Air Canada is raising the business class bar with a rebranding of its premium cabins to Signature Class, and wrapping them in an 'end to end experience' known as Signature Service.
It's a play similar to that of United Airlines' Polaris business class, although in the case of the Canucks there's no new business class seat – the airline's existing flatbed seat, such as seen on its Boeing 787 flights from Brisbane and soon Melbourne, as well as the revamped Boeing 777 from Sydney, will continue to be its flagship product.
However, part of the new Signature Class experience now includes
- an upgraded an meal service designed by award-winning Vancouver chef David Hawksworth, with a 'dine on demand' concept covering both the main course and lighter items from the snack menu, all presented on what the airlines describes as "restaurant-style dishware and glassware"
- a revised drinks menu featuring Laurent-Perrier champagne and an 'Air Canada Signature Cocktail' (comprising bourbon, Sprite, ginger ale, maple syrup, and lemon)
- mattress pads for a more comfortable sleep on the long overnight flight
- refreshed amenity kits with Canadian brands such as Want Les Essentiels and Vitruvi
Air Canada's Signature Class and Signature Service is making its debut on all international flights today, including services from Australia to Vancouver.
On the ground, Air Canada's Toronto-Pearson hub features the Air Canada Signature Suite lounge, opened in late 2017.
This is counted among the best business class airport lounges in North America – mainly for its superb David Hawksworth à la carte menu and a drinks list including cocktails and Moët & Chandon champagne.
The Signature Suite is availably only to Signature Class passengers departing on international flights – Air Canada Altitude and Star Alliance frequent flyers have to make do with one of the nearby Maple Leaf lounges.
The Signature Suite lounge also locks out upgraders from economy or premium economy.
Although Air Canada confusingly says the lounge is for "full fare Air Canada Signature Class customers", the ticketing categories include all business class booking codes (J, C, D, Z and P) – which covers the lowest business class fares – however, travellers who've used their points for a bump up to Signature Class won't be allowed in.
On the ground there'll be Signature Service concierges at Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, and – from later this year – a fleet of BMW sedans to whisk travellers between domestic and international flights at Toronto.
Air Canada will also extend its Signature business class on selected domestic and USA flights starting June 1 on its Boeing 787, Boeing 777, Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 aircraft between Toronto and Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Vancouver; and between Vancouver and Montreal and Newark.