Air Canada – Business class versus Premium economy


My husband and I have been travelling economy class for years. When we went to Europe and came back, we wanted to have a bit more comfort for sitting and sleeping on nine hour flights. Hence, we went for higher class plane tickets even though the costs were a bit more.

We experienced two classes of seating in Air Canada, business / signature class and premium economy class. We want to show you what was the difference between the two classes. So in the future you have an idea of what to expect, if you choose either class.

Flight information

Business / Signature class

Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

Route: Calgary (YYC) to Frankfurt (FRA)

Seat numbers: 7D and 7G (back of the cabin)

Date: Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Travel time: 9 hours and 5 minutes

Premium economy

Aircraft: Boeing B787-9 (789)

Route: Frankfurt (FRA) to Calgary (YYC) 

Seat numbers: 12D and 12E (front of the cabin)

Date: Sunday, April 28, 2019

Travel time: 9 hours and 20 minutes

Similarities between the two classes

Differences between the two classes

Lounge service at the airport

Only business class tickets are offered lounge service to the Maple Leaf lounge in Calgary. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to check out and go into the lounge.


Business class will be more expensive than premium economy class.

Watch our Air Canada Business Class and Premium Class review videos at the end of this page!


Seat itself

Business class – the seat is longer and the arm rests are further apart, where you can put the aisle facing armrest down. The headrest is flat. The seat can turn into a flatbed. Multiple seating control options that are done electronically via a touch screen right beside the seat such as a massage function or bringing the seat to lie flat mode. All seats have aisle access.

Premium economy – a bit more space in your seat, but armrests are permanent fixtures. The headrest protrudes out and can move up or down. The seat can recline back to a certain angle. A few seating controls that have to be done manually. Not all seats have immediate aisle access.

Space all around

Business class – lots of space between pods.

Premium economy – a bit more space between seats than economy class.

Air Canada Business class/Signature class cabin pod lie-flat seats

Business class

Completely private, as you’re in your own pod, where the walls are pretty tall and you’re not easily disturbed by your neighbours

Premium economy

You will be closely seated to your neighbours
and can easily see your neighbours
front, back and on the sides.

Tray table size

Business class has a bigger tray table than premium economy.

Business class

Premium economy

Storage space

Business class – tons of storage space to put all your needed items, instead of having to pull from your personal item bag throughout the trip.

Premium economy – less storage space and if you’re seated at the front of the cabin your personal item will have to be stored in the overhead bins.

In-flight entertainment system

Business class has a bigger TV screen than premium economy.

Business class

Premium economy

Staff service

Business class 

The staff go above and beyond to ensure you are comfortable and well fed. It was non-stop eating throughout the flight. My husband and I were pretty full majority of the time. 

Also they would come around to pick up garbage, glasses, cutlery and plates, so that it doesn’t accumulate. The staff are super friendly, accommodating and helpful. The cabin manager was kind enough to offer to take a picture of my husband and I on the plane. 

Definitely service level excellence!

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Premium economy

Sad to say, but the staff barely came around to check up on us and to collect garbage. I literally had to use my own garbage bag to collect a piling amount of tissues, as I was super sick on my flight back home. 

They came around when it was time to provide us our meal, hot towel or a drink here and there. One of the cabin crew missed me for providing water. I had to ask the cabin crew to come back with water for me. 

Not too sure if the cabin crew in business class also serve premium economy, could be a potential reason for the lack of customer attention. 



Business class – appetizer plus salad and a bun are served. The salad was fresh.

Premium economy – salad and bun are served along with the main meal. The salad looked wilted and a bit old.

Main meal

Business class – four options to choose from and get an extra bread. Quality of food was excellent.

Premium economy – two options to choose from and no extra bread. Quality of food was good enough.


Business class – at the beginning of the flight we got water, one alcoholic drink and mixed nuts. After dinner snack included: Cheese, crackers and fruit.


After dinner

Premium economy – at the beginning of the flight we got water and/or orange juice. After dinner snack included: Cookies, vanilla ice cream and pretzels / biscuits.


After dinner


Business class – variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from.

Premium economy – limited number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from.

Vanity kits

Business class – the vanity kit is made of, I believe, faux leather and has nine items in the kit itself.

Vanity kit

Items inside

Premium economy – the vanity kit is made of cloth and has five items in the kit itself.

Vanity kit

Items inside

Other items

Business class – got a pillow, blanket and mattress for the seat for sleeping. Big headphones that cover the ears.

Premium economy – got a pillow, blanket and earphones


Business class – lots of space to stretch and move about.

Premium economy – a bit more space than economy class


Once you have experienced business class you are literally spoiled after that! I know I was. 

Your standard for air travel goes up a whole new level and you begin to expect more for what you pay. 

If you could afford it or want to treat yourself at least once, I would recommend travelling business class, especially on long flights. The service is bar none excellent and the level of comfort is worth it. 

If you want a full view of what to expect in business class or premium economy, check out the videos below!

Click here to load the video to view the description

Click here to load the video to view the description

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