Review: Air Canada premium economy (Boeing 777-200LR, Sydney-Vancouver)

Overall Rating

By Matt Lennon, November 23 2016
Air Canada premium economy (Boeing 777-200LR, Sydney-Vancouver)

Sydney - Vancouver

Aircraft Type

Boeing 777-200LR


Air Canada



Cabin Class

Premium Economy



The Good
  • Great leg room
  • Comfortable seat
The Bad
  • Too far from side window
  • The fastest way to Canada


Air Canada offers the only year-round service between Australia and Canada, with flights out of both Sydney and Brisbane – making it a solid first choice for travellers with zero desire to transit at LAX. In fact, the Sydney-Vancouver flight continues (using the same aircraft) to Toronto, putting Canada's largest city just one stop away.


Premium economy passengers can each check-in two bags, each weighing up to 23kg, with a dedicated check-in lane at Sydney Airport for premium economy travellers. Don't forget to collect your frequent flyer points – either in Air Canada's  Altitude scheme or the loyalty scheme of your preferred Star Alliance partner.


Unlike most airlines' premium economy class, Air Canada provides the option for travellers to pay an additional $25 for lounge access. Depending on the facilities of the lounge, and how much time you'll have at the airport, this can represent excellent value.

Of course, travellers holding Star Alliance Gold status in any Star Alliance member airline can use the relevant airport lounges free of charge.

At Sydney Airport Air Canada uses the Air New Zealand lounge, which offers freshly-prepared meals, barista-pulled coffee and a tended bar, making it a good place to relax before the start of your 13 hour journey.


Since deliveries of its new Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft began, Air Canada has spent millions adapting its larger and older Boeing 777 fleet to delivery a similar flight experience.

The premium economy seats on flights from Sydney to Vancouver are 20 inches wide, excluding the armrest.

Seated by the window and in the front row, there's ample legroom.

The seat has a generous 8 inch recline which makes for a reasonably comfortable way to get some shuteye.

With no seat in front of me, the tray table was located in the armrest to our left, which was easily able to be pulled up and into place. The other armrest houses a personal video screen, although the headphone jack is inconveniently located down at knee level and in the front of the left armrest.

Premium economy passengers are issued with the same low-grade headphones as economy class, but with a little jiggling you can use your smartphone's earbuds in the same audio jack for much better audio.


We were barely 30 minutes into the flight – which departed late in the morning – before lunch was served.

The starter is a standard green salad; options for the main course consisted of a braised chicken breast with apricot, green olives and capers, pearl couscous with herbs and grilled vegetables.

The alternative, which I chose, was a pasta dish comprised of pappardelle strips with a cherry tomato ragout, green asparagus, olives and parmesan.

A baked cheesecake dessert completed the service.

There's a mid-flight snack of a sandwich and some cookies, with breakfast before arrival into Vancouver being a choice between an omelette with chicken chipolata sausage, hash brown potatoes and sautéed spinach with onions; and pancakes, lightly brushed with lemon and served with berry compote.

Both selections come with a dish of fresh rockmelon and pineapple. 

Entertainment & Service

As mentioned, our right armrest contained a 10.4 inch video screen, through which Air Canada pipes an extensive selection including many of the latest cinema releases, along with recent releases and classics. If you’re a patron of French, Asian or subcontinental Bollywood cinema, there are even a few selections from these regions.

Matt Lennon travelled as a guest of Air Canada.


Matt Lennon is not just a frequent flyer but also a frequent cruiser, travelling the world by sea and air.


Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 729

$25 for lounge access sounds excellent value and convenience for PE.  Good on you Air Canada.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Dec 2011

Total posts 94

Pity more didn't do this.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 Mar 2012

Total posts 211

The What's not header mentions the seat to position in relation to the window. Seems weird that the bit that caused the reviewer problems was not mentioned at all.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Jul 2016

Total posts 106

Good Review, but a little short :(

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Feb 2016

Total posts 25

Hi, Thanks for the article. I like travelling Air Can and have for over 15 years. 

