Genius12
Topic Author
Posts: 246
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:49 am

AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:28 am

AC Executive First… A National Disgrace?

Date 28/29 July 2007
Flight AC896
Route YVR Vancouver – LHR London Heathrow
Scheduled Departure 19:50
Aircraft Type A330-343X
Aircraft Registration/Fin C-GFAH/932
Seats/Class 2H, 2K/Executive First

Background:
This is Part 2 of the outbound trip report to Calgary. This trip report can be found here. Both flights were booked as part of a Thomas Cook Tours/Thomas Cook Signature holiday to Western Canada in July 2007. The tour included 3 nights in Banff (at the Fairmont Banff Springs), 2 nights in Jasper (the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge), 2 days onboard the Rocky Mountaineer train in GoldLeaf Service with an overnight stop in Kamloops and then 3 nights in Vancouver (the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver).

Check-In & Security:

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280330.jpg

Air Canada’s check in desks for international flights are located at the far left hand end of Vancouver’s International Terminal. We made our way to the Executive First check in desks, clearly signed, where there was only one couple ahead of us. As soon as he saw us waiting, another member of staff stepped forward to the second business class desk. Check in was prompt, with directions given to Fast Track security and the Maple Leaf Lounge.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280331.jpg

We then spent a few minutes walking back to the other end of the check in hall, and I photographed the Oasis Hong Kong check in area.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280332.jpg

Security was once again a very prompt and efficient affair, with much less fuss than at Heathrow, but with that necessary ‘safe’ feeling and air of professionalism amongst the security agents. The Fast Track line, to the left of the main queues, is separated by portable screens, but there is an area just by the X-ray scanners where the barriers end and the Fast Track line is open onto the main security lines. A couple moved from the middle of one of these main lines to just behind us. Whether they were travelling J/F and had just realised there was Fast Track available, I don’t know. It looked to me very much like they were taking their chance, although I can’t see why they bothered when they were nearly at the front of the queue.

Maple Leaf Lounge & Boarding:
Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures of the outside of the Maple Leaf Lounge, as the entrance is very close to the end of the security area, and I didn’t want to be whisked away and miss out on the lounge goodies!

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280338.jpg

At first the lounge was fairly crowded, but the earlier flight to London was soon called and seats gradually began to become free. Consequently, the lounge was in quite a mess with rubbish littering most tables, however this was fairly efficiently cleaned away by the inadequate team of two members of cleaning/catering staff.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280335.jpg

The female staff member on duty at the front desk was most pleasant, and remembered my face on numerous occasions coming back into the lounge. The same could not be said for the other front desk (male) member of staff, who when I informed that the flight information screens were playing up said ‘not our problem’ and promptly turned away!

We found a good spot to sit, located between the entrance and business centre, which was out of the sun.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280334.jpg

Automatic blinds covered all the windows, but these were lowered far too late in the day to make up for the scorching heat coming through the glass. However, there was a good view of the gate area.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280337.jpg

Eventually (although I missed its arrival) I spotted our aircraft at the gate being loaded with supplies.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290341.jpg

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290340.jpg

Drinks – both soft (hot and cold) and alcoholic - were plentiful, although snacks left much to be desired, with just one variety of crisps and hot noodles and a few items of fruit and vegetables on offer.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280336.jpg

Plenty of magazines and newspapers were available by the front desk, and the toilets were clean enough. The whole lounge was well lit, with a good layout and decoration (classic Maple Leaf Lounge style).

The Lenovo business centre was well equipped with pay telephones and complimentary internet access from wired points and complimentary use of about 6 PCs.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7280339.jpg

After a good 3 or so hours spent in the lounge (in which I wandered around the airport and admired YVR’s new aquarium feature), we made our way to the gate in plenty of time, located just next door to the lounge, beyond the lifts to the oneworld (BA and Cathay) lounges.

No priority boarding for Executive First passengers was announced, although ‘passengers needing assistance’ were called first. As per usual, a rugby scrum of passengers from Economy bombarded the two gate agents, and as per usual we just pushed through the lot of them to arrive at the entrance to the airbridge third of around 230 passengers. I didn’t pay the upgrade for nothing!

Onboard & Inflight:
Boarding commenced through door 2L, meaning no Economy passengers walking through the main J cabin. Basic route information was showing on the front projection screen as we entered the cabin. Newspapers were offered and coats taken, before a small glass of champagne or orange juice was served, followed by nuts and then hot towels (once airborne). The takeoff roll was very, very long and at one point I thought that perhaps it would be aborted.

Air Canada’s A330s have not yet been refitted with the new Project XM cabins, although since they were only introduced between 1999 and 2001 (our aircraft being a 1999 one), the interiors are in fairly good shape (at least to look at – more later). Our aircraft had been fully painted in AC’s ‘new’ colour scheme of very pale green.

