Air Canada A320 business class is worth going out of your way for

Air Canada A320 business class is worth going out of your way for

This Air Canada A320 business class review is more the result of a need than a desire. Nobody goes out of their way to fly on a 31 year old airplane with a 17 year old business class product. But since it exists, I must review it.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Although these old Air Canada A320s have been showing their age for what seems like forever, the business class seats are still really comfortable and the onboard service (including the food) is excellent.

Actually, I take back what I said about nobody going out of their way to fly on one of these things. I mean, that’s kind of what I did (and I’d probably do it again just for the novelty of it).

AC572
Vancouver, BC (YVR) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
Aircraft: A320
Registration: C-FDCA
Duration: 2 hours 40 minutes
Seat: 4F (Business Class)

Air Canada A320 side view
Air Canada A320 side view illustration by NorebboStock.com.
AC572 flight track
Our route from Vancouver to San Diego this morning as AC572,

My full review of Air Canada A320 business class from Vancouver to San Diego

The last time I flew from Vancouver to San Diego, it was in Air Canada Jazz CRJ-900 business class. That was the only option back then (and it was less than ideal). I’m happy to report that Air Canada has finally come to their senses and put mainline aircraft (with mainline business class) back on this very popular route.

Hanging out in Terminal E at YVR

All Air Canada flights bound for the US out of the Vancouver Airport depart from Terminal E. It’s easily one of my favorite airport terminals in the entire world. Not only because it looks great, but because there are a lot of great dining and shopping options as well.

YVR Terminal E
Welcome to Terminal E at YVR. If you’re curious, I’m pretty sure the “E” stands for “Effing Amazing” (because it is).
YVR Terminal E US departures
From some angles, it’s just slightly nicer than the nicest airport you’ve ever been in…
YVR Terminal E gate 75
…and from other angles, it makes you question your own existence. I don’t even feel worthy standing here and looking at all this!
SANspotter selfie YVR terminal E
“Man, if I had $44b like Elon, I’d totally buy this airport.”

The boarding process for flight number 572 to San Diego

Our departure gate to San Diego this morning was number 74. It was one of those weird sectioned-off gates that they don’t open until 20 minutes prior to boarding, and it was kind of awkward to have to loiter around in limbo with nowhere to go as the boarding time approached.

Air Canada A320 G-FDCA YVR
Looks like it’s gonna be an old toothpaste livery plane today. And I’m not exaggerating about calling it old – this thing was built in 1991!
Air Canada YVR-SAN business class boarding pass
A quick boarding pass pic to distract myself from the fact that I just called something younger than me “really old.”
Gate 74 YVR
Either this is going to be a really light load this morning, or everyone is still in line somewhere getting coffee (and/or last-minute Poutine).
YVR gate 74 jet bridge
Seems like just a normal (yet slightly wider than normal) jet bridge, doesn’t it?
YVR gate 74 jet bridge windows
As you go deeper, you’ll see that there was obviously money left over in the design budget for the architects to have a little fun.
Air Canada A320 forward boarding door
I have arrived. I wonder if this plane has WiFi?

Those old Air Canada A320 domestic business class seats

While comfortable, the business class seats in these older A320s look every bit of 2005 (right down to the tiny, super laggy, and impossible to see LCD screens). However, that seems like some high tech **** considering that this particular airplane was built in 1991.

Air Canada A320 business class
Welcome to Air Canada A320 business class 2005.
Air Canada A320 business class seats row 4
Laugh all you want, but I know from past experience that these seats are a lot more comfortable than they look.
Air Canada A320 premium economy seats
Speaking of comfortable looking seats, check out that first row of premium economy! I sure as heck wouldn’t complain about having to sit there.
Air Canada A320 business class leg room
This was supposed to be a leg room pic, but I’m too amused by the fact that the seat material matches my jeans.
Air Canada A320 business class video screens
Ugh. I’m not in the mood to talk about these video screens yet. I’ll have a lot to say about these worthless pieces of **** later in the review…
Air Canada A320 business class amenities
Every business class passenger on today’s flight receives complimentary bottled water, ear buds, and a face mask. Considering how useless the video entertainment is in these seats, I wonder if I can trade my ear buds for more water?
Air Canada A320 business class electrical outlets
There are electrical outlets for each passenger between the seats (don’t worry, it took me a while to find them as well).
Air Canada A320 business class seat details
I don’t know, but it seems as if Air Canada is trying really hard to make sure that I have a safe and comfortable flight. 
SANspotter selfie Air Canada a320 business class
Silently judging everyone who comes down the aisle. We all do it.
Air Canada a320 business class cabin
Alright. Boarding is complete, and since nobody seems to be complaining about how old these seats are, I think it’s safe to push off the gate now.

