With new aircraft technology making a world of difference to long haul travel savvy passengers are not only choosing their favourite destinations and airlines, they now look to fly on their favourite aircraft type, with the Dreamliner often top of the list. Air Canada has unveiled its upgraded Signature Class product on Dreamliner flights between Brisbane and Vancouver and we've been lucky enough to try it out.
The daily flight departs Brisbane at 10.40am, arriving in Vancouver at 7.35am local time. Both at check-in and boarding Signature Class passengers have dedicated lanes and are fast tracked through security screening. With Border Force Smart Gate technology both screening and immigration took all of 10 minutes.
Signature Class passengers are welcome in the Air New Zealand Business Lounge at Brisbane Airport where passenger can see the Air Canada aircraft, as well as sweeping views across the airfield and to Brisbane city. The walk from the lounge to gate is less than a few minutes, with priority boarding providing a seamless experience.
On-board Signature Class guests are offered a glass of champagne, sparkling water or OJ, and a warm towelette and a bowl of roasted nuts after take-off.
While pyjamas are not provided, guests receive a smart black amenities kit by Want Les Essentiels with eye mask, socks, Vitruvius hand cream and lip balm, toothbrush and paste, ear plugs and glass cleaning cloth. There is also noise cancelling ear phones, slippers, sleep mattress, blanket and pillow.
The 30 per cent larger windows and eight foot vaulted ceilings of the B787-800 aircraft gives the cabin an instant feeling of opulence. Surprisingly this extends to the lavatory which also has a large window so your 42,000 foot view is uninterrupted.
The 20 Executive Pods laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration provides privacy, as well as aisle access for every passenger.
Living up to its name, the Dreamliner offers a superior long haul experience with lower cabin altitude, better air filtration, full spectrum LED lighting and reduced engine noise all contributing to less fatigue and jet lag. Smooth Ride technology also makes automatic adjustments to reduce the effects of turbulence.
Adjustable seat preferences such as massage capable head rest, lumber support and the ability to make the seat density firmer or softer allows passengers to personalise their experience down to the smallest detail. There is also universal power, points, USB outlets and generous working and storage space.
Food and drinks
The meals were tasty and super fresh. Four main courses are offered for lunch including roasted lamb, duck red curry, barramundi, and pasta with truffle cream, bookended by an appetiser of smoked salmon with flying fish roe and avocado salsa, and cheeses and strawberry cheese cake, fresh fruit or ice cream for desert. Light bites including creamy chicken and mushroom tarragon pie, prosciutto bean salad or a hot pastrami, pickle and onion sandwich, can be offered at anytime.
Wines from Spain, Italy, Portugal and French grace the drinks menu, with the only Canadian wine a Pinot Noir from Niagara that paired beautifully with the lamb. Lavazza espresso is a welcome surprise, as was the Signature bourbon, ginger ale, lemonade and maple syrup cocktail.
Across all classes passengers can select from 600 hours of viewing options including the latest film, TV and music with Signature Class enjoying generous 18 inch entertainment screens.