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7 New Business Class Products Coming to Canada

It’s quite an exciting time for Canadian premium travellers, as it seems that more and more airlines who have recently introduced brand-new business class cabins are bringing them to their Canadian ports of call. If you plan to fly in business class (whether it’s on points or cash) anytime in the next year or so, keep an eye out for any of these opportunities to try out a swanky new product. 

1. EVA Air 787 Business Class – Vancouver

This is the one I’m most excited about. As of February 17, 2020, EVA Air will operate their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner between Taipei and Vancouver on a daily basis, replacing the current Boeing 777 service.

EVA Air 787 business class

EVA Air 787 business class

EVA Air provides possibly the best business class experience within all of Star Alliance. I have nothing but positive things to say from the two flights I’ve taken with EVA on their Boeing 777: from the impeccable service to the gourmet onboard dining (including the ability to pre-select a specialty meal from a wider menu), the Taiwanese airline left me impressed in almost every regard. 

EVA Air’s new 787 business class launched in late 2018, and has mostly been rotating through EVA’s regional Asia-Pacific network in the time since then. However, it’ll also debut on the airline’s flagship Vienna and Amsterdam routes this upcoming summer. That’s another chance to try it out, perhaps as part of an Aeroplan Mini-RTW redemption, if you don’t want to wait until February 2020.

The new 787 business class features staggered seating instead of the old reverse herringbone formation, and also includes Xiao Long Bao (soupy steamed buns) by Din Tai Fung, a famous Taiwanese dim sum house, as part of the onboard catering. Yum! It’s definitely one of the business class products that I’m most excited to try at the moment. 

EVA Air 787 business class

EVA Air 787 business class

EVA Air’s award availability is a funny old beast. It seems that many years ago EVA was one of the easiest airlines to find award availability through Aeroplan, but then all of a sudden people started “waking up” to how good EVA Air business class was, and now the availability is pretty tough to find unless you’re searching well in advance. 

I see a few scattered dates of business class space on the Vancouver–Taipei route in March and April of next year, with much more limited space on the reverse route. But if you’re planning to travel to Asia next year, it may well be worth shifting your schedule around to get on one of these EVA Air 787 flights. I know I would! 

2. Turkish Airlines 787 Business Class – Montreal

Here’s another new business class product that I’m very much looking forward to trying. As of March 29, 2020, Turkish Airlines will operate their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner between Istanbul and Montreal three times a week, replacing the current Airbus A330 service.

Turkish Airlines 787 business class

Turkish Airlines 787 business class

I’ve already flown Turkish Airlines business class on four segments this year, and you can read my review of the A330 flight from Istanbul to Hanoi. Across most of these flights, I’ve been generally impressed by the food and service onboard Turkish Airlines (with a few exceptions), although the hard product has always been the part that’s lagging behind. 

The airline’s forward-facing business class seats, in either a 2-2-2 configuration on the Airbus A330 or a 2-3-2 configuration on the Boeing 777 (the horror!), simply isn’t competitive in this day and age. But that all changes on Turkish’s new 787s, which are set to launch this summer.

Business class on the Turkish Airlines Boeing 787 will feature staggered seating in a 1-2-1 configuration with direct aisle access from every seat and a refreshed cabin design.

Turkish Airlines 787 business class

Turkish Airlines 787 business class

If you don’t want to wait until next March to try it out of Montreal, you can hop on these planes on several routes, including Istanbul–Denpasar, Istanbul–Atlanta, and Istanbul–Bogotá–Panama City, in the meantime.

Availability with Turkish Airlines is a bit of a crapshoot. It seems like the airline likes to “play games” with its business class availability, often pulling and releasing huge amounts of the space on their North American routes for no apparent reason. While I’m currently struggling to find much space on the Montreal route, I’m sure it won’t be long before it shows up again – after all, I just recently flew this very route on my way to Istanbul! 

3. Egyptair 787 Business Class – Toronto

Egyptair’s new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be launching on the Cairo–Toronto route as of October 1, 2019, replacing the current Boeing 777 service. I see this as a very positive development, because while Egyptair’s 777 product seemed rather subpar compared to the competition (the cabin was dated and the seats don’t fully recline into a flat bed), the new reverse herringbone seats on the 787 look very nice indeed.

(It doesn’t seem like many pictures of the new cabin have been released yet, so I took this one from Egyptair’s Instagram story of all places.)

Egyptair 787 business class

Egyptair 787 business class

The product actually debuted just a few days ago on the Cairo–Washington route, so that’s your other option if you’re itching to try it out before the Toronto launch. 

Egyptair has very good business class availability, so you should have no trouble finding space within a few days of your desired date of travel. While I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to try this product, it definitely opens up another comfortable transatlantic routing for redeeming my Aeroplan miles, and I wouldn’t hesitate to jump on Egyptair’s new 787 if it was the most reasonable option. 