The A330s are fitted with 42 Executive First reclining seats – 30 in the front cabin and the remaining 12 in an obviously smaller mini-cabin at the front of Economy. Apparently this cabin has slightly reduced seat pitch and gets complaints about noise from Economy, so many passengers seated here were moved to the main cabin, resulting in a 100% load factor in the main J cabin. The pictures below show the main J cabin at the top, and then the mini J cabin looking into the front of two Economy cabins.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290344.jpg

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290352.jpg

Once again (see outbound trip report) we were landed (no pun intended!) with one very pleasant and one very indifferent stewardess, although both were much older than on the outbound flight.

The electronic seats are advertised with a 60” seat pitch and a 151 degree recline, arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration and feature leg rest and lumbar support. AVOD in the form of rather small personal Sony screens is provided along with a personal ‘snake’ reading light, power port and in-arm tray table and other assorted storage locations.

Each seatback pocket contained an amenity kit (fairly comprehensive although far from luxurious), the safety card, Air Canada’s enRoute magazine, a bottle of Dasani water (yes, that infamous stuff again), noise-reduction headphones for the IFE and other bits and bobs I’ve forgotten about. On the seats were a wrapped blanket and a cushion.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290345.jpg

At first, both mine and my companion’s seats worked perfectly. Then all of a sudden and inexplicably the buttons suddenly controlled different parts of the seat – on both seats. For instance, the recline UP button made the seat go down, and the DOWN button didn’t work. So therefore the seat was left in 151 degree recline with the only option manual adjustment, which didn’t work at all. The legrest got stuck a few notches up and then failed completely. After several attempts at manual adjustment, various different members of the cabin crew, including the chief steward, simply gave up. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Eventually, I found the solution – turn of the ‘snake’ reading lights. They seemed to be draining the seats of power. What a complete and utter farce. So basically, it was a choice between fully functioning seat or reading light. I chose the fully functioning seat, as did my companion.

All this took at least 30 minutes to work out. At the end of it all when I’d found the solution, the ‘nice’ stewardess thanked me for letting her know. You cannot tell me that the fault hadn’t been reported before. This is simply not good enough for a so called ‘premium’ business class service. The seats were sub-standard without this trouble, being impossible to sleep on due to the lack of a flat bed.

The two main meals were a sorry affair. Choices were literally chicken, beef or pasta, reminiscent of 1980s Economy, only with a little pasta thrown in to cater for ‘special diets’. By the time choices were taken from our row, only chicken or pasta was available, and with us taking the last two chickens, only pasta was left for people sitting in 1H and 1K, much to the annoyance of Mr 1K. What a shambles.

My entrée was an appallingly greasy mushroom salad followed by thick, tasteless chicken presented in a bowl suspiciously feeling of plastic rather than china. Pictures below:

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290347.jpg

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290348.jpg

I’ve completely forgotten about what the dessert was, suggesting it was so bland that it didn’t warrant a photograph. Breakfast was served a couple of hours before landing, somewhere approaching Scotland (we routed over Greenland). A greasy croissant and unappetising fruit was by now expected.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290350.jpg

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290351.jpg

I didn’t really watch much of the IFE, instead trying (and failing) to sleep.

http://i206.photobucket.com/albums/bb257/Genius1289/P7290349.jpg

During the night, when the lights were dimmed, the cabin crew seemed to keep themselves to themselves, which is not really what you want (although thankfully they were dutiful in closing curtains in the galley area and keeping their voices low). The call button had to be pressed several times for attention, although the ‘nice’ stewardess was a lot more attentive than the other.

Landing was bumpy but uneventful, and we taxied past a parked Air Seychelles B767 and parked at the gate at Terminal 3 adjacent to a Cathay Pacific B747-400.

Final Impression & Conclusion:
Check-In: 9/10
Security: 9/10
Departure Lounges: 8/10
Boarding: 2/10
Seat: 4/10
IFE: 7/10
Food & Beverages: 3/10
Cabin Crew: 5/10

Air Canada’s ageing Executive First product on non-XM aircraft is simply an embarrassment to Canada. Whilst my experiences with ground staff have been generally good, and check-in and lounges have been perfectly adequate, the moment you enter the gate area things change dramatically. Boarding is a shambles and the ageing cabin interiors result in a poor flight experience.

Whilst I appreciate AC is trying hard to rectify problems, there is no excuse for poor cabin crew members or sub-standard food that would not look out of place in charter Cattle Class.

There is nothing Executive about Executive First. Next time I’ll be flying British Airways.

Thanks for reading - your comments are appreciated and I always reply as soon as I can.
 
ba319-131
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 4:55 am

Interesting report, most enjoyable.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
The same could not be said for the other front desk (male) member of staff, who when I informed that the flight information screens were playing up said ‘not our problem’ and promptly turned away!

- Hmm, don't you just love staff like rthat!?

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Drinks – both soft (hot and cold) and alcoholic - were plentiful, although snacks left much to be desired, with just one variety of crisps and hot noodles and a few items of fruit and vegetables on offer.

- Pretty poor for a Business Class lounge, however I am used to BA's Terraces  Smile

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
30 in the front cabin and the remaining 12 in an obviously smaller mini-cabin at the front of Economy. Apparently this cabin has slightly reduced seat pitch and gets complaints about noise from Economy,

- I hate that fabric, it's just so dated and makes the interior look old. In addition, I'd hate to be in the smaller section of 12, the divide between it and Economy is very poor.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
My entrée was an appallingly greasy mushroom salad followed by thick, tasteless chicken presented in a bowl suspiciously feeling of plastic rather than china.

