Air Canada is swinging its ‘all business class’ Airbus A319 jets onto a range of domestic and international flights in December, giving a new meaning to the term “social distancing”.
Normally, these planes fly for Air Canada Jetz – the airline’s charter division, catering to sports teams, music tours and corporate clients – but with COVID-19 continuing to disrupt large-scale gatherings, the planes are being put to work on regular commercial flights instead.
Featuring 58 business class seats from tip to tail, passengers will have more room to spread out, with a generous seat pitch of 42 to 49 inches – versus 37 inches in Air Canada’s regular Airbus A319 business class.
As you’d expect of a VIP aircraft, inflight power is available to every passenger, with entertainment needs also covered via a supplied iPad pre-loaded with movies and other entertainment.
On the dining front, tuck into first class fare with meals designed by chef Antonio Park, paired with a complimentary bar and beverage service.
Private jet meets commercial flight
Travelling with Air Canada Jetz is “a private-jet-like experience,” says Mark Galardo, Vice President of Network Planning and Alliances at Air Canada, with Air Canada Jetz having four A319s in its fleet.
“Air Canada is very pleased to offer its customers a unique opportunity to travel like a pro athlete or a VIP and experience our premium Jetz service,” Galardo adds.
While there are no private bedrooms, inflight showers or conference rooms – as you’d find on some other premium private jets – these planes do offer a four-person meeting space at the back of the cabin.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, these seats aren’t filled by default, to avoid facing unfamiliar passengers towards each other, but groups of three or four guests travelling together can ask to be assigned to this foursome at the airport, on a first-come, first-seated basis.
Air Canada Jetz commercial routes
Air Canada’s all-business-class jets will appear on selected Canadian domestic flights in December, as well as on some flights from Canada to the USA, Mexico and Barbados.
From the airline’s Toronto hub, routes include the transcontinental trek to Vancouver – and the similarly-lengthy flight to Kelowna – as well as to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach in Florida; Cancun in Mexico; and Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport.
Flights to Fort Lauderdale and Barbados will also be available from Montréal's main Trudeau Airport.
On the west coast, travellers can book a seat on Air Canada Jetz from Vancouver to Palm Springs and Phoenix in the US, and to Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.
For a full list of scheduled flights, head to the Air Canada website.
A bit of VIP treatment
Air Canada Jetz flights normally depart from private terminals, although these services will use regular airport facilities, being assigned “prime gate locations” to reduce walking time, and giving passengers the ability to visit a Maple Leaf or other Star Alliance lounge prior to departure.
As goes without saying, priority check-in and priority security screening are also provided: but with every passenger on board flying business class, everybody is ‘priority’, so there’s no rush to get on.
In fact, boarding begins just 35 minutes before pushback, even on international routes, so there’s time for that extra coffee or email in the lounge.
While the planes do have inflight WiFi, that's one service not included in the price of your 'private jet' ticket.