The departure out of Vancouver

Even though Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the entire world, you wouldn’t know it by looking at the following pictures. It was an extremely dark and gloomy morning – and not at all ideal for a aviation photography. If there’s any consolation, we departed right on time.

Air Canada a320 safety card
Hold on. 31 year old airplane and all…
Air Canada a320 engine and wing
Let’s just hope the 31 year old glue holding the wings on is strong enough to last two and a half more hours.
Air Canada a320 taxiing at YVR
Imagine driving a rusted out 1973 Ford pickup truck with 500,000 miles on it down a back-country dirt road. That’s basically what this sounded like.
Air Canada a320 taxiing for takeoff at YVR
2005 on the inside, 1991 on the outside. What a trip.
Air Canada a320 taking off from Vancouver airport
“Hold together old girl…”
View of Vancouver after takeoff from YVR
So long Vancouver. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but I’m already looking forward to it.

In-flight entertainment

As terrible as the video screens are in these old Air Canada business class seats, I can still appreciate their existence. If anything, they are a reminder of how far we’ve come.

For those of you who are unaware of our progress, I recommend checking out my Air Canada A220-300 business class review. It’s a huge improvement over what you’re about to see!

Air Canada a320 business class video screen
Here I go again with a demonstration of what just might me the worst video entertainment system on any airline at the moment. I hated it the first time I tried it (in Air Canada Jazz CRJ-900 economy back in 2017), and I already know I’m going to hate it this time.

Watching video content on these screens is basically impossible. Assuming you have the patience to wait for the screen to respond to your touch, you won’t be able to see it anyway because of how dull and washed out it is.

Air Canada a320 business class video entertainment
You know how an old computer gets slower over time, to the point where it basically becomes unusable? That’s where these video screens are at. 
Air Canada a320 business class video screen tv shows
Not only does it take 3-5 seconds for the screen to respond to any touch inputs, it takes another 10-15 for the new screen to fully populate with content. It took so long to get to this screen that I basically forgot why I came here.
Air Canada a320 business class ear buds
Ear buds are complimentary BTW, which I’m only demonstrating to make this review complete. The truth is that they’ll be most useful for strangling yourself with the cord once you try to interact with the video screen.

The food

Having flown in from Calgary via Air Canada 737 MAX 8 business class this morning, I had already eaten breakfast before stepping foot on this plane.

That didn’t stop me from eating another full breakfast however. Air Canada food is generally good, and it would have been foolish of me to turn it down. At least I chose something different than what I ate just two hours earlier.

Air Canada domestic business class breakfast menu
The breakfast menu. Considering that I had the omelette from Calgary to Vancouver this morning, it would only be proper to give the French toast a try this time.
Air Canada domestic business class breakfast
Hey now. Before you call me a pig for attempting to eat my second complete breakfast of the morning, just know that I had enough restraint to decline the offer of a croissant to go with it.
Air Canada domestic business class French toast
Interesting. I’ve never been a fan of French toast (soggy bread repulses me), but…I think I can get behind this!
Air Canada domestic business class breakfast tray
“F**** me. Am I really going to do this?
Air Canada domestic business class breakfast food
You’re darn right I am! This was easily the best French toast I’ve ever had (which is saying a lot considering how much I normally despise this stuff).
Air Canada a320 engine and wing flying over the clouds
By the way, this view was my in-flight entertainment during the breakfast service. Nothing on the washed-out video screen could compare.

The underrated comfort of the old Air Canada domestic business class seats

As you read in my Air Canada A321 business class review, these old vintage domestic premium seats feel a lot better than they look.

