by Ron Bernthal
Air Canada’s nonstop, morning flight from Newark (EWR) to Vancouver (YVR) departs daily at 7:00 am from Terminal A providing an early arrival in Vancouver, with plenty of time to have lunch downtown, and the rest of the afternoon for business or leisure.
My flight, AC#549, boarded at 6:35 am and I was able to breeze through the special Priority security lane using my Executive Class boarding pass. The aircraft, an Airbus A319-100, had a pristine-looking blue and grey interior, 120 seats in coach, but only 14 in the business cabin, in a 2×2 configuration, which means a spacious 39″ pitch seat, and 10″ personal TV/movie screen in the seat-back (or on the front cabin wall for bulk head passengers like myself). The business-class seats on the A319 do not fully recline into a flat seat position, but go recline far enough to stretch out and enjoy the scheduled 6:20 hour flight across the entire width of North America.
Lift-off from Newark was at 7:14 am, and we quickly gained altitude to rise above the cloud layer and into the morning sun. I fiddled with the entertainment system, but found the distance from my bulkhead seat to the touch screen a little too long, and using the remote was a slower process. It’s a lot easier to touch the screen if you have a seat in front of you. The system included a nice selection of Hollywood films, as well as some Canadian independent movies, CBC News, documentary videos, and satellite radio programs. There were electrical outlets next to each seat, great for working on the laptop, but no Internet connectivity yet on this route.
Breakfast, composed of fruit slices, yogurt, warm rolls, and a cheese omlette with fried potatoes and sausages, was served shortly after we leveled off at 35,000 feet. The trip was pleasant, with drinks available throughout the flight, and a separate lavatory and galley in the Executive Class cabin.
We landed at Vancouver International Airport at 9:42 am local time, about 40 minutes early. I passed through customs quickly and walked a short distance to the new Canada Line Airport Station, where frequent “Sky Trains” make the trip to downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes. Air Canada’s Aeroplan frequent flier program is one of the most generous in the industry and, based on my experience with this flight – on-time departure, spacious seating, friendly cabin staff, and early arrival – I wish I had the opportunity to use the carrier more often.
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