Review: Air Canada A321 Business Class

My Air Canada journey continued from Toronto to Montreal aboard an Airbus A321-200. As Air Canada’s A321s are really starting to show their age, a surprise awaited me on this short 316-mile flight.

Air Canada A321 Business Class Review

Air Canada has a fleet of 15 A321 aircraft and these are used on a variety of short and medium haul routes. My non-stop evening flight Toronto – Los Angeles (I changed my itinerary to return home via Montreal) was also operated by an A321-200.

Air Canada 412
Toronto (YYZ) – Montreal (YUL)
Thursday January 13
Departure: 1:00 p.m.
Arrival: 2:16 p.m.
Duration: 01h, 16min
Distance: 316 miles
Plane: A321-200
Seat: 2F (Business Class)

At 12:10 our plane had not yet arrived, but at 12:15 it had stopped at the gate. Passenger unloaded and at 12:35 p.m. boarding began.

Seats

I was the first on board and welcomed by an air hostess (in French) who gave me a sanitary kit.

The business class cabin has 16 reclining seats configured in four rows of 2-2 seats. Each seat is 20 inches wide and 37 inches pitch.

The seats can be manually reclined via a silver button in the center console and the power ports are also located in the center console.

Each seat has a footrest, which I think limits knee room rather than providing meaningful comfort.

A coat hook was very useful on this very cold day…

The blue color scheme is…dated. It was well maintained, but is really starting to show its age. These A321s are 20 years old, so the early 2000s seat covers remind me of flying in high school.

Upgrades without revision

When I was transferred to this flight earlier today, business class was empty – only 4/16 seats were occupied. But we left full, with around ten crew members seated in business class. Is this a usual thing on hub-to-hub routes? The stewardess who sat next to me was based in Montreal and was on her way home. I don’t understand (given there were no cancellations) why so many crew members had to head home or drop by instead of working on a return flight.

By the way, the flight attendants may have paid extra attention to the flight attendants and business class pilots, but the crew members were very well behaved.

Defrost

After pulling out we drove to a de-icing area and were quickly de-iced by a quartet of guys…a very efficient process.

Food + Drink

The shock of the flight was that a snack was served after takeoff, and I’m not just talking about a bag of cashews or pretzels. Instead we were offered (no choice) a nice plate of smoked salmon with cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and olives.

At 316 miles, it was shorter than a Los Angeles-San Francisco flight, where you’re lucky if you get a first-class drink on one of the older US carriers.

I had a Canada Dry club soda with lemon with my lunch.

I understand that all Air Canada flights serve some kind of meal in business class, and for flights with breakfast, it’s hot (like the omelet I got from Vancouver to Toronto).

EFI

The in-flight entertainment system was also showing its age, which offered a small selection of movies, TV shows, music and games, but the screen was very small and the system lagged horribly. A USB-A charging port is located next to the display.

After being annoyed with the bad lag, I just put the map in motion.

Free headphones were given away (along with a bottle of water).

Bathroom

The business class lavatory, located at the front of the plane near the cockpit door), and had hand soap and Vitruvi’s hand cream.

CONCLUSION

We landed on a very cold and gray Montreal afternoon.

The actual flight time was only around 40 minutes, which made it all the more impressive that Air Canada managed a very respectable light meal on this short flight. Although the A321 may be my least favorite aircraft in Air Canada’s fleet, it was perfectly comfortable for this brief flight. Be patient with IFE!

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