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Flight review – Air Canada Business Class, Paris – Montreal

After my flight to Paris and a short stopover it was time for the first long haul flight of my 5-month travel season.

A fortuitous deal meant that this would be in Air Canada’s Signature Business Class.

As my flight was leaving from Terminal 2, I started my travel day in the Extime contract lounge rather than the Star Alliance Lounge in Terminal 1.

The lounge was located after security but before passport control and offered a reasonable selection of food and drink.

After around an hour in the lounge I boarded the flight and settled in.

This flight was operated by a 777-300ER with business class seating in a 1-2-1 configuration. All business class seats on this aircraft offer a fully flat bed and direct aisle access.

I was given a small amenity kit and a pre-departure glass of champagne.

The dinner service began shortly after take-off with nuts and another glass of champagne.

The menu and choice of drinks offered an impressive array of options.

The appetiser was tasty and the salad was fresh.

For the main course, I was informed that the beef cheeks were not available. This was not an issue for me, as I had already chosen the chicken curry.

The curry was tasty and unusually for an airline meal, had a nice spicy kick.

I chose the Côtes du Rhône white wine to accompany the main course and this was generously poured and regularly topped up.

I finished off the meal with the cheese platter, a glass or two of port and a couple of brandies.

By this stage there were only around four hours left of the flight, so I decided to put my seat into flat-bed mode for a short nap.

I had a nice two-hour sleep before a light pre-arrival meal of Arabic mezze with fruit and coffee was served, along with a couple of tasty little chocolates.

After this, we began our descent to Montreal, where I had a one-night layover before continuing to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

Air Canada’s Signature Class was a very relaxing experience and a thoroughly civilised way to begin my long-haul travels.

I can recommend this product as a very solid option for a trans-Atlantic flight.

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Flight review – LOT Business Class, Warsaw – Chicago

Finally it was time to get into the long-haul phase of my travels, starting with a 7,000 mile US road trip.

But first, there was the small matter of crossing the Atlantic.

I managed to pick up a reasonable deal with LOT Polish Airlines, coming in at a little over €1,600 (£1,400) for the Business Class round trip from Stockholm to Chicago.

After my short connection from Stockholm it was time for the transatlantic leg.

Business Class seats on LOT’s 787-9 are in a 2-2-2 configuration. As a single traveller, I chose 4D in the centre pair, to avoid the climbover factor in the window pairs.

As my seatmate had already settled in by the time I boarded, I snapped a quick photo of the inoperative 3C-D pair in the next row, which are identical.

Shortly after take-off, the meal service began with a choice of drink and a small amuse-bouche, while meal choices were requested.

I chose the onion soup, which was tasty and came with a side salad.

For the main course I chose the pork neck, which was nicely presented, tender and tasty.

The meal was rounded off with a selection of fruit and cheese, followed by a well presented latte macchiato and a couple of sweet, but delicious cherry vodkas.

After lunch, the effects of my early start began to show (or maybe it was the cherry vodka) and I settled down for a short nap.

LOT’s Business Class seats recline to a fully flat position and a “short nap” turned into four solid hours of undisturbed sleep.

Shortly before arrival in Chicago, a second meal was served, this time all on one tray rather than course by course.

The pasta dish was accompanied by salmon and meat appetisers and fresh fruit.

Overall, this was a pleasant flight and certainly felt shorter than the 10 hour block time.

LOT’s Business Class is a solid product and offers a civilised way to cross the Atlantic.

At the price I paid, I would definitely not hesitate to book it again.

Is Business Class worth it?

This is a debate which has been raging for years and will undoubtedly continue.

Those nice big, comfortable seats at the front of the plane always look terribly inviting, but how much are you really willing to pay out in order to travel in style?

A typical long haul business class fare can set you back literally thousands. For some people this is not an issue, particularly when someone else is paying. However, for the typical leisure traveller the cost can be literally prohibitive, especially if you are travelling in a family group. For the cost of a round trip upgrade for a family of four, you can check into a nice hotel for a couple of weeks and still have money left over for a rental car and outings. When opportunity cost comes into play, the other things you can do with that money clearly heavily outweigh 8 hours of relative comfort.

However, there are times when the pointy end of the plane definitely makes sense. I came across an obvious example of this last year, when I found myself in Tanzania and decided at the last minute to relocate to Florida for the winter. Due to the ongoing covid situation, I had no idea of what my next move would be or when I would eventually return to Europe. Clearly a one-way ticket was the only sensible option. However, a last minute one-way was pricing up at around $1,600 in economy.

This is where frequent flyer miles come in. I was able to book a one-way ticket for 75,000 American Airlines miles (about a third of my remaining stack) and minimal taxes. $1,600 of savings for the use of 75,000 miles is quite a good deal even at face value. Except that the mileage ticket was in Qatar Airways’ world beating private QSuites. This was an absolute no brainer and I spent the next 27 hours lounging in almost the almost empty business class cabins, eating my way through multiple courses and sampling some of the nicest wines and champagnes I have had for quite a while.

In conclusion, although economy class has been my traditional default option for air travel, there are often bargains to be had up front and if this is the case, there is often no reason not to go for it.

Do you think premium class travel is worth the price tag? Check out our Air travel discussion forum and share your opinion.

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