B787-8 Air Canada airplane

Flight Review: Air Canada Economy Class – Brisbane To Vancouver

9 April 2019
Read Time: 5.7 mins

With direct flights to Vancouver from Brisbane, Sydney and now Melbourne with Air Canada, flying to the Great White North is now easier and more affordable than ever.

Tail of Air Canada B787-8 aircraft Air Canada's new livery was unveiled in 2017.

Whether you’re travelling for leisure or business purposes, Air Canada offers non-stop flights to Vancouver from Australia and then on to 64 airports in Canada and 57 airports in the USA – servicing more than 200 airports globally. Air Canada was also named Best Airline in North America in the 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards, while Vancouver International Airport took out Best Airport in North America in the 2018 Skytrax World Airport Awards.

With the US Customs pre-clearance facility within Vancouver International Airport (YVR), connections to destinations in the USA are expedited and seamless, making Vancouver an attractive option to LAX for entry into North America and, from Brisbane and Melbourne, the fastest route to the US East Coast. Passengers with connecting flights to the US via Vancouver will also have their luggage checked to their final destination for a hassle-free transit.

Belly of Air Canada B787-8 aircraft The new Air Canada livery coincided with Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017.

Top tip: Business travellers should also take note of the Airport Butler service at Vancouver International Airport. A personal concierge will meet you and help you navigate the terminal from gate-to-gate for connecting flights. The Airport Butler Concierge service met our group as we disembarked and drove us by golf cart through the terminal to the US Customs & Immigration process and then personally walked us to the gate for our connecting flight to Los Angeles. It’s a great option for any traveller new to YVR or wanting extra assistance or a seamless transit after a long flight.

Interior of Vancouver International Airport The interior of Vancouver International Airport reflects First Nations cultures and traditions. (Image: YVR)

On the daily Brisbane to Vancouver route, Air Canada uses a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft, offering Signature Class (business class), Premium Economy and Economy seating on board.


Quick overview:

Route: Brisbane to Vancouver, AC 036

Aircraft: Boeing 787-8

Class: Economy

Seat number: 21C (aisle seat of 3x3x3 configuration)

Duration: 13.25 hours

Baggage allowance: 2 pieces of checked luggage up to 23kg

Check-in

At Brisbane International Airport, Air Canada has self-service check-in kiosks and also offers mobile check-in if you’re travelling on an electronic ticket. You can also opt to receive an electronic boarding pass on the Air Canada app via your mobile phone or sent to your email. Once you’ve completed mobile check-in or at a self-service kiosk to print your boarding pass and baggage tags, you simply proceed to the baggage drop-off counter. Air Canada suggests checking in to your flight at least 120 minutes before departure. Check-in and baggage drop closes 60 minutes before your flight.

Lounge

Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance network so eligible Star Alliance Gold members or those travelling with Air Canada in Signature Class from Brisbane International Airport have access to the spacious Air New Zealand International Lounge on level 3 and Singapore Airlines’ SilverKris Lounge and the SQ Lounge on level 3 near gate 81 (all with showers, Wi-Fi, business facilities, bar and light refreshments). All other passengers can use the facilities at the pay-per-use Plaza Premium Lounge & Wellness Spa on level 4 opposite gate 81, which include showers, Wi-Fi, food and beverages, bar and workstations and can be booked online in advance.

Economy cabin on board Air Canada's B787-8 aircraft The Economy cabin on board Air Canada's B787-8 aircraft has a 3x3x3 configuration.

Seat

I was seated in the Economy cabin four rows back from Premium Economy. The International Economy cabin has a 3x3x3 configuration with adjustable headrest, 23cm (9”) seatback touchscreen, blanket and pillow provided. As the Brisbane service to Vancouver is on the Dreamliner aircraft, the ambient mood lighting within the cabin is optimised to assist with jetlag with windows dimmed in gradients of blue. There’s easy access to both the Premium Economy bathrooms (complete with a window, hand cream and face mist) and Economy bathrooms towards the back of the airplane. Each seat also has a USB port and in-seat power with a seat pitch of 78.7cm (31”) and seat width of 43.9cm (17”).  Overall, the cabin was immaculate and one of the cleanest I've flown in.

Entertainment

Air Canada’s on-demand entertainment offers hundreds of hours of movies, TV shows, music, audiobooks, games and podcasts at your fingertips and with gate-to-gate access. There’s a mix of new flicks, newly added movies and even themed films (Chinese New Year and Romance on my February flight) as well as entire TV series to binge (Sharp Objects, anyone?). Plus Francophones won’t mind the dual announcements in English and French when they occasionally interrupt your viewing. Hey, it’s a great opportunity to practise your onboard vocab, mesdames et messieurs!

Close look at Economy seating on Air Canada's B787-8 aircraft The seating in Air Canada's International Economy cabin has a seat pitch of 31 inches.

Service

Canadians are so gosh-darn friendly and that extends to the onboard service from the Air Canada cabin crew – approachable and full of smiles but not intrusive. Sleeping passengers are not woken but are advised later if they’d like a meal, and cabin crew also assisted a passenger in front of me who seems to have left an item behind at the airport by helping to check her luggage and informing Air Canada agents at Brisbane Airport on arrival in Vancouver. Children receive a special onboard entertainment pack with crayons, activity book, puzzle and kid-size headphones plus there’s a child meal available (ask your travel consultant to request when booking your flight).

Food and beverage

Air Canada offers an extensive array of special dietary meals, including my request for a vegan meal. The Brisbane-Vancouver route consists of a drink service after takeoff with pretzels, a hot lunch with wine and spirits, a mid-flight snack of a sandwich and coffee biscuits and a hot breakfast served 90 minutes before landing in Vancouver. There’s also plenty of water available throughout the flight. There’s a choice of two hot meals for breakfast or lunch service for those who haven’t requested a special meal.

Last word

With daily direct flights to Vancouver and seamless connections within Canada and the US, thanks to the US Customs pre-clearance facility at Vancouver International Airport, flying with Air Canada from Brisbane to Vancouver is a great option for frequent travellers to North America who are keen to bypass the queues at LAX. Air Canada also has daily direct services to Vancouver from Sydney and Melbourne.

All images: Air Canada/YVR

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.
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