Air Canada Business Class Flight 7461 New York LaGuardia – Montreal, Canada
Air Canada was, until recently, the only major North American carrier I had never flown on, despite many trips to our neighbor to the north. Resolved to remedy this oversight, I opted to fly my third trip to London in 2014 via Montreal. Going non-stop would have been just too easy.
Arriving for my first international flight ever from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, at check-in, I was greeted by an Air Canada concierge who escorted me to the Maple Leaf Lounge. This was my first encounter not only with an Air Canada concierge but any airline concierge. Stationed in 24 airports across the globe, the concierges wear a distinctive black uniform and their services are available to international business-class passengers as well as higher-level members of the airline’s Altitude frequent-flyer program. In addition to assisting with immediate travel issues, the concierge can also assist with hotel and restaurant reservations as well as theater and concert tickets.
The Maple Leaf lounge afforded excellent views of the gate where my Embraer regional jet (tail number C-FEJF) was parked as well as of runways and taxiways. The lounge provides several different seating areas including a mobile-free quiet zone and a place to watch the news on television. The lounge offers a complete variety of beverages as well as light snacks. I was disappointed that it didn’t offer donuts from Tim Hortons, however.
Air Canada boards its business-class passengers ahead of other groups and boarding started about half an hour before the scheduled departure time. I was near the gate by then and one of the first on the plane. Two flight attendants were welcoming passengers on board, hanging up coats and jackets for business-class passengers, and directing traffic for the many that have yet to figure out that row 12 is not in the first three rows of the cabin.
Pushback took place at 5:32 p.m., two minutes later than scheduled and wheels up were at 5:52, two minutes earlier than planned.
Our flight took us in a northeasterly direction over Connecticut and then Massachusetts, where we turned to a northerly heading for a straight shot to Montreal. After passing over the Adirondack Mountains, we crossed over into Quebec and turned slightly to the west for our final approach to Montreal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.
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