downside is you cannot help with buttons or seatbelts and would have to walk all the way around the cabin the be beside them
SECOND OPTION MIDDLE AND WINDOW: The way my configuration was set up, the adjacent window seat was a little behind mine, so I could see the passenger there. If you sit in the middle seat and have your child in the window just behind you, you can easily get up and take one step to help them and reach them. The seat just in front of the middle is not as ideal as you cannot see into the pod at all.
THIRD OPTION MIDDLE SEATS ONE BEHIND THE OTHER: This is another good option to be just one step away from your child. You can stand up and take one step and you are beside them. It is probably the CLOSEST option, although you cannot turn around and see them while sitting. At least in the option above, you can see them from your seat if you look behind you.
More About Air Canada
Air Canada is Canada’s largest domestic carrier and among the 20 largest airlines in the world. If you are wondering about the level of service compared to other airlines around the world, Air Canada was the winner of Skytrax’s Best Airline in North America in 2019 (they also won in 2018 and 2017). They also won for best business class lounge dining and best airline staff in Canada.
Air Canada also won TripAdvisor’s Travellers Choice for Best Business Class for 2019. It is overwhelmingly preferred by business-class travelers, although there is not much competition within Canada for a full-service carrier.
Of course, everyone is going to have their own opinion about Air Canada, especially if they have had a problem on their flight. Everyone who travels frequently is going to run into a hiccup, it happens often. It doesn’t matter the airline, it sucks. But if customer service is compassionate, despite the tough conditions (picture having to deal with hundreds of angry people or having to be the messenger or the sounding board, regardless of the customer service in any industry, it is a tough job!
Air Canada services over 220 cities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America and South America.
Lindsay is the founder and editor of Carpe Diem OUR Way. She is passionate about sharing her experiences of traveling with children on adventurous family holidays around the world! She resides in the suburbs of Vancouver when not jet setting abroad.