How to Make the Most of Air Canada’s Business Class

You can get lie-flat seats, elevated meals and even chauffeur service in Signature Class on Air Canada.
Carissa Rawson
By Carissa Rawson 
Edited by Kevin Berry

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Air Canada’s business class is one of the best in North America. Its Signature Class offers lie-flat seats, chef-curated meals and a BMW chauffeur service. Read our guide to Air Canada's business class to see if its the right flying experience for you.

What to expect flying business class with Air Canada

Air Canada’s business class is reviewed as one of the best there is — and for good reason. While its older product was excellent, its new Signature Class experience, launched in 2018, has fabulous drinks and food, new seats and even a chauffeured car service.

  • Baggage allowance: Customers flying in Air Canada’s business class can enjoy two pieces of free checked luggage, up to 70 pounds each. Additional bag costs vary according to destination.

  • Boarding: Business class passengers have the opportunity to board first, with dedicated Zone 1 boarding lanes available in most locations.

  • Seats: Air Canada Signature business class seats vary according to the plane. Executive Pods in a 1x2x1 configuration can be found on the Boeing 777 and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Classic Pods in a 2x2x2 setup are on the Boeing 767 and Airbus A330. Older business class seats for the 767 and A330 feature an open-suite 1x1x1 configuration.

  • Lounges: When flying on a paid ticket from Toronto or Vancouver, you’ll have access to the Signature Lounge, as well as regular Maple Leaf Lounges. Otherwise, award tickets have access to available Maple Leaf Lounges or Star Alliance lounges from wherever they’re flying.

  • Chauffeur service: Select passengers will receive BMW chauffeur service when flying through Toronto.

How to book a business class ticket with Air Canada

Booking a business class ticket on Air Canada is simple. You can choose to pay cash for your ticket or use award miles via Aeroplan, Air Canada’s frequent flier program and either can be booked online.

The simplest method is booking through Air Canada. Whether paying cash or using miles, you’ll go through Air Canada’s website. The default search setting is for paid flights; if you prefer to redeem miles for an award ticket, simply click the toggle on the search bar to “points.” You can also use a partner airline to book an award flight; as a Star Alliance member, you’ll have plenty of options for redeeming miles.

When searching on Air Canada’s website, first log into your account. Then, at the landing page input all of your information, including route, dates of travel and how you’ll be paying. Award redemption searches will show a breakdown of flight costs according to class of service.

Ways to get good value

Book with Aeroplan

Air Canada operates on a hybrid zone and distance-based award chart, which means it charges a semifixed rate for award tickets based on when and where you’re flying.

If you don’t have enough Aeroplan miles, you can transfer over American Express Membership Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. The same transfer ratio is available to eligible Chase Ultimate Rewards® members. Capital One is also a transfer partner, and its points transfer to Aeroplan at a 2:1.5 ratio, meaning two Capital One Miles will become 1.5 Aeroplan miles. Marriott Bonvoy points transfer to Aeroplan at a 3:1 ratio, with a 5,000-point bonus for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred.

Book through the right partner airlines

As a member of Star Alliance, Air Canada award tickets can be booked through a variety of other airlines. These tickets can be a better value than booking through Aeroplan. Here are two examples of award flight costs with partner airlines:

  • All Nippon Airways: ANA will allow you to book round-trip or open-jaw tickets only, but they’re often the cheapest way to book Air Canada business class tickets. ANA charges 88,000 miles roundtrip in business class. ANA is a transfer partner of American Express at a 1:1 ratio, or Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 6,000 points transferred.

  • Avianca Lifemiles: Avianca, Colombia’s national airline, charges 63,000 miles each way in business class. You can transfer from AmEx or Citi ThankYou at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One at a 2:1.5 ratio, or Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 6,000 points transferred.

Route through Toronto or Vancouver for the best experience

Air Canada operates 17 award-winning Maple Leaf Lounges, which all business class passengers can enter. However, those flying on a paid business class ticket will have access to the Signature Suites in Vancouver and Toronto. These two locations are akin to the La Premiere’ high-end lounges provided to Air France first class international flight passengers.

Add a stopover for 5,000 miles

When Aeroplan revamped its award program in late 2020, it also introduced the ability to add a stopover on a one-way ticket for just 5,000 more miles. While you’ll have to contact the call center to book these tickets, the ability to include a stopover can be valuable. An example is a flight from Toronto to London to Frankfurt. You’ll be able to stop and spend a few days in London for an extra 5,000 miles.

The bottom line

Air Canada’s business class product is one of the best to fly, especially if you can find seats featuring the new Executive Pods. With plenty of award availability from both Star Alliance partners and Aeroplan, booking a ticket to fly on this Signature Service is easy and well worth your time.

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