Air Canada A320 business class seat pitch
I know it’s hard to see due to the chameleon-like blending of my wardrobe and the seat fabric, but the leg room is on point.
Air Canada A320 business class knee room
Here’s a better (slightly less chameleon-like) view. You could easily fit an entire plate of French toast between my knee and the seat.

Cloth is a much better material for a business class seat in my opinion, as I find it to be softer and warmer than faux leather. I’m also not afraid to admit that I might even prefer these older seats more than the newer seats.

Air Canada A320 business class pre landing snack
And just for the record, no, I wasn’t saying nice things about seat comfort only because they gave us pre-landing snacks. I would have said what I said even if we got the shaft.

The arrival into San Diego

Despite the lack of watchable in-flight entertainment, this flight went by much faster than anticipated. This had everything to do with how comfortable the seats are (I’m sure), and I very easily could’ve gone another hour without even checking my watch.

The descent and arrival into San Diego was as sunny as ever, and it was a perfect end to yet another really great Air Canada business class experience.

Air Canada A320 descent into San Diego
The beautiful scenery did nothing to ease the shame I felt for eating two complete airline breakfasts within the last 3 hours.
View of SAN from the air
At least we got a nice view of SAN on the downwind approach. Terminal 2 looks busy!
Air Canada a320 approach into San Diego airport
It’s been a while since I’ve been on this side of the aircraft on a flight into the San Diego Airport. Nice to see that nothing has changed on this side of the approach since the last time.
Final approach Air Canada A320 San Diego airport
The bleeping and blooping sounds coming from the cockpit (which I assume are standard terrain warning notifications) are not very encouraging as we skim over Little Italy and the 5. And how do we really know that the pilot in command isn’t going to drag our landing gear across the top of the Aladdin parking structure at the threshold of runway 27?
Air Canada A320 landing at SAN
I know, my mind goes to really dark places sometimes during the final moments of a flight. Sorry. Welcome to San Diego!
Air Canada a320 business class passengers
The guy in front of me looks to be telling his seatmate about the odds of dragging the landing gear across the top of a parking structure here at SAN. I’m just glad that I’m not the only one who thinks about that kind of stuff.
Air Canada A320 taxiing to terminal 2 SAN
It’s a long taxi over to gate 51 (at the far end of T2), but the feeling of returning home after a successful trip makes it all worth it!
Air Canada A320 business class arrival at gate
There are many reasons to be glad that your flight didn’t crash, but it was especially important today. Probably 90% of the people here in business class were employees of the same company on their way to a sales meeting. And there were many more back in economy.
Air Canada a320 business class aisle
At first I was thinking how foolish it would be for a corporation to put their entire management team on one flight, but as a solo entrepreneur, I basically do that every time I fly (lol). I have no way of spreading out the risk in case of a fiery crash into the side of a mountain.
San Diego airport jet bridge terminal 2 west
“I swear to god Marsha, it would be easier if you got one that had wheels!”
SANspotter walking up jet bridge after a flight
The end.

All the pros and cons of Air Canada A320 business class

I know. For as much as I criticized how ugly and old these particular business class seats are, it was a really great flight.

The attentive cabin crew really worked their you-know-what’s off to make sure that all passengers had what they needed. As far as I’m concerned, these are all the pros and cons:

Pros

  • For as ugly and outdated as the seats are, they are some of the most comfortable in the sky at the moment. You don’t sit on these seats. You sink into them.
  • The foot rests are a nice touch. I’m a bit too tall to take full advantage of them, but shorter people will no doubt find them to be very comfortable.
  • The food is quite good. If you’re flying on an Air Canada A320 in business class, you are nearly guaranteed to be served a full meal.

Cons

  • Yeah, the seats are ugly. I really hate to say that considering how comfortable they are, but it doesn’t really look like a premium seat anymore.
  • The video screens are essentially worthless. Every touch will result in a 2 to 3 second delay before it does anything, which makes browsing through the options a true test of one’s patience.

Comments (6)

  1. David

    November 12, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      November 12, 2022
  2. Peter

    November 13, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      November 13, 2022
  3. Mitch

    November 16, 2022
    • Scott (SANspotter)

      November 17, 2022

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