Experience the Air Canada economy class service

air canada economy class hot meal

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Earlier this month, I flew from Paris to Los Angeles via Montreal with Air Canada to test out their inflight service. While meals are complimentary on long-haul flights, North American and Caribbean flights offer a selection of items available for purchase through their Bistro inflight meal program. There is more information on that right here.


My journey started at Paris CDG airport at the Maple Leaf Lounge. While the lounge has seen better days, they still offered an adequate selection of food and drink options at various stations.


My flight, AC 871, took off from Paris at 1430 with a flight time of seven hours. The crew offered two complimentary meal services; the first being the main meal and the second a small snack service.

A row of empty seats in Air Canada's economy class.

About 15 minutes after takeoff, the inflight service commenced, and I was offered complimentary headphones while the special meals were being served.

Empty seats on an Air Canada flight.

The meal service was relatively slow. I received my meal about 1.5 hours after takeoff. Chicken and pasta were the two meal choices, and I went with the chicken. It was served with some mashed potatoes and vegetables, which were a bit bland. The side salad wasn’t very appetising, so I mainly picked at the vegetables and mashed potatoes.

air canada economy class hot meal

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However, the wooden cutlery was a nice touch, and it’s great to see an airline taking the initiative to reduce the use of plastics onboard. Additionally, there was also a packaged cake for dessert, bread, butter, and a bottle of water.

a couple of wooden utensils in an *airplane* bag.

Between meals, I visited the rear galley to see what snacks the airline had to offer. I asked for sparkling water and was given some pretzels, which was a nice little snack to have.

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About 1.5 hours before landing in Montreal, the crew began the second meal service, a choice of vegetarian or non-vegetarian snack. I opted for the non-veg item, which was a Sweet Pepper Chicken filled pastry, and it was pretty good. It hit the spot, and before long, it was time to land in Montreal.

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Overall, the free meals in economy class on Air Canada were pretty standard, offering a lazy pre-packaged dessert with mediocre hot meal offerings. However, their buy-on-board program on the following flight was pleasantly surprising.  While the inflight service may not have been the highlight of this journey, I still had a good time exploring Air Canada.


From Montreal to Los Angeles, I continued my Air Canada journey in economy class for another five hours. Meals are included depending on the type of airfare you purchased. For example with the latitude fare, you’ll receive a meal (or drink) plus two snacks. Comfort fare passengers, on the other hand, are entitled to one alcoholic beverage. For everyone else, including yours truly, it’s a paid meal service.

Airlines economy class seats with monitors on them.

Air Canada offers a plethora of drink options like soft drinks, juice, tea, and coffee from Lavazza for free on North American and Caribbean flights. And, if you’re smart and pre-plan like me, you can purchase a voucher online before the flight, which can save you up to 35% on onboard prices. I redeemed mine for one meal or alcoholic beverage plus two snacks. The best part? The special code appears on your boarding pass, so keep it handy.

Air Canada’s bistro program offers various meal options such as pizza, wraps, breakfast rolls, and even mac and cheese. And if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can even purchase a meal from the premium cabin of the aircraft. It’s not advertised on the main bistro menu, but it’s definitely worth asking about. Check out the inflight entertainment for the inflight menu or, better yet, ask the crew during your flight.

An Air Canada tray of food and drinks in economy class.
A tray of Air Canada economy class meals.

The meal service started 20 minutes after takeoff, I inquired about the premium cabin meal and was offered two choices. I went with the chicken tagine with pearl couscous, it cost CAD$14.00, was delicious, and the portion size was generous.

A meal tray with food and a drink served in Air Canada Economy Class.

I also redeemed my voucher for the cheese and fruit platter and hummus snack. Both items were good, and I didn’t have any complaints.

A meal tray with a drink served in Air Canada's economy class.
A couple of Air Canada economy class meals on a table.

Overall, I preferred this flight over the previous one. The crew was more conversational and engaging, and the variety of food options was excellent. Yes, I had to pay for the food, but it was well worth it compared to the free, lackluster options from before. Keep in mind that, since 1 December, Air Canada offers Chef Jérôme Ferrer bistro boxes for sale from CAD$14.95; more info is here.


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