TRIP REPORT: Air Canada, San Francisco - Toronto

TRIP REPORT


Airline: Air Canada
Route: SFO – YYZ
Trip taken: March 2018
Scheduled time: 4 hours 48 minutes

Air Canada (this was not Air Canada Rouge flight) operates San Francisco – Toronto route with a variety of equipment. This flight was operated by a wide body Boeing 767-300ER. At the time of thistrip, Air Canada had 10 763’s in the fleet ranging in age from approximately 27 to 30 years. It is equipped with 24 business class seats similar to Air Serbia A330 business class seats and 187 economy class seats.


San Francisco International Airport is one of the top 10 airports in the US with more than 55 million passengers in 2017. It has four terminals including International Terminal used for this flight. Airport’s unique location by the San Francisco Bay and four runway operations provide scenic backdrop for enjoying side-by-side parallel departures and arrivals. On the day of the trip SFO was operating using the typical West Plan with runways 28L and 28R for parallel arrivals and runways 1L and 1R for parallel departures.


Boarding was orderly with assigned seating zone boarding policy. Flight was full or almost full yet boarding went smooth due to efficient two aisle, 2-3-2 seating. Shortly afterwards I experienced another Air Canada zoned boarding to a full, 450 seat Boeing 777-300ER that can best be described as a zoo, despite valiant cabin crew effort to manage boarding in a dense 3-4-3 configuration.


For this SFO-YYZ flight I opted for a Standard Tango Economy pricing tier, out of five economy class fare tiers. While Air Canada is almost never described as a hybrid airline, this traditional mainline started offering choice to consumers while increasing their revenue. Standard Economy fare does not include any food or snacks, checked baggage and seat selection are also not included. That gave me an opportunity to customize this medium haul flight to my taste. I chose to add one checked bag for about 17 EUR, beef sandwich and snack combo for about 6.5 EUR and exit row seating with extra legroom for about 41 EUR. For a total of only 65 EUR (price per one way leg, not return trip) I increased comfort and selected options that are important to me.


Takeoff from Runway 1L was smooth, banking to the left to provide nice view of the city and the bay.
Service was efficient, courteous and professional, with crew accepting only credit cards for buy on board payments. Cash is not accepted. Without any purchase, economy service on this flight with a block time of 4:48 includes only a free water or a soft drink.



After almost three decades in the air this plane shows its age. Wi-Fi service is not available on AC 767 fleet. While Air Canada’s Thales in-flight entertainment system has a good selection of recent media content, IFE and seating are a step back from superior Panasonic eX3 system and newer seats available on Air Canada 777 and 787 aircraft. Mood lighting is intense and not to everyone’s taste.
Most of this generally smooth flight aircraft spent cruising at 37,000 feet, making it to Toronto before scheduled time. Air Canada in Toronto uses modern Terminal 1 facility with organized but still long lines for passport checkpoint.




Less known fact: Air Canada allows travelers as young as 12 to be seated in the exit row.

Summary: Enjoyable flight and service, with aging cabin interior as a minor negative.



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Comments

  1. Great report. I did not know that Air Canada is hybrid airliner.

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    Replies
    1. Me neither. Very interesting!

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    2. You can call it a hybrid or a glorified LCC if you want. Every classic airline will become one and charge for food, baggage or seat selection sooner or later.

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  2. Could it be the same B767 that landed on a deserted runway after it had been left with no fuel? That happened in the eighties. Few years ago it was still in service with AC.

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    Replies
    1. It is not the same plane. That one retired in 2008.

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  3. I believe that the B767 you are talking about (nickname Gimli Glider) was a 767-200 abdit is not in service anymore:)

    Air Canada is hibrid airline on most North American routes, where on international it is a full on legacy carrier. Air Canada Rouge though (vacation division) is a like Aviolet.

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  4. How much did you pay for the ticket?

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    Replies
    1. This trip was part of a larger itinerary purchased together. Pricing was in the similar range as for non-stop options between two cities, look up pricing online.

      I selected SFO-YYZ part of the itinerary for this report as it shows flying on a three decade old aircraft with food and baggage surcharges is not uncommon as some Air Serbia critics would like us to believe.

      One notable difference is exit row seat pricing. On this Air Canada flight it was 41 eur while on 3:05 hour BEG-LHR Air Serbia flight I only had to pay 12 eur for the exit row seat. Food pricing was similar.

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    2. We are not claiming that surcharges for food are uncommon just shameful for European legacy carrier. That is a difference.
      Thanks for a nice report. :)

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    3. There were similar comments when Air Canada started charging for food but over time people realized BoB is not going away as most airlines in North America are doing the same. It will take some time for passengers to get used to it. Airlines are now starting to offer more choices including salad bowls, sushi, organic and gluten free. Customer like to have that choice unlike old "cheese sandwich is included" model.

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