- Those are some pretty sorry looking meals, I'd be less than happy to be given that rubbish.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Breakfast was served a couple of hours before landing, somewhere approaching Scotland (we routed over Greenland). A greasy croissant and unappetising fruit was by now expected.

- Is that it?? - Pathetic.

From this TR I'd avoid AC Business Class unless it was dirt cheap, just not worth paying for.

Regards

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:26 am

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 1):
Is that it??

Yep, that was it for breakfast. I was at least expecting the option of a continental or hot breakfast.
 
semsem
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:32 am

AC never had a good reputation. Unbelievable what they serve in C.
 
AA767LOVER
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:51 am

THAT IS NOT A NATIONAL DISGRACE! Air Canada has a VERY GOOD J product. I flew HKG-YVR on a 343 on J for some unforseen disruption to my vacation plans back in 1998. The only disgrace was in 1999 when their IFE unit would not work. I couldn't complain because we were on mileage and SUPPOSED to be in Y, but they put us in J from CDG-YUL and I really enjoyed it!! It was a VERY comfortable flight. The 343 from HKG to YVR and another 343 from CDG-YUL was the BEST Premium service experience overseas! At least one thing I can be proud of being Canadian.

Those seats are bulky and comfortable. The food I got from HKG-YVR and again from CDG-YUL was amazing. And . . .
And . . we got Haagen-Dazs too! I could not ask for more.

I have to tell you. You may be right because you fly a lot, and sample different J products, I presume. You may be much more selective than I. There is a saying, "familiarity breeds contempt". Another saying goes "the best remedy for ungratefulness is gratitude". It is a privilege to fly J. For others, it seems like a Forbidden Zone because they have economic restrictions that they cannot afford it.
Those last flights I took on AC on Executive Class were great. My dad's company relocated him to the US back in 1999, and PAID for us to go on J, as compensation for early vacation disruption.
The second one was also by grace too. Completely unexpected. For those reasons, I truly appreciated my experiences.
Throughout my younger years, I flew on J before on the 762 on a couple of occasions, and they were the best experiences at that time. I now fly CO, AA, and UA, and I found their premium products to be quite good.

AC's J product is amazing. NOT A NATIONAL DISGRACE.
J.I. Tsui, American Advantage Member, United Mileage Plus (Premier)
 
davidkunzVIE
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:59 am

While the size of the breakfast is definitely less than you would expect, I somehow feel that some of you need to chill a bit. This doesn't look like a national disgrace, it's just not top notch. You can be happy AC still exists, if you look at how close they were to bankruptcy. Would you prefer Westjet on TAtl flts?

Other than that, lovely pictures!
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pacifica
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:37 am

Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 4):
I have to tell you. You may be right because you fly a lot, and sample different J products, I presume. You may be much more selective than I. There is a saying, "familiarity breeds contempt". Another saying goes "the best remedy for ungratefulness is gratitude". It is a privilege to fly J. For others, it seems like a Forbidden Zone because they have economic restrictions that they cannot afford it.

Well said. I'm one of the 'less fortunate' on this forum, only in the regard that whenever flying I will travel in Economy Class and that alone. Nope, sorry, no business class for me...the value simply isn't there (nor do I have spare cash lieing around that I wouldn't rather use on something else). Anyways, one thing I will say is that on my last trip (see report 'Baking Under The Tuscan Sun') I was able to secure my family seats in the forward 'premium economy' section of Air Canada's Boeing 767-200. The service is the same, but you get the domestic first seat. All I can say is that my whole family was in heaven! Sure, these seats paled in comparison to the likes of BA and VS's business class offerings, since they were merely 19" wide with 38" of seat pitch. Yet, we were all able to stretch out, relax, sleep, all in gracious comfort and bliss. I guess what I am trying to say to the OP is that sometimes you just need to take a step back, and realize things aren't always as bad as they seem. Just because you have had BETTER experiences with certain airlines, it doesn't make this worse experience with Air Canada 'totally unacceptable', nor does it prove AC to be a national disgrace. Besides, give AC a break, they ARE afterall improving their service in all classes...but that like anything, takes time.  Wink
 
AA767LOVER
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:51 am

Exactly! Give them a break! Correct me if I'm wrong: Did they NOT win an award for Best Executive Class in North America? They are trying hard in that area at least.
J.I. Tsui, American Advantage Member, United Mileage Plus (Premier)
 
Comeflywithme
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:22 am

Genius12

Thanks for your report. It does look pretty poor value the breakfast especially.For all it would cost them to improve the food it would at least go some way to making the service that bit better for a J class product.
No wonder they have had problems if that's what they have to offer - nothing to worry their competitors on that route.
 
Lufthansa747
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:28 am

Sure the breakfast is pathetic, but fact is most prefer to sleep instead. On my recent F trip, I had 4 overnight longhauls with a hot F class breakfast. I had 4 cups of tea and some toast once.

