Flight Review: Air Canada AC215 Calgary to Vancouver – There is nothing like that new plane smell

It’s time for another Bill W review for you!
Bill is a true road warrior, his work has him driving and flying
across Western and Central Canada every week while staying in a variety
hotels from a variety of chains.  Bill has been reading, following and
even giving Rewards Canada tips and updates for a very long time so let’s welcome him back with this contribution!  COVID-19 put a stop to much of his travels for awhile but he’s back at it now!

I am on my first Air Canada flight of 2021 and was booked on Air Canada’s newest aircraft, the A220-200. For this flight I was able to upgrade to Business Class which on this aircraft is 3 rows, 12 seats.  

The new seats are very comfortable. One of the more noticeable new options is the addition of a leg rest that comes up from the bottom of your seat, much like a recliner you might have in your home. It extends automatically when you push the button, though you will have to push it back into place manually. The seat recline is very smooth, though I did find that you had to push firmly to make it recline.

The seat tray is of course located in the armrest, but they have added a new feature that make getting the tray out much easier. There is a button at the back of the tray storage that pops the tray up about six inches. Much easier than the older trays that tended to get stuck on occasion. 

The 13” TV screen is much larger than on other aircraft, and quite easy on the eyes. Picture quality is exceptionally good, with the controls physically located on the bottom of the screen as opposed to being part of the screen. The touch screen is very responsive and does not require a lot of pressure to operate. (I am sure we’ve all experienced the frustration on older screens of trying to get it to respond and finding the calibration is a bit off). The controls are well labelled and extremely easy to use. The entertainment system has been greatly enhanced. You not only have access to Movies, TV and Music & Audio choices, but Weather forecasts from around the world and the News (Top stories, Business, Sports, People & Entertainment, Technology & Science). The 3D flight map is very good and easy to read.

There is also a Games section with a wide variety of games to keep the kids (or those young at heart) occupied. The only flaw on this flight was that the entertainment system was unavailable until about 15 minutes after takeoff, not really sure why it wasn’t turned on once the safety demonstration had been completed.

The USB and power ports took a bit of searching to find. They are located at the front of the small storage bin in the centre console. This location is actually not too bad to use as the wires are beside you and not hanging down in front of you. Less likely for you to get tangled up in them if you leave your seat.

For this flight we were served a light snack consisting of a fresh garden salad (tossed greens, tomatoes, olives and cheese) along with some crackers and almonds. The drink selection was the usual soft drinks, tea, coffee, water along with some wine. (Ice was not offered, but is available on request). One of the more noticeable (though not inconvenient) changes was the elimination of the glass glasses and the use of single serve plastic glasses due to COVID-19. There was a nice message card in with the meal explaining the various meal changes. 

The Flight Attendants were very polite and professional and attended well to any passenger concerns and service. The safety demonstration (which was done live and not pre-recorded) was very easy to hear.  By contrast, the announcements during the flight were not easy to hear as they were quite low in volume.

The flight itself was quite uneventful, the aircraft was very smooth in flight. The landing in Vancouver was good, but the deceleration after the revere thrusters were activated was a bit jerky. Not sure if that was due to the runway or the braking procedures, but it was not a major issue.

Overall, the comfort level on this aircraft was exceptionally good. The overhead storage bins were quite large and roomy and able to accommodate all sizes of carry-on luggage. When you are booking your flights, you can see what type of aircraft will be flying that route. If you have the opportunity, I would suggest trying to book on one of these newer aircraft for a satisfying flight experience. 

Title image and image of the seats courtesy of Air Canada – all other images by Bill W.