Air Canada’s distinctive maple leaf livery is once again a regular sight on Australia’s east coast, with the carrier bringing back direct Brisbane-Vancouver services over the weekend and Sydney flights now jetting off at higher than pre-2020 frequencies.
The Star Alliance member is currently the only airline providing a direct link between Brisbane and Vancouver – initially taking off four times a week, with a fifth service to be added in December.
Giving travellers more choice, Air Canada now offers 10 flights a week from Sydney, while Auckland is also back on the map, with thrice-weekly flights scheduled to begin from November 12.
The airline has no plans to return to Melbourne at this stage.
Brisbane flights are handled by Air Canada's Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which – like the Sydney-Vancouver Boeing 777 – feature spacious Signature Class lie-flat business suites and WiFi.
The 13 hour and 35 minute flight sees wheels up from Brisbane every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 10:15am, touching down at Vancouver International Airport at 6:50am.
On the reverse, passengers leave Vancouver at 10:55pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, landing in Queensland’s sunny capital at 6:35am two days later. This hop takes 14 hours and 40 minutes.
From Sydney, flight AC34 departs daily at 9.30am, arriving at 7am. AC38 leaves Sydney at 1:40pm on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday, making it an easier option for travellers outside Sydney who need a connecting domestic flight before winging their way to Vancouver.
If you’re not in Sydney or Brisbane, Air Canada’s partnership with Virgin Australia offers easy domestic connections, with Velocity members able to earn Velocity Points and Status Credits and redeem on eligible flights with Air Canada between Australia and Vancouver and beyond.
“Our new services not only provide more direct links to Canada, they also open up one of the fastest ways for Australians and Kiwis to reach New York and other key US cities,” says Vic Naughton, Air Canada’s General Manager Australia and New Zealand.
Unlike when transitting via the United States, where passengers need to collect and recheck bags, Air Canada allows passengers to continue across Canada without extra security checks or rechecking bags.
“They simply pass through YVR’s US immigration and customs clearance facilities, then continue on to their final destination. That’s how Air Canada is able to once again offer the fastest service between Brisbane and New York, as well as other US cities like Seattle,” adds Naughton.
Business class passengers and those with top-tier frequent flyer status can begin their journey in Sydney and Brisbane from the lounges of Star Alliance partner Air New Zealand, and later relax in Air Canada’s Signature Suite Lounge at Vancouver International Airport on the return.
In the air and on the ground, business class flyers enjoy a menu developed by award-winning Vancouver-based chef David Hawksworth and Montreal-based chef Jérôme Ferrer, with matching wines chosen leading Canadian sommelier Véronique Rivest.
If you’re in premium economy or economy, top-tier frequent flyer status with Air Canada Aeroplan (Elite 50K, 75K or Super Elite) or a Star Alliance member airline (Star Alliance Gold) provides entry into Air Canada’s international and domestic network of Maple Leaf lounges.
And while Vancouver remains a superb destination in its own right, it's also the gateway to the ski, snow and mountain sports mecca of Whistler along with the Alaska cruise circuit, including Glacier Bay and the 'Inside Passage' coastal route.
In recent years, Air Canada has also become an appealing option for travel to New York thanks to the seamless connections offered by Vancouver’s in-transit pre-clearance facilities network.
Under the Virgin Australia partnership, Velocity Frequent Flyers can earn points and status credits on Air Canada flights – although the more you travel with Air Canada, the more appealing its Aeroplan rewards program will be.
Additional reporting by Chris Ashton.