AC might be different since that dinner looks poor too, but if there is a nice dinner, I can't be bothered to wake up for an airline breakfast these days.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
PacNWjet
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:42 am

All I can say is that when I was a student aged 16-20 (as apparently is the case of the original poster based on the information in his user profile) I would have been thrilled to have had the luxury of flying something comparable to the Air Canada Executive First class described in the trip report. As it was, when I was a student between the age of 16 and 20, I did take some flights from the mainland United States to Hawaii, Asia, and Europe, but they were all in Coach save for one United Airlines flight from Honolulu to San Francisco in I believe it was 1982 when I paid to upgrade to First Class, just as a treat to myself (I was a 19 year old university student at the time). Needless to say, the United First Class product in 1982 is a pale comparison to the Air Canada Executive First class described in the trip report. I guess it's all relative. Now that I am in my 40s I still consider it a treat to fly Business or First, and frankly the only time I have been disappointed was on a Delta flight from Los Cabos, Mexico to Salt Lake City in First Class when nothing was served save for snacks out of a snack basket which a flight attendant carried through the cabin (right on through to Coach, I might add!). I thought that was pretty cheap on an international flight, albeit one that lasts barely three hours. Other than that, I consider flying Business or First a privilege I have earned after twenty years of education (including a doctorate) and fifteen years of work in a job that requires my attention at all waking hours. Oh, to be 16-20 years old again.
 
JoePatroni
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:41 am

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 10):
Oh, to be 16-20 years old again.

Exactly!

Sounds like you have a bit of growing up to do if you headline this trip report as a "National Disgrace" of the beautiful and amazing country that is Canada.

It sounds like you had a fairly nice experience with AC. Although I never want to settle for mediocrity, nor should you especially being (ahem) 16-20.

A National Disgrace? I don't think so.
Oh Stewardess, I speak Jive.
 
AirTranTUS
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:50 am

Interesting report and lots of good pics.

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
Breakfast was served a couple of hours before landing, somewhere approaching Scotland (we routed over Greenland). A greasy croissant and unappetising fruit was by now expected.

Looks like the pics of CO's Economy breakfast on international flights.
I love ASO!
 
cgojz
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:30 am

National Disgrace is a little dramatic don't you think? I've done three return transatlantic trips in Executive First in the past three months, on the 763, the 343, the 333 and the 777. The service was slightly better on some than others, which happens on every airline, but was satisfactory in every case. My last trip from FRA to YYZ a couple weeks ago (on C-GFAH actually) the service, including the food was faultless. It is consistent with, and in some cases superior to any other legacy carrier Business Class service available transatlantic. Given that you have only flown on four aircraft types, perhaps you should widen your pool of experience before prounouncing something a national disgrace.
 
airbear
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:09 pm

Hi Genius12 ... ummm... I have to say that what you describe seems to have been a pretty good but not spectacular flight, in a pretty good but not spectacular J-class. I haven't ever travelled with AC, so I have no idea if the service levels you experienced were typical of AC or not.

My point ? You are very young, my friend. I suggest that on your way to becoming a knowledgeable air traveller, you "pay your dues", and do some serious hours flying down the back of the plane for a change. That would give you a whole new perspective.

Cheers, Airbear.
 
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gunsontheroof
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:00 pm

Quoting PacNWJet (Reply 10):
All I can say is that when I was a student aged 16-20 (as apparently is the case of the original poster based on the information in his user profile) I would have been thrilled to have had the luxury of flying something comparable to the Air Canada Executive First class described in the trip report.

Agreed. Having just completed some exhausting school-related travel--all seven segments in Y--the service described in this report looks pretty damn good. Have we expensive taste?

Quoting JoePatroni (Reply 11):

Sounds like you have a bit of growing up to do if you headline this trip report as a "National Disgrace" of the beautiful and amazing country that is Canada.



Quoting CGOJZ (Reply 13):
Given that you have only flown on four aircraft types, perhaps you should widen your pool of experience before prounouncing something a national disgrace.

 checkmark   checkmark   checkmark 

Pretty prudish of you to suggest that the reputation of Canada (or any other country for that matter) hinges on its premier air carrier's ability to cater to your high expectations.

That said, you put together a detailed, well-documented trip report. Kudos for that.
Picked a hell of a week to quit sniffing glue.
 
sw733
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:21 pm

Quoting DavidkunzVIE (Reply 5):
While the size of the breakfast is definitely less than you would expect, I somehow feel that some of you need to chill a bit



Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 7):
Exactly! Give them a break!

I agree. This trip report was very interesting, but I got the feeling of, pardon my choice of words, a spoiled kid - and the 16-20 year old flying transatlantic first class seems to agree. I think you should be pretty lucky to be up there in the first place at that age, or any age. I still have only flown first class from being bumped up unexpectedly a number a time I can count on one hand. Three of those were on flights of an hour in length.

[Edited 2007-08-29 06:21:57]
 
aad665
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:37 pm

Hi,

I have flew at least 40 times AC J, mainly YYZ/YUL - FRA/MUC since 5 years.

