Alas, this post was meant to be a head to head, a la my ANA vs. JAL business class review. We were originally flying (by means of points) Air Canada business class to our three month France stay, and British Airways home. But due to extremely annoying events involving an extra hour stuck on the tarmac and the eventual missing of our flight, we were bumped back to Air Canada business on a later flight home.

While this headache (plus some temporarily lost luggage) was frustrating, it did afford me the opportunity to sink myself into the drinking and dining of Air Canada twice, going each way across the Atlantic, thus providing me with a very thorough accounting of just how well their business class product stacks up to some stiff sky-high competition.

Drinking in Air Canada Business Class: 6/10

Gotta kick a Sublime Imbibing review off with the booze right? Let’s start with the selection which, I regret to inform those who like to tipple at altitude, is rather limited and bland. The wine is ok, and there was real Champagne served on both crossings (Joseph-Perrier Brut, and Duval Leroy respectively). And that Champagne, I might add, was offered as a pre-flight serving on the return journey which I always consider a high-gloss touch.

There’s a limited but nicely curated selection of reds and whites — I enjoyed a Zuccardi Malbec and a Babylon Peak South African Chenin Blanc. But that’s where the good news stops. Air Canada business dissapoints entirely with its spirits offerings. Cheap, bottom shelf liquor, with the only “rye” on offer the garden variety Crown Royal, and the only scotch the Johnnie Walker Black. It’s like an open bar at the affordable all inclusive resort your cousin had their wedding at. Air Canada is probably the only airline I abstain from a whisky on.

The beer is no better (although that’s nothing new on business class flights, regardless of the airline). Macro domestic slop and a token “craft” offering. You’d think here a Canadian airline could really stand out, maybe partner with a craft brewery to produce a Air Canada-exclusive beer. But no.

Anyways, the pre-flight real Champagne and decent wine nets them a 6 (I’m feeling generous).

Dining in Air Canada Business Class: 7/10

The dining in Air Canada business class can be hit and miss. The misses are truly scarring, but the ones I recall most vividly were served out of sealed plastic during a major covid wave, so I’ll give them a pass. Most recently on our Trans-Atlantic flight, I was pleased for the most part with much of what we had.

The low points are always the breakfasts, which seem to either consist of way too much fruit, or the worst omelette you’ve ever conceived of in your life. This seems to be a tough nut to crack for a lot of airlines, so take it with a grain of salt.

The dinner/snack selection is generally much better, even pretty damn good. There was butter chicken on the menu on our return flight which I wanted so badly after three months of French food. But it was sold out long before it reached us, so I sprung for some white fish/risotto thing, which ended up being shockingly tasty. Christine was delighted when snack time came around and we were offered a selection of high-tea style scones and finger sandwhiches. I thought it was a nice, classy touch.

Overall, I’d brace yourself for some inconsistency, but when its good, the dining on Air Canada buisiness class is really quite good indeed.

Being in Air Canada’s Business Class: 7/10

Air Canada has, charitably, a less-than outstanding reputation, particularly as it pertains to their up-market offerings. But I think that opinion might be a bit outdated, as the business class experience (at least their trans-continental flights) are pretty high-gloss.

Let’s get the good stuff stated. The pods and chairs are excellent! Lots of room and storage, everything feels very accessible, and even when fully reclined I found the bed situation to be sufficient for a little shut-eye. The screen is big and bright, and the media selection damn decent. You’re getting your money (or points) worth from these pods.

Now on to the “meh.” The amenity kits are laughably sparse, and feel included as an after thought. Service, for which Air Canada gets a lot of negative feedback is just ok. It’s not overly friendly (I don’t expect gushing fake deference or anything), and feels like it can be slow at times. This is true over the several different trips we’ve taken with Air Canada, and I think might be endemic to the airline.

Overall experience on Air Canada Business Class: 6.75/10

Air Canada gets maybe too bad of a rap. It offers a fine product that is more than sufficient for any but the snootiest, over-pampered travellers. But its spirits selection is abhorent, and there’s probably room for improvement in the service area too — I mean, we did groan out loud when we found out we were bumped from British Airways to Air Canada. Take that for what you will.