Come January, Qantas will once again serve Vancouver as a destination. The only other airline to operate a non-stop service from Australia on that route has been Air Canada. This week’s trip report has a look at that service, and how good it is at present, given the lack of competition.

No so much a trip report, but brief recount of AC 34 Sydney-Vancouver in Business (and later, return journey AC33) as a benchmark for January Qantas service to Vancouver.

I’ve done this trip a number of times and this one was pretty typical. AC and QF share a lot in common – both legacy carriers, on the pricy side with a tendency to uneven performance, but can be relied on for a decent trip in J, especially if you know and can anticipate the foibles of the airline and journey.

Being a Star Alliance airline, access to any business lounge when flying business is one of the benefits. At Sydney, the default lounge is Air New Zealand’s Koru Club for Air Canada guests. With Singapore Air having recently renovated their lounge, our member was keen to check it out. With Singapore known for being reluctant to let guests in when they have other options, things could get interesting.

SQ Silver Kris lounge beckoned, as I was keen to have a stickybeak after the renos. At the entrance a pursing of lips by the junior lounge angel as to my request to enter, but senior angel said ‘It’s OK, we have room’. And indeed they did. Me and two others. Nice lounge, some good eats and a bench for laptop with plugs to hand. Just before boarding I wandered down to the Koru Club to see if there was any change to boarding and as usual, it was a zoo, vindicating my original choice of lounge.

Soon it was time to board and settle in for the fourteen plus hours of flight to Canada. As is the case with many airlines, the Air Canada Business Class cabin features a herringbone pattern. Offering easy access to the aisle from any seat. However this seating arrangement can be problematic for couples if they wish to have any hope of the odd conversation. There are also other significant differences between the carrier and Qantas besides just the different seating.

I prefer the QF In Flight Entertainment selections and I think it’s a bit more extensive as well. Headphones aren’t noise cancelling and pretty crap. Meals – on both airlines you get good and bad ones, but usually edible. Lounges – have to give it to Qantas, especially if you are a Plat or P1 and can access the First lounge in Sydney.

How will the flight stack up overall? Will our traveller get the usual second degree about his work on arrival in Canada or just sail through? And will there be differences on the flight home, join the trip. Follow the journey HERE.

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