It seems that you made your own reality. Breakfast with Ac is generous, including cereal, eggs, bacon, fresh fruits, etc. Always got great foods, never complain.

I am agreed with one point, AC planes needs XM, product is outdated.

I suggest you to try Alitalia, LOT, old LH product, All americain carriers...they are sub-standard.

aad665
 
FighterPilot
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pic

Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:16 pm

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
National Disgrace

National disgrace?? Are you kidding me? Not even close.

Quoting CGOJZ (Reply 13):
Given that you have only flown on four aircraft types, perhaps you should widen your pool of experience before prounouncing something a national disgrace.

 checkmark 

Quoting Airbear (Reply 14):
... ummm... I have to say that what you describe seems to have been a pretty good but not spectacular flight

 checkmark 

Quoting SW733 (Reply 16):
I agree. This trip report was very interesting, but I got the feeling of, pardon my choice of words, a spoiled kid

 checkmark 

Cal  airplane 
*Insert Sound Of GE90 Spooling Up Here*
 
zak
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:17 pm

honestly, you should start thinking about the primary motivation for such a product.
its geared towards business travellers who either work or sleep. you are 16-20 flying around with what appears to be a warped expectation. airlines dont create products to cater to aviation fetish, they try to meet demand with their supply. whilst AC is not the leader of the pack, their customers possibly do not have the expectations that high profile customers in say asia have. what i see in your pictures is a mediocre product that however would make me not measurably more exhausted than say emirates firstclass suite. you have room to work, you have room to sleep.
keep in mind that LH, being one of the most profitable airlines in the world, did well without all that ptv avod junk for over a decade, mainly because "cattle class krauts" still seem to appreciate reading or the window-ptv.
10=2
 
Comeflywithme
Posts: 249
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:51 pm

Don't see what age has to do with it myself - looks to me as if some posters here are showing immaturity by displaying a bit of jealously.
If you pay good money no matter what age you are the product should match, his pictures clearly show the meal service which not only him would have received is very poor.
 
Genius12
Topic Author
Posts: 246
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:49 am

RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:54 pm

Thanks for all your comments. Perhaps the 'national disgrace' title was a bit overboard, but then it did start quite a discussion!

As Comeflywithme says, I don't really think it matters what age you are. I was flying with my mother on a long-earned mini-family break, which due to personal cirumstances, was quite poignant.

I'm not a 'spoiled child' as some would describe, in fact the last flight I took was to Tenerife with First Choice Airways in charter Economy, where the food was much better than what I was served on AC's Executive First, which is why I feel I can make that comparison.

People are currently complaining that LHR is a disgrace to the UK, being the national hub airport. I think that the same can be said for AC, as it should be representing Canada in the air travel sector.

If you've read my outbound report, I actually found the trip enjoyable.

If you're paying upwards of £1500 each for the upgrade to J, I think it's right to expect a little bit extra. You wouldn't pay an upgrade in a hotel and find yourself in a room overlooking a brick wall.

You should get what you pay for, and I certainly feel lucky to have been travelling in a premium cabin. I don't do it every day.
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:02 pm

Quoting Zak (Reply 19):
keep in mind that LH, being one of the most profitable airlines in the world, did well without all that ptv avod junk for over a decade, mainly because "cattle class krauts" still seem to appreciate reading or the window-ptv.

Also keep in mind that I didn't think the AVOD was bad at all, seeing as a didn't really watch any, and what was provided was completley suitable for most passengers' needs.
 
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OA260
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 6:36 pm

Nice TR and photos but im shocked at the offering that they give at meal times. Its a total discrace. That chicken looked horrible. I have to say I actually like the older AC seats , I flew BWIA in J and it was the one they had from AC so had the exact same seats as you got. I found them to be very comfortable. The food however needs a mega upgrade. The amenity kits looked nice even if not luxury products inside.

Breakfast should consist of hot croissants and a choice of either mini hot breakfast/omelette or a cereal/fruit plate.


Anyway thanks for sharing

OA260
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:52 pm

Forgot to add this bit:

Arrival:
Our arrival was about an hour ahead of schedule (strong tail winds, according to the captain), which was surprising and most welcome! The cabin crew did a good job of holding back Economy pax while J passengers were allowed to deplane first, again through door 2L.

We were welcomed back to the UK with a particularly surly woman at passport control who waved us away from the Fast Track customs lane initally, and who we had to persuade to let us through. There was a bit of a hold up with one man at passport control not having the correct documents, but the woman at the desk was a pleasant as can be expected.

Priority baggage worked a treat, with our bags amongst the first on the carousel. Due to our early arrival, we had 30mins to kill before our car arrived, so we went to the Arrivals Lounge, which was stocked with plenty of beverages and snack items. The lounge was very clean, bright and modern with numerous shower and toilet facilities.
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 7:59 pm

Quoting Aad665 (Reply 17):
It seems that you made your own reality. Breakfast with Ac is generous, including cereal, eggs, bacon, fresh fruits, etc. Always got great foods, never complain.

