|Business Class Seat View 1|
I booked a flight from Toronto to Tel-Aviv on an Air Canada flex fare. This meant that I would be eligible for a free upgrade to business class, if the space was available. If not, I could be upgraded to premium economy. Since I had the upgrade points and I still had the status, I decided that it would be worthwhile (especially during low season) to take my chances.
I arrived at the airport and inquired about the likelihood of an upgrade. I was told that there were three other people ahead of me and only two spots. Oh well, I figured, at least I can probably fly "premium economy" which would get me a bit more leg room.
About an hour before the flight, I checked with very helpful lounge staff. They told me that I had been upgraded and was seated in 5D....so I was all set.
Air Canada is now using 787 "Dreamliners" on its flights between Tel-Aviv and Toronto. These are very new planes. Apparently, they fly at a cruising speed of about 60 km/h faster, so the flight time is reduced by about half hour to forty-five minutes. I have to say that the planes are also quite smooth and much less noisy than many other planes. Beyond that, the seats in the economy class seem to be as crowded, if not more so, than other planes.
But for this flight, I was quite fortunate.
|Business Class Seat View 2|
Business class seats include a fully reclining, extra-wide seat and a large sized personal screen. They also include a side table, a storage compartment and a handy electronic remote control that controls the seat, the TV, the entertainment and can even call for flight attendants. The seat was very comfortable though I did not use the down comforter that was also provided.
At the start of the flight, the attendants come around and offered a choice of orange juice (freshly squeezed) or sparkling wine. Since I had already been in the lounge for a couple of hours, I declined these drinks.
|Air Canada Vegetable Platter|
Our flight left on time and the attendants came around with the menu. I had pre-ordered an Asian vegetarian meal but was still given the choice of one of the business class options. I went with a cod dish, which was served with wild rice and vegetables.
The main course was reasonably tasty - cod served with wild rice, fennel and carrots. Not particularly memorable but edible and served with a reasonably artistic flair.
Meanwhile, I managed to sample some of the different wines that were being offered. A California Meritage, a Spanish wine and a French wine. None of the wines were particularly enticing but I preferred the California selection. The flight attendants were quite eager to help me find a wine that was most suitable to my palate. They insisted that I try each of the wines until I find one that I really liked....
During the meal, I watched the movie Transcendence, which started off as an interesting concept but fizzled. I also watched a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory.
By the time the movie ended and the dishes were cleared, I enjoyed one last drink - a decaf coffee. I then reclined the seat-bed fully - and tried to go to sleep. Next thing I knew, I was hearing an announcement that we were less than two hours away from Tel-Aviv and that a hot breakfast would soon be served. I really wasn't that hungry at this point. The flight attendants came around with a choice of pancakes or quiche, both served with chicken sausages. I would not have eaten either dish and would have had my Asian vegetarian breakfast. But instead, I had a yogurt and a coffee and I was fine.
Overall, this was certainly one of the more enjoyable flights that I have had between Toronto and Tel-Aviv. I really don't think I would spend the $5,000 to buy a regular priced business class ticket - and I am not even sure I would pay the $500 cost to upgrade from "flex" class to business class that Air Canada is now charging its passengers (other than Altitude 100K passengers). But I took advantage of this rare opportunity and enjoyed the free upgrade knowing that it is probably unlikely that I will have too many similar chances in the near future.
On hearing about my flight, a number of people, here in Israel, told me that I probably didn't want to get off the plane...
Well, as nice as the flight was, I can't really go that far. After all, I arrived to a sunny 22C day, having left the -3C temperature of Toronto. Winter? In Israel? Maybe for a few days - but even the roughest winter days here would be like early fall in Canada, unless you happen to live in Jerusalem or way up north, in which case you might get a few odd days of snow. Of course, it might feel like winter inside the homes since most homes are built without insulation. But you can always step outside and enjoy the sun.
And now that January has almost come to an end, there are likely to be very few "wintry"days left in Israel - and even fewer when measured by Canadian standards. Of course, that all makes sense, since the holiday of Tu B'Shevat, the "New Year of the Trees" is quickly approaching and the weather should be nice enough to allow us to plant some new trees.
Hopefully, on my return to Toronto I will hear that the groundhog has delivered some good news about the Toronto forecast.