Canadian Wanderer

Travel plans, thoughts & lessons

Flight review: Air Canada Rouge Boeing 767

Thanks to an Air Canada travel credit earned by accepting a voluntary bump I was able to parlay part of it into a  quick trip to Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding and made my virgin voyage on Air Canada Rouge, a charter airline-like subsidiary Air Canada launched on Canada Day 2013, whom I’d heard much feedback about with very little of it being complimentary. Happily for me however my luck in picking seats on Rouge was far better than my luck at picking numbers at the roulette table and so came away with a more positive impression of the airline-within-an-airline.

photo by author

When describing Rouge to others I’m always careful not to use the term ‘low cost airline’ because it really is only low cost to Air Canada as it operates without unionized flight crew enabling it to better compete with real ‘no frills’ and charter airlines on mainly leisure routes. Passengers flying on Rouge will notice some big differences compared to mainline Air Canada aircraft such as no seat back in-flight entertainment screens (iPads can be rented for $10 but availability is limited), older aircraft and at 30 inches a much tighter seat pitch by 3 – 4 inches.

It was because of the compressed economy seats that I opted to spend $30 to assign a roomier Rouge Plus  Preferred Seat on the Boeing 767 for the Vancouver – Las Vegas flight but  this investment is well worth it as these seats at the front of the economy cabin deliver an extra 5 inches of legroom as well as boarding in zone 3 ahead of other economy passengers. This is window seat 14A on the Boeing 767 which features two seats on either side of a center section of three seats.

photo by author

Note the green light of the shared power port between the seats.

For my return flight I opted for the Rouge Plus bulkhead window seat 12A which offers as much legroom as the other Preferred seats however the seat itself is a little narrower because the tray table is tucked away in the armrest.

photo by author

I purchased my Rouge Plus seat assignment months in advance on the outbound flight but it was only while in Vegas that I opted to upgrade my seat on the return flight for the following day being unable to convince myself to try Rouge economy seats in the name of travel research and I was lucky the upgraded seats were still available for purchase as they can fill up well in advance. I would definitely recommend securing these seats on longer overseas flights as while I would’ve survived a 2.5 hour Vancouver – Las Vegas Rouge economy flight am less sure how I’d fare on a 7+ hour journey in a tight Rouge economy seat.

The Rouge stewards  – all trained by Disney and sporting hip Canadian-made uniforms – were universally polite in making the rounds with food & beverage service. The Air Canada Bistro menu offers a selection of hot foods and snack items but having had an early morning big breakfast at an Edmonton Airport eatery opted for the bag of cashews and a large 475 ml can of Mill Street Organic Beer which at $9.50 for the combo didn’t strike me as overly expensive compared to airport pricing or even pricing around Edmonton.

I’ve always preferred a window seat for the views and enjoyed watching the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest give way to the arid brown landscape of the Nevada desert.

photo by author

The pilot and first officer on the Vancouver – Las Vegas flight was all female which was another travel first for me.

While my preference would’ve been to fly non-stop from Edmonton – Las Vegas instead of connecting through Vancouver my first experience flying Air Canada Rouge was far from horrible as the flight was on time, the in-flight service efficient and the Rouge Plus seats comfortable so there was little for me to dislike. Whether I’d fly on Rouge again would depend on a number of factors including cost, destination, alternate airline options and availability of Rouge Plus seats but wouldn’t rule out a future flight.

4 Comments

  1. I can’t speak to the 767, but I did a flight this month on a Rouge A321 in economy. If you are over 6’ tall it’s basically a torture chamber. The worst seat pitch ever.

    • Canadian Wanderer

      December 28, 2017 at 10:19 AM

      The seat pitch in the standard economy seats between the Boeing 767 