Thank you for your reply.

What does the first sentence mean - 'it seems that you made your own reality'? My breakfast with AC wasn't generous, had no cereal, no eggs, no bacon and just a few measly items of fruit (yes, they were fresh though).

Do you mean that I obviously had a different experience from your travels?
 
ManchesterMAN
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:40 pm

Thanks for the report - I enjoyed it.

Whilst the title may be a little OTT I think that a national carrier such as AC is sometimes the first and last impression a visitor has of a country and if this experience is less than positive then it does, even if just to a small extent, reflect negatively on the country. This is the same as LHR reflects badly on the UK.

My own personal experience of AC is flying in economy and they are ok, nothing special but better than many. However I wouldn't expect anything special in Y. When I have flown in J and F my expectations have been much higher and I think what AC have offered the OP in terms of a product wouldn't have lived up to my expectations either. One of the reasons I haven't flown with AC in J is because of the old seats they have in many of their aircraft. With the new XM seats I will be happy to fly AC executive class in the future but not until I'm sufficiently confident that AC's game of musical chairs with aircraft swaps on LHR-YYZ won't leave me with what the OP had to endure.

Oh and just to say also that I love Canada - I'd even go as far to say it is my favourite country all things considered. Can't wait to go back to Vancouver in October (flying VS and AC)
Flown: A300,A319,A320,A321,A330,A340.A380,717,727,737,747,757,767,777,DC9,DC10,MD11,MD80,F100,F50,ERJ,E190,CRJ,BAe146,Da
 
PacNWjet
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:12 am

Aad665 (the poster in reply 17) observes that on Air Canada flights between Canada and Germany he has received for breakfast a variety of items including "cereal, eggs, bacon, fresh fruits, etc." The original poster (Genius12) reports that on the flight in his trip report he received only a croissant and fruit for breakfast, but then later adds in reply 24 that the flight arrived in London an hour ahead of schedule. So here is one possibility: Perhaps the breakfast menu originally included items in addition to the croissant and fruit but was scaled back to accommodate the early arrival at LHR. Just a possibility. I for one would gladly forego the larger breakfast for an hour early arrival after a transatlantic flight. Don't know if this is what happened, but it's possible.
 
AA767LOVER
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:35 am

To the OP: I'm almost 10 years older than you, with 27 years of flying as a passenger, starting from when I was 3. So how old am i now?

I echo what others have said: Fly in the back. Humble yourself (this is my 2 cents). A lot of kids in my church youth group that I work with are even LUCKY and very HAPPY to be able to fly AT ALL.

If u don't like the breakfast, buy on board.
J.I. Tsui, American Advantage Member, United Mileage Plus (Premier)
 
LH423
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 12:52 am

While I think some exaggerations were made in this TR, I will at least say that AC is an airline that can run hot or cold. On AC's best days, they rival some of the best in the world in terms of service. On AC's bad days, they make 1970s Aeroflot look like a welcoming experience. In the end, I think that's ACs biggest downfall: Their inconsistency.

That said, I think AC is still a great airline. Rather than whining about it here, you might try writing AC and seeing if something was up that day. Then again, BA only serve cereal, fruit, and those bacon rolls for breakfast on their BOS-LHR runs. I've only flown AC in J on the westbound on the day after the attempted attacks in London last August and the crew couldn't have been better. The food was delicious, the alcohol was plentiful, and the crew friendly and chatty. So maybe AC only serve a light breakfast on their Transatlantic runs. Was their more to eat for breakfast in the arrivals lounge?

Quoting Genius12 (Thread starter):
The seats were sub-standard without this trouble, being impossible to sleep on due to the lack of a flat bed.

Then that probably has something more to do with you than with the seat. Fact is, flat beds in business class are a relatively new phenomenon. When these seats entered service with AC, 151º was considered a very nice recline. What do you think people did before flat beds? Having flown on the AC A330s I can tell you I found the seat to be very comfortable and my travel companion found the seats easier to sleep in than BA. So, I'm definitely not criticizing your preference for a flat bed, but I have to call a  redflag  on the seats being substandard. Outdated, yes. Uncomfortable, sub-standard, and not conducive for sleep, definitely not.

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
caspritz78
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pic

Thu Aug 30, 2007 3:32 am

Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 29):
ly in the back. Humble yourself (this is my 2 cents). A lot of kids in my church youth group that I work with are even LUCKY and very HAPPY to be able to fly AT ALL.

Sorry but that argument does not help us in this discussion. For example I could answer now that there somewhere kids who can't even can go to a Church group and we could go on with this game for ever.

I think I can understand that Genius12 was disappointed with his executive first experience and I think it is his right to say so. Especially when you go on a vacation trip. But I think saying that it is a national disgrace based on two flights is a little bit over the top.

Anyway AirCanada really should work on their consistency and especially the non refurbished 767 are not competitive at all. Even in economy! I only flew AC twice. Once in a 340 and once in an old style 767 and I was like flying with two different airlines.
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:00 am

Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 29):
To the OP: I'm almost 10 years older than you, with 27 years of flying as a passenger, starting from when I was 3. So how old am i now?