A family member recently travelled in P.E Bne-Yvr. Paid $25 when purchasing ticket online. Easy enough.  The Bne checkin counter said no lounge access even though pre-paid bc it is not an Air Can lounge.... Yes I was thinking (Star Allaince) 
She asked but was denied entry at the Air NZ lounge with showing she had paid and all that. 
When in final stages of purchasing online the $25 lounge pass it pops up that only Air Canada lounges can be accessed. 

If anyone knows anything different please let us know as I will be doing the same journey too in the near future.  
Thank you. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Feb 2016

Total posts 25

Hi Herman G,

Thanks for the tip on which lounges to expect to use. 
Is the bulkhead seat considered the front row in PE?
So no leg rest for 12A&C H&K?
Maybe I can put a bag and pillow there after takeoff to help. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

One more tip on lounge access.. It cannot be paid at the lounge, only offered when you make the check-in online.

Depend on the aircraft and your height.. I'm 6' and have tried to put the carry-on but doesn't work great on 787 your legs get tired because they are not fully extended, similar but a bit better room on 72 & 773

Yes... bulkhead is the front row of PE... row 12 in every plane configuration.

25 Nov 2016

Total posts 1

Wow ! Thank goodness for other reviews. In Australia there is no deals for ex or current serving members of the Defence force as the do in the States.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Jun 2016

Total posts 44

You didn't comment on the inflight service.  AC flight attendants are among the rudest on the planet and the food is average at best. I would love a review of the new "executive first" cabin. Think they're slowly upgrading the 777 fleet with it. Old version of exec first was shockingly bad. As an expat in Toronto, i prefer to fly the long way (via UK/Europe or UAE) to avoid US immigration interrogation and Cdn terrible service.

29 Oct 2016

Total posts 35

So Matt who was a guest of Air Canada and what can one expect than this rubbish.

He writes "Since deliveries of its new Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 aircraft began, Air Canada has spent millions adapting its larger and older Boeing 777 fleet to delivery a similar flight experience."

Is that meant to be a joke or what.  They have spent millions adapting what used to be a reasonably comfortable long haul economy in their 3-3-3 configured B777s into an appalling 3-4-3 torture rack, to deliver an even worse experience than that offered by 3-3-3 in their 787 Nightmareliners.

The cabin crew have had their workplace turned into the pits and its shows with disinterest and sulleness the order of the day. This same cabin crew attend to PE and bring that same attitude into that compartment, an already substandard experience compared with others Herman G mentions.

Never again on AC, even if it means a longer flight say PE on Qantas or Virgin to LAX then AA or Delta to YVR, or on CX via Hong Kong.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Feb 2016

Total posts 25

Does anyone know if row 12 in PE has foot rest? Bne-Yvr-Bne

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

No foot rest on row 12 (Bulkhead / First row) at any AC plane for PE

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Feb 2016

Total posts 25

Thank you, I recently discovered senza footrest on my trip Yvr-Bne 787-9. Although the lady in 12H looked very comfortable with her carryon bag under her feet. 

I sat in 13H and was pleasantly surprised with the comfort, leg room, recline, service. I'll be travelling again in PE for sure. 

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

PE definitely is a good option but after you try CX, SQ, NZ, QF, JL, NH, VS, AZ, AF even BR... the "bar" is way up and you cannot restrain yourself to not compare and is there where AC, BA, CZ, CA fail to offer a comparable good product..

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

22 May 2013

Total posts 24

Am flying AC Y next month. Do they allow paid lounge access too for Economy guests?

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 79

Depends if you are flying Y or B class...but only at check-in or click on "travel options" for you reservation on AC site

Etihad - Etihad Guest

10 Jun 2019

Total posts 1

Maybe he was right at the time - but the information is inaccurate - lounge access is NOT available to buy in Sydney at the Air New Zealand lounge

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