Date: May 11, 2018
Flight No.: AC835
Route: Montreal Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau to Toronto Pearson
Airline: Air Canada
Type: Airbus A330-300
Air Canada operates more than two dozen daily flights between Montreal and Toronto making the city pair one of the busiest domestic routes in Canada. While some flights use Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport located right in the city center, most of the flights use the larger Pearson airport.
The flight I ended up taking between the two cities (which departed more than 25 hours later than the one I was originally scheduled to fly on) took me from Montreal’s Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau airport to Toronto Pearson airport onboard an Airbus A330-300 and it was a continuation of the airline’s flight from Geneva in Switzerland.
Just like with my flight from Paris to Montreal, I had a chance to bid for an upgrade prior to departure, but given the shortness of the flight, I decided to stick with economy class.
Checking-in at Montreal Airport
After spending the morning at a park near the airport, I went back to my hotel to pick up my suitcase, and then straight back to the airport where I arrived around 3PM – with more than enough time to spare before my 5PM departure.
After getting my boarding pass as well as a luggage tag from one of the automated check-in machines, I was sent to a baggage drop off area. Except, when I got there, I was sent to another one on the opposite end of the terminal…
Nonetheless, within a few minutes, I found a staffed baggage drop off area and was directed to one of the automated machines. After a bit of fiddling, my bag was accepted by the machine and so I could proceed airside.
Similar to the US, there is no outbound immigration control when departing Canada, and so both domestic and international flights depart from the same departures lounge. The exception to that, interestingly, are flights to the United States which pre-clear immigration in Canada and so depart from a separate secure area.
Boarding an Air Canada Airbus A330-300
I left the lounge at 4:25PM and by the time I got to gate 51 where the flight was departing from, boarding for my zone, zone 3, was already in progress.
Walking down the jetway, I stepped onboard the Air Canada A330-300 equipped with a total of 292 seats in three classes.
The aircraft’s business class cabin situated between doors 1 and 2 featured a total of 27 herringbone seats in a “1-1-1” layout. That was followed by a small premium economy cabin with three “2-3-2” rows for a total of 21 seats. And finally, there was the economy class with a total of 244 seats in a “2-4-2” configuration.
The first thing I noticed after settling down in my seat was that the seat pitch was quite tight. On the positive side, besides the IFE screen, the seat was also equipped with USB and standard power outlets.
Air Canada Short-Haul Domestic Economy Class Service
Boarding was completed at 4:51PM, and we got on our way at 4:56PM – slightly ahead of schedule. We took off at 5:11PM, and less than ten minutes after that the seatbelt signs were switched off and the in-flight service commenced.
First, by sales of earphones. I wonder how many passengers actually buy them on a one-hour domestic flight…
While the crew was busy selling earphones, I took a quick look at the in-flight entertainment system. While the menu was roughly the same (although a bit toned down) than on the 777-300ER, the system was almost unusably slow.
As far as the content is concerned, it was a slightly cut down version of the 777-300ER’s IFE as well. But there was still more than enough content to keep a person busy on even a long-haul flight.
The in-flight service continued (and ended) with a free drink and pretzels service.
Landing at Toronto Pearson Airport
Not long after the pretzels were served, at 5:54PM, the seatbelt signs were switched back on.
About ten minutes after that, the cockpit crew lowered the landing gear, and at 6:06PM, we landed at Toronto Pearson airport. The flight came to an end at 6:13PM when we parked at our gate.
Air Canada A330-300 Domestic Economy Class Summary
Air Canada provided a perfectly suitable service for a one-hour domestic flight. While the earphone sales made the flight feel a bit “cheap,” other than that it was alright. The fact that the aircraft offered power outlets was welcome as well.
That said, if the flight wasn’t part of a larger itinerary, and I was just looking for a way to get between the two cities, I would have just booked whatever the cheapest option was. And, I would definitely also look at the possibility of flying to Billy Bishop airport in Toronto which is walkable distance from the city center.