That has absolutley nothing to do with my experience or content of my trip report. My age does not matter. What does it matter if I'm 20 or 90?

Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 29):
I echo what others have said: Fly in the back. Humble yourself

The majority of my flights have been in Economy Class. I am perfectly humble, thank you anyway. I like to treat myself now and again. And yes, of course I feel lucky that I'm able to.

Would you be saying I should fly Economy if I wrote a wonderful report about BA FIRST? Whether good or bad, the fact is I had the money at the time to upgrade. I'm sorry, but just get over the fact that I'm able to fly in J. That fact should not detract from the trip report.
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:25 am

Don't get me wrong, I think Canada is truly a fantastic and beautiful country, with almost everyone I met on my trip very helpful and approachable. I just don't think Air Canada represents the country of Canada very well.

I believe that a trip report is meant to give a flavour of that particular person's experience and opinion on the service they received. No, Air Canada didn't live up to my (perhaps too high) expectations, which is why I commented on it.

I'm not going to write about how wonderful the service and food was when it wasn't, just to please readers.  Smile
 
Lufthansa747
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:34 am

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 31):
Would you be saying I should fly Economy if I wrote a wonderful report about BA FIRST

FIRST, BA or another airline, for me is the only class providing luxury these days. Sure you would have gotten your hot breakfast on BA FIRST on YVR-LHR.

Some people say due to lie flat seats the difference is marginal between C/F, for me it's at least as big as Y/C. C gives you adequate room to not feel like a sardine, that's about it.
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 4:39 am

Quoting Lufthansa747 (Reply 33):
C gives you adequate room to not feel like a sardine, that's about it.

Glad you agree, my feelings exactly.

Whilst the space was ample and the seats are perfect for relaxing, I just don't find them conducive to sleeping. Just my personal opinion - I'm sure other people can sleep quite comfortably on them - I think I made that point in Part 1 of my trip report.  Smile
 
AA767LOVER
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:04 am

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 32):

Thanks for your clarification. Glad to know that you are humble. It's important.
J.I. Tsui, American Advantage Member, United Mileage Plus (Premier)
 
Lufthansa747
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:40 am

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 34):
Glad you agree, my feelings exactly.

I think the majority of frequent C/F travellers would agree. It's the fact this site is full of fanatics who enjoy being squeezed between the cabin wall and 2 people next to them to have a window. That alone in my mind is a nightmare.

Earlier just trying to point out; the more you fly in F/C, the less you care about food, especially breakfasts. BA CW even has only lounge dining on CW sleeper flights nowadays.

Cheers,

Lufthansa 747
Air Asia Super Elite, Cebu Pacific Titanium
 
ba747yyz
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:58 pm

The lower your standards are the less you will be disappointed, thankfully I fly Air Canada so everything seems better than usual. Imagine my excitement when my flight to Halifax last april had AVOD, only 5 years after every other airline.
 
JoePatroni
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Sat Sep 01, 2007 10:05 am

Quoting LH423 (Reply 29):
ACs biggest downfall: Their inconsistency.

Couldn't have said it better.
The only thing Air Canada is consistent about... is being inconsistent.

Other than that, no hard feelings Genius12. You're a very lucky young man to be able to fly J class internationally. I think you just ruffled a few feathers by calling this experience you had with AC a National Disgrace.

It seems as if AC is trying hard lately to "up the ante" and hopefully next time you fly them your expectations will be surpassed.

Are your expectations too high? Perhaps, but that's not for us to judge.

Regardless, I've enjoyed reading your report and the comments that followed. Thank you.
Oh Stewardess, I speak Jive.
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pic

Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:03 am

Quoting JoePatroni (Reply 38):
Regardless, I've enjoyed reading your report and the comments that followed. Thank you.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. As I've said before, perhaps the title title was a bit harsh, but then again it does read 'A National Disgrace?' with a question mark, implying I thought I'd start a discussion on it. And I certainly did that.  Smile
 
AY104
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:41 am

Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 4):
t is a privilege to fly J. For others, it seems like a Forbidden Zone because they have economic restrictions that they cannot afford it.

I don't really understand your point. This guy paid for an upgrade, and did not receive the service he deserves. Whether or not, however, a person has paid or receives a complimentary upgrade, the service should be something that the airline should take a pride in. I am one of those who does have economic restrictions and cannot afford to fly F or J. That is not a problem for me, and I certainly don't resent the person who can afford it. Neither do I feel that I am in the position of criticizing that person because they are not getting service to which they are entitled.
I travelled Transatlantic last year on AC, in Y, and it certainly was nothing to brag about. I agree that the comments "national disgrace" are a bit strong, but based on my experiences recently on AC across the Atlantic, and also the trip reports in this forum, my choice next time would likely be a carrier other than AC. I am Canadian, but I am not blindly patriotic. While Canada is a great country, and overall AC is a pretty good airline, I don't take offense when some offfers a legitimate criticism. I also read his trip report inbound to Calgary, and from what I could see that trip also left quite a bit to be desired. I too felt that the catering looked subpar compared to what I have seen and read about regarding the other carriers.
Cheers,
AY104
The only thing a customer should expect for his/her loyalty is good service
 
APFPilot1985
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Sun Sep 02, 2007 11:56 am

Quoting Genius12 (Reply 21):
If you're paying upwards of £1500 each for the upgrade to J, I think it's right to expect a little bit extra. You wouldn't pay an upgrade in a hotel and find yourself in a room overlooking a brick wall.

