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JON UNDERWOOD reviews his business class flight with Air Canada.

ORIGINALLY, THIS review was going to start somewhat differently.

A text the night before my flight informing me of a 90-minute delay to my scheduled take-off time had me in a bit of a tizzy.

Would I make all my connections? Would I catch up with my luggage? Would my plans for a spare day to get over the jetlag come to nought?

These thoughts were still mulling through my head as I sat in the departure lounge…when suddenly my name was called over the pa.

A new boarding pass was issued and it’s always a very good sign when your seat number begins and ends with 1. I’d been upgraded and was about to sample the airline’s Signature Service aboard a Boeing 777.

And so it was I settled myself into seat 1G for Air Canada flight AC34 from Sydney to Vancouver, heading for the Rendevous Canada 2023 event in Quebec. My trip was certainly off to the best of starts.

There’s always a moment when you get on a plane where you wonder just how good your seat is going to be. 1G was right at the front of the business class cabin, which was set out in a 1-2-1 format.

Barely had I sat down than a glass of sparkling wine was offered, which I sipped as I began to take in my unexpectedly lux surroundings.

The cabin was tastefully decorated in neutral tones. A low barrier separated me from the gent sitting in 1d, which allowed for conversation or privacy, depending on your mood.

Slippers and headphones awaited, along with a bottle of water and an Acqua di Parma amenities kit which included socks, a dental kit, ear plugs, hand cream and face mask.

I liked the sheer simplicity of my business pod. One button to control the seat, a handy storage compartment for my phone, passport and boarding pass, and a seat cover and duvet for that all important sleep.

Despite being 1.82metres tall, I could easily wiggle my feet when my seat was in the lie-flat position and the huge TV screen offered a multitude of movies, TV and other entertainment for the 14-hour flight.

After some warm nuts and a refreshing beverage, lunch appeared. Like many airlines today, Air Canada has some of the finest local chefs onboard for its meal selections, delivering restaurant quality food that showcases the country’s culinary offerings from coast to coast.

I had the red wine braised beef cheek with garlic herb smashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts and baby carrots, all washed down with a yummy Sophenia Altosur Malbec from Argentina.

There was ample choice on the menu for the non-meat eaters and this course was followed by cheese and dessert, all served by the cheery Faizana. AC also have ‘Dine on Demand’ so if you need to work or sleep, they’ll keep your food warm for you.

Having feasted, it was time to do some work and for $20 Canadian you can have Wi-Fi access for the whole flight. Magazines don’t proof read themselves so I spent a good couple of hours checking that the pages of our June issue were up to scratch.

Once that was out of the way, it was time to lie back and enjoy a movie. Sadly, I can’t tell you what happened to the princess trying to save the world from catastrophe as I feel asleep almost as soon as it started. Maybe on the way home…

For the remainder of the flight there were snacks available at the front of the cabin until breakfast was served 90-minutes before landing. The waffles smelled delicious but I contented myself with an equally yummy muesli and some fresh fruit.

All too soon my business class experience came to an end as we arrived in Vancouver on schedule and ready for the next leg of my cross Canada journey.

Upgrades don’t come around very often in the travel game anymore but are always welcome, particularly on long-haul flights. The business class service on Air Canada left me feeling relaxed, refreshed and hoping for a similar slice of good fortune on the way home. No pressure…

Flight Number: AC34

Route: Sydney to Vancouver

Date: May 28, 2023

Seat Number: 1G (Business Class)

Aircraft: Boeing 777-200LR

Baggage allowance: 64kg (2 x 32kgs included)

Flight time: 14 hours 35 minutes.