If you’re based in the eastern Canadian cities and are struggling to find business class flights to Europe, it’s worth keeping the Cairo solution in mind as a backdoor channel across the pond – remember, if you simply have a layover in Cairo and continue on to a European destination, you’ll still be charged the mileage for Europe, not North Africa. 

4. TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo Business Class – Toronto

TAP Air Portugal has actually already launched its Airbus A330-900neo business class on the Lisbon–Toronto route, and will be continuing to use it throughout the summer and perhaps beyond. 

TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo business class

TAP Air Portugal A330-900neo business class

The new A330-900neo planes are merely a different variant of the A330-200s that TAP has already been flying to Toronto for quite some time now, and you can read my review of that product here. However, the A330-900neo does feature a brand-new 1-2-1 business class product, which I’d love to try when I get the chance.

Ever since they abolished fuel surcharges on Aeroplan rewards, TAP Air Portugal has become one of the most popular ways to redeem Aeroplan miles to Europe, thanks to their relatively plentiful award availability and convenient connections out of Lisbon to the rest of the continent (not to mention how well the Portuguese capital is suited to a 24-hour layover). 

Besides the slightly varied seating configuration, the business class experience on the A330-900neo doesn’t look all too different from the regular A330. If you can’t find the flight out of Toronto on your desired travel date, the new planes are also in use on many of TAP’s US routes, like Boston, Miami, Newark, and New York JFK.

5. British Airways A350 Club Suite – Toronto

Moving away from Star Alliance, one of the new airline products to make the biggest splash in recent times was British Airways’s Club Suite on their new Airbus A350-1000s. Seriously, how sleek do those cabin finishes look? 

British Airways A350 Club Suite

British Airways A350 Club Suite

In many ways this product reminds me of Air Canada’s reverse herringbone seats, with a stunning jet-black colour palette and the addition of a sliding door to form an enclosed suite. And the best part? It’ll be debuting on the London Heathrow–Toronto route as of October 1, 2019. 

Unfortunately, the problem with using any type of mileage currency to fly British Airways is that you’ll end up having to pay some pretty hefty fuel surcharges. Indeed, using British Airways Avios to book this route would cost you 50,000–60,000 Avios one-way, which is not too bad in itself, but you’d also have to pay ~$500 in surcharges in the eastbound direction…

Screen Shot 2019-06-05 at 12.21.08 PM.png

…as well as the westbound direction (where there’d also be the draconian UK Air Passenger Duty to pay as well). 

Since I travel to London quite often, I could see myself maybe ponying up the cash just to try out this brand-new product, but I definitely wouldn’t feel good about it. However, if you’re the type of traveller who does value the convenience of a direct flight, then you should definitely look out for the British Airways A350 Club Suite if you plan to visit the UK sometime later this year. 

British Airways A350 Club Suite

British Airways A350 Club Suite

6. Air France A350 Business Class – Toronto

As of November 25, 2019, Air France will be using their brand-new Airbus A350-900 on the Paris–Toronto route. While the Boeing 777-200s that Air France currently flies to Toronto is already quite good, the A350s will hopefully represent even more of an upgrade.

The Air France A350s feature Zodiac Optima business class seats, which are slightly different from the reverse herringbone seats that you’d currently find when flying Toronto–Paris, and the cabin also receives some dramatic darker finishes.

Air France A350 business class

Air France A350 business class

It’s a little tricky for Canadians to redeem miles for this flight, since there aren’t many easy ways to earn points in SkyTeam programs here in Canada. One option would be to book via Delta SkyMiles, where you can score a one-way flight in Air France business class on certain dates for 75,000 miles. 

You can also book via Air France/KLM Flying Blue, where you might pay a lower amount of 60,000 miles, but there’d be higher surcharges to contend with. 

You can earn miles in both programs by transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy or by dabbling with US credit cards, while Delta SkyMiles can also be earned by converting Amex MR points at a 1:0.75 ratio. Either way, though, it’ll cost you significantly more miles to try out Air France A350 business class than simply going through Aeroplan on a Star Alliance carrier. 

Air France A350 business class

Air France A350 business class

7. WestJet 787 Business Class – Calgary / Toronto

Lastly, let’s check in on WestJet, who took the big step of launching their first batch of Boeing 787 Dreamliners this year. The new aircraft flew for a few months between Toronto and Calgary this spring, before debuting on the European routes from Calgary to Paris, Dublin, and London Gatwick. 

WestJet 787 business class

WestJet 787 business class

When these routes were originally announced, many observers were surprised that the new widebodies would be limited to flying long-haul routes out of Calgary, and that the possibility to open up more capacity out of a larger market like Toronto was overlooked.

Well, that’ll be changing as of October 23, 2019, when the Dreamliner will be used on the daily service between Toronto and London Gatwick, as well as an additional twice-weekly route between Calgary and Maui. 