Did you actually pay this extra 1500?
Stand Up and Be Counted Visit Site Related to Voice your opinion
 
ThePRGuy
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:53 pm

Quoting AA767LOVER (Reply 28):
I echo what others have said: Fly in the back. Humble yourself (this is my 2 cents). A lot of kids in my church youth group that I work with are even LUCKY and very HAPPY to be able to fly AT ALL.

Sorry I think you are a bit of a moron.

I fly in J whenever possible, I pay the premium because I enjoy using lounges, express baggage and boarding, it makes the whole experience a lot LESS STRESSFUL.

What should I do instead, buy a Y coach ticket and donate the rest to your church youth group?  rotfl 

TR AGP-ZRH-GVA-LCY in J with swiss coming soon!

Alex
Heathrow has been described as the only building site to have its own airport.
 
FURUREFA
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Sun Sep 02, 2007 10:33 pm

Quoting Aad665 (Reply 17):
All americain carriers...they are sub-standard.

I don't know if that's true. From what I have seen AA (i'm using American as an example because that's what I know), provides better service across the atlantic. Portions are bigger, a hot breakfast is served on DFW/ORD/LAX - Europe flights on two class aircraft in J, service on the 767 in J are comparable to our 777 in F.

AC's new project XM aircraft look amazing, the only thing they need to improve is the catering. Then, AC will have one of the best International J products in North America.


Matt
 
Genius12
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:42 am

Quoting APFPilot1985 (Reply 41):
Did you actually pay this extra 1500?

Er, yes. That's why I feel just a little disappointed with the service.
 
Genius12
Topic Author
Posts: 246
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Mon Sep 03, 2007 1:43 am

Quoting FURUREFA (Reply 43):
AC's new project XM aircraft look amazing, the only thing they need to improve is the catering. Then, AC will have one of the best International J products in North America.

Agreed. Maybe if I'd flown an XM aircraft, I would have been a bit happier!  Smile
 
bok269
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Mon Sep 03, 2007 2:01 am

Great report. Sorry to hearthe lfight didn't go as you expected.
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
cedarjet
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:06 am

Well I do agree that Air Canada is very poor, which is surprising cos Canada is such a friendly and switched-on bunch of people, but the national airline has all the worst trappings of US carriers, Deltaflot at their worst eg tired old 767s, old and bitter cabin crew etc. In the ranks of cabin crew there are certainly exceptions but I am never impressed by my flights on AC, beyond that they run on time and are affordable, which actually is the only criteria that count. It's only if you're looking for anything beyond the basics that AC run into trouble.

According to your scoring system, you actually gave them 47 out of 80, which = 58.75%, five-and-three-quarters out of ten. Which actually is exactly what I would give Air Canada, it's on time and the plane is fairly clean and I can afford to fly it. Five out of ten. The extra three quarters of a point is cos if you're flying Air Canada, the good news is you're probably going to Canada, or you're returning home from there after having another great adventure.
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
Genius12
Topic Author
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Tue Sep 04, 2007 5:30 am

Quoting Cedarjet (Reply 47):
According to your scoring system, you actually gave them 47 out of 80, which = 58.75%, five-and-three-quarters out of ten. Which actually is exactly what I would give Air Canada, it's on time and the plane is fairly clean and I can afford to fly it. Five out of ten. The extra three quarters of a point is cos if you're flying Air Canada, the good news is you're probably going to Canada, or you're returning home from there after having another great adventure.

True about that 3/4 of a point - Canada is certainly a great country!

From my recent experiences with Air Canada in international J, the best things about the service seem to be the airside procedures - almost flawless. Just a shame about the onboard service that I experienced - after all, the inflight experience is the most important part of a journey.
 
brilondon
Posts: 3046
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RE: AC Executive First - A National Disgrace? (pics)

Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:49 am

Quoting Airbear (Reply 14):
Hi Genius12 ... ummm... I have to say that what you describe seems to have been a pretty good but not spectacular flight, in a pretty good but not spectacular J-class. I haven't ever travelled with AC, so I have no idea if the service levels you experienced were typical of AC or not.

My point ? You are very young, my friend. I suggest that on your way to becoming a knowledgeable air traveller, you "pay your dues", and do some serious hours flying down the back of the plane for a change. That would give you a whole new perspective.

Cheers, Airbear.

I was thinking the same thing. I still think that there are some people who need to remember what it is was like to travel fifteen years ago when lie flat seats where only for extremely long haul flights and there was no such thing as AVOD.  gasp  Yes no AVOD. I agree that AC's Executive first does have some things to be desired but use their Y cabin for a long flight and you will appreciate the Executive First that much more my friend.  bigthumbsup 
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