It was hard to ignore the enticing photos on the Air Canada website and the proposition to “pamper yourself with Premium Economy” promising superior comfort in a dedicated cabin, premium meal service, enhanced amenities, and priority airport services. But, after a recent flight in Air Canada Premium Economy from Shanghai to Vancouver, I wish I had. Learn more about my experience in this Air Canada Premium Economy Review.
Air Canada Premium Economy Pre-Flight Beverage Service
The Air Canada website states that Premium Economy passengers “will enjoy a welcome beverage as you settle into your seat”. In my experience, the pre-flight beverage service is typically personal, allowing the flight crew to connect with premium class passengers and often celebratory i.e. a glass of something sparkling.
Unfortunately, this was not the case in Air Canada’s Premium Economy cabin, where the welcome drink was an afterthought. At least thirty minutes past before a crew member walked through the fully boarded Premium Economy cabin and offered passengers a plastic glass of water or orange juice.
Air Canada Premium Economy In-Flight Food and Beverage Service
The menu listed a choice between meals as promised, but the food was tragic, and miles from the “premium cuisine” promoted on the Air Canada website.
My recent flight from Shanghai to Vancouver was at the end of a vacation in Asia where I flew fourteen times and tasted meals in all classes of service including Business Class on United and Economy Class on Bangkok Airways and Dragon Air. The meals served in Air Canada Premium Economy were the worst.
China and Glassware
The Air Canada website states that Premium Economy passengers will be offered, “delicious hot meals served in a china casserole with glassware and cutlery”. The meals may have been hot, but they weren’t delicious, and the use of china and glassware was limited. One of the meals was in a plastic container and with one exception, the beverages were in plastic or Styrofoam cups.
Air Canada Premium Economy Cabin
Premium Economy passengers can select a seat when booking their ticket, and I did. At check-in, I received a different seat in an undesirable location – aisle, centre row, at the bulkhead, and across from the lavatory. Although airlines advise that seat availability may differ at check-in, I have never been moved to an inferior seat before this Air Canada flight.
I spoke with a Gate Agent and the Purser about the situation, and they offered me an aisle seat in Economy located further away from the lavatory.
Air Canada Premium Economy Review – Summary
Is it worth flying Air Canada Premium Economy? Not from my perspective. Although I appreciated the priority check-in and boarding, the rest of the Premium Economy experience was inconsistent with what Air Canada promoted on their website and not worth the premium price I paid.
At the time of booking, a one-way ticket was $800 in Economy, $2550 in Premium Economy, and $3500+ in Business Class. While I didn’t expect Business Class service and amenities in the Premium Economy cabin, I expected Air Canada to offer the premium experience described on their website. I paid for delicious hot meals served on china with proper glassware and superior comfort in a dedicated cabin. Instead, I received lousy food in a plastic container, tea in a Styrofoam cup, and an uncomfortable seat.
It was a long, uncomfortable flight, and I did not feel “pampered in Premium Economy” as promised. I followed up with Air Canada and outlined the inconsistencies between the Premium Economy product they advertise and the quality and service I experienced. Air Canada offered a $100 voucher for use on a future flight. Do you think this is fair? What are your thoughts on this Air Canada Premium Economy Review?