Unfortunately, there’s no good way to redeem miles for WestJet business class yet, so your best bet to get on one of these flights will likely be searching for cheap premium fares. There are a few dates in late November when you can fly from London to Canada for around $1,500, which isn’t unreasonable for a paid one-way transatlantic fare. You’ll have enough WestJet Dollars to cover that with only six rounds of the WestJet RBC World Elite MasterCard

Conclusion

I’m impressed by how many airlines are choosing to launch their new business class products out of Canada, and I’m very excited to hopefully try out some of these new products in the near future.

For Aeroplan members, the Star Alliance carriers in particular will open up new possibilities to travel in comfort. Meanwhile, the British Airways, Air France, and WestJet products are a little tougher to book with miles, but are probably going to be excellent options for those of you who fly transatlantic for work and get to choose which airline to fly with! 

15 Comments
  1. Michael

    Ricky, do you know if EgyptAir is replacing all flights between YYZ-CAI to 787 from Oct onwards permanently? When searching for flights on Aeroplan, flights in October is showing 787, but searching for flights in July 2020 (when I actually want the flights), it switches back to 777.

    1. Ricky

      I’d expect that the schedule simply hasn’t been updated yet, and that those flights will also feature the new 787s.

  2. Chris

    Ricky, have you started planning 2020 Euro’s yet? Want to fly business return preferably on star alliance. The 787 between YUL-IST looks perfect. First stop in our six city (7) game plan. OTP is our fist stop. YYC-YUL-IST-OTP looks decent. Any way to book separate legs (securing seats ~330 days out) and calling in to cobble the itinerary together for a return mRTW (one destination, 2 stops or destination and 1 OJ?). Need to research the OJ rules again tho.

    1. Ricky

      Glad you asked! Yes I’ll definitely be around for the Euros, got my eye on OTP/BUD/BIO and of course LON. But I’m pretty flexible with regards to the routing – I’m always looking to try new products, so maybe I’ll do something like the EgyptAir 787 or redeeming EY miles for Royal Air Maroc? 🙂

  3. Mike

    Excellent post! This is the good stuff. Glad to find some new travel goals.

    I think the seat on Westjet, BA, EgyptAir, and AC are all the same seat with minor variations in the finishes.

    I quite enjoyed the Westjet J between YYZ and YYC where they did crew training before the launching the TATL segments. Very reasonable cash fares.

    1. Ricky

      Pretty much. The AC and WestJet seats look pretty much exactly like each other (down to the storage compartments on the seat console), and so does the BA Club Suite except it also has a door. I do have to say all three products are looking damn fine visually, though.

      Wish I had a chance to take one of those YYZ-YYC flights, but I didn’t have a need to be in Calgary and didn’t feel like it was worth the trip just to try out the product.

      1. Chris

        I was on one of the FLL-YYC WJ 789’s. Very much like AC’s however no massaging chair option #firstworldproblems.

  4. Shayaan

    Great post! Fyi EVA is already flying their 787 to Vienna from both Bangkok and Taipei. Also not sure if it is a new product but KLM will soon be flying their 787-10 to YYZ.

  5. Alice

    Great post Ricky! Turkish is also flying its 789 from KIX-IST as of April 16, 2020. I saw many availability. I managed to book both Turkish 789 and TAP 339 for next year. I was not able to assign the seats myself via manage my account online, I had to call Turkish and TAP CSR to assign the seats. Very easy to do and the customer service was easy to deal with.

  6. Gary A

    Great post Ricky. looks like I’ll be trying out the legacy product on TK and BR on my first mini-RTW later this year. I’m doing:
    YVR-YUL-ZRH-BUD-IST(stop)-BKK-SIN(dest)-KIX(stop)-TPE-YVR. 2 questions:
    1) How do you pre-reserve your meal on EVA?
    2) Do you pay Europe-zone prices when you do a layover OR stopover… or just a layover?

    1. Alice

      On both Eva and SQ, you can pre-reserve your meal 3 weeks prior to departure. Go to Eva Air’s website and log in with your reservation # in the "Manage Your Trip Online Check In" tab. Next to your seat number there is a green meal button. Click on that and you can select your meals.

      1. Gary

        That explains it. My flight is more than 3 weeks away, so I only have the basic dietary needs meal choices: Vegetarian Hindu Meal(Indian Style), Children Meal, Diabetic Meal, Fruit Meal, etc. etc. I loved the "Book the chef system on Singapore Airlines!"

    2. Ricky

      I’m pretty sure you complete the advance meal selection process during online check-in. I’m not too clear on what you mean in your second question – you’ll be paying Asia 2 prices on your redemption, regardless of whether you have a stopover or layover in Europe.

      1. Gary A

        Hi Ricky, you mentioned that if you have a layover in Egypt on your way to Europe, you’d only pay Europe 2 prices. SO, a RT YYZ–CAI–IST(dest) – YYZ for example. Would that also apply if you made CAI a stopover (longer than 24h) OR does that automatically make CAI your destination and IST the stopover?

        1. Ricky

          I see what you mean. If you stop in CAI for longer than 24 hours, it’ll count as your destination and you’ll have to pay the mileage for CAI.

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