So, my visit to Canada was confirmed. The next logical step was to choose a flight or rather a set of flights. I am biased towards the flag carriers when visiting a destination as you get the essence of the destination as soon as you board the flight. So, for Canada, it had to be Air Canada. Having said that, this was not the primary reason I chose to fly with them.
Direct Flight between Delhi and Vancouver
Air Canada is the only airline that has a direct flight between Delhi and Vancouver with no stop of any kind. Delhi Vancouver flight takes less than 14 hours of flying time as it flies over the north pole. Yes, you do not fly east or west as most flights do, but you fly North over the north pole. It is fascinating to see the live flight map as you pass over the North Pole and through regions that are, just names for you.
For more details on Air Canada Flights, check out their website.
Flying Delhi-Vancouver Air Canada – Premium Economy
It was a day full of smog in Delhi. The visibility was pretty low, though the flight operations were more or less normal.
As I walked towards the boarding gate, I could see the red maple leaf on the tail of the aircraft standing out in the rather grey surroundings.
Premium Economy segment of the aircraft is sandwiched between the long rows of economy class and the plush business class. In the Air Canada in-flight scheme of things, Premium Economy has nice pushback seats. I got the aisle seat next to a window seat. I could have a hazy view outside. However, I did not regret not getting the window seat much as it was hazy or dark outside most of the time.
A small pouch containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, a pair of socks and an eye pad waited on the seat along with a light blanket and a soft pillow. The water bottle was in the seat pocket. I arranged the items below the seat, in the seat pocket to make a seat for myself. As I sat on the seat, I knew that next 14 hours would be comfortable.
Air Canada TV
Once the flight took off, I fiddled with the TV Screen in front of me. Live map, as I mentioned earlier was simply fascinating. The interactive map allows you to zoom in and zoom out and display the map on various parameters. You could see the slices of the map with day and night moving along. You could see the altitude, time, temperature, speed and cities or regions beneath you. I simply loved playing with it.
The movies selection was wide if you consider them across languages. I have never seen a Punjabi film so I decided to watch one. Incidentally, the film was totally based in Canada, though not in British Columbia where I was headed. The film was fine but I enjoyed listening to the Punjabi language. Living in Goa, it is not very often that I get to hear Punjabi.
Once I was done with the film, it was time to play a Trivia quiz – my selection from a platter of games on board.
Vegetarian Food – Air Canada
I had requested for an Asian Vegetarian Meal but the crew member still passed me the menu cards. I was surprised to see the menu in Hindi and English along with French. In retrospect, I wonder should it not be Punjabi as well. I know I am being ‘demanding’. Is that not what a good service does – it inspires you to ask for more. The meal was pre-decided for me, what I looked forward to was the snack that the menu card promised.
Somewhere in the unknown time zone, we received a silver foil pack that was too hot to hold. I cautiously opened it to see two mid-sized piping hot Samosas. I could not have been happier. And then I requested a hot cup of tea and it felt like a college-era party.
A had a little nap before the light breakfast of Matar Paranthas came up just before we were ready to touchdown at Vancouver.
Flying Vancouver – Delhi Air Canada – Business Class
On my way back, I was absolutely tired. Just as my body was getting aligned to the Vancouver time zone, it was time to head back and return to my original time zone.
I had a great time at the Vancouver Airport. First I picked up the Inukshuk souvenir that I was trying to find all over Victoria and Vancouver. Then, I finally got to hear Punjabi at the airport. Almost everyone in the Air Canada crew was seen speaking in Punjabi. Though no one spoke to me in Punjabi, I hardly look like one, but it was a pleasure to hear it – it almost took me back to my childhood days in Punjab.
There were a lot of senior citizens flying on this Air Canada Vancouver – New Delhi flight. There was a long queue of people seeking wheelchair support. A crew member mentioned sometimes they have as many as 150 people using wheelchairs. It seems it is a flight that many take, to stay in touch with their roots.
I landed on my seat to find the following things neatly arranged on the seat:
- A pair of slippers
A soft duvet
A toiletries pouch with a lip balm
Air Canada Business Class Seat
This was the best part of my return journey. I could sit with my legs stretched out while eating or while enjoying the in-flight entertainment system. I could make it flat to sleep comfortably. There were light controls to light up parts of the sitting area rather than the whole seat.
This time I watched another Punjabi Film – just to hear the language one more time. I watched another English film on the social media obsession, played some Trivia, listened to some podcasts. I was surprised to see some Haiku recitations in their audio section. How lovely to listen to someone recite poetry while you are mid-air, high above the earth, with no distractions of any kind on a really long flight. I wish they had poetry in other languages as well.
In Air Canada Business Class, the food came in courses. We began with a drink and my preferred drink on board is always Tomato Juice. It came with a snack of roasted nuts. Then came the salads followed by main course and fruits. Then there was chocolate cake with Maple Syrup.
The menu promised the hot Samosas again, but my body chose sleep over food. I slept comfortably for 8 hours. That says something about how easy it is to sleep in Air Canada Business Class seats. Woke up just before landing in Delhi and was ready to go on the mini road trip the very next day.
When you travel business class, a certain level of comfort is taken for granted. What I liked about Air Canada is their crew – they were extremely pleasant in dealing with the guests. Besides taking care of our mundane traveling needs, they made conversations, made us feel comfortable. All with a big smile on their face.
Will I choose to fly Air Canada again – Absolutely, Yes!