Thursday, December 6, 2018

Flight Review: Air Canada Business Class AC578/579 Calgary - Los Angeles (YYC-LAX)

Catching up on a flight review from the summer where the Rewards Canada family once again made our way to Southern California. I have to admit we love it down there and with it being a mere three hours or less by plane from Calgary, we do frequent it quite often. Whether it’s the LA area, San Diego, San Francisco or Palm Springs you can easily get there from Calgary. I have to be honest I have lost count how many times we have gone now but it’s been something in the neighborhood of at least a dozen times in the last 4 or so years and lately most of the flights to LAX have been in business class on Air Canada. Why? It usually prices cheaper than WestJet Plus (now called Premium) and each time we’ve booked, the business class fares weren’t much more than Air Canada or WestJet's economy class prices, especially when you factor in seat selection fees, baggage fees, food and drinks that you have to pay for with those economy fares. Such was the case for the flights in this review, there were five of us traveling and all booked into business class for roughly $50 more per person than we would have paid in economy class after you include all the various extras that economy brings.

The flight down (AC578) was operated with an older Airbus A320 as is typical for this route. A red alert was literally called just a minute or two before push back as a major storm blew threw and delayed us by over an hour for the departure to LAX.
The storm that kept us on the ground looms over the YYC Marriott
Business class had one seat open on the way down which happened to be the seat beside mine (I was in 4A) and the the other four in our party took up row 3 in front of me.
Seat 3A
Once in the air the flight was non eventful with great service from flight attendant looking after the business class cabin.
AC's hot nuts and drinks
The storm that delayed us:

And the nice view from 4A:

 This is the menu from the service on AC578 to LAX.

I had the cheese tortellini which was pretty good. In fact I usually go for this one as the chicken dishes are well, airline chicken dishes. Granted the rest of the family got the chicken and it was edible. The lemon chiffon cake is a decent dessert while the salad is pretty much the same one with the slight variation on the adder (Feta, seeds etc.) that is seen on these flights.

We arrived at LAX about an hour after the scheduled arrival time and the Priority Bag service worked well! All of our bag were in the first batch out on the carousel and we were out catching out Uber probably 25 minutes after arriving.

On to the return flight:

If you haven’t flown Air Canada to/from LAX in sometime you may not be aware that they moved from Terminal 6 from Terminal 2 early in 2017. Terminal 6 isn’t too bad and is comparable to Terminal 2. Dropping our bags off took sometime as the agent was trying to help people who were having some sort of issues. We were second in line in the Priority Check in lane and waited close to half an hour to drop our bags off. Having Nexus and registering our numbers prior to departure meant we had TSA Pre check (including one of travelers who doesn’t have Nexus) and that made clearing security a breeze. There is an Air Canada Maple Leaf lounge here in Terminal 6. The lounge is smaller than the one they had in T2 hence it is no longer accessible to Priority Pass members. You can read my review of this lounge here.

On the return the 5 of us had business class all to ourselves and the flight attendant commented on how it was like he was attending a cozy family dinner with us.  Here are some shots of the empty cabin:

And the return flight menu:
Once again I went with the cheese pasta and the others went with the Chicken. All in all the food was pretty good, not stunning, but good.

The rest of the return flight was uneventful and easy.  Overall these flights were great as we have normally experience in Air Canada Business Class. We've never really had any issues flying Air Canada, the service has always been good and for the most part things like Priority Baggage has worked in our favour. I would definitely recommend people don't look past the little bit extra you may pay for Business Class on these shorter routes as I find it is totally worth it. I’m also excited that Air Canada has now launched service from Calgary to Palm Springs and it’s not Rouge - it’s mainline aircraft like the one in this review and that they have replaced Rouge for their flights to Phoenix. Might have to book to one of those cities soon!

The flights in this review were purchased on the American Express Gold Card which earns 2 Membership Rewards points per dollar spend on travel which translates to 2 Aeroplan miles per dollar. No other card actually offers this many Aeroplan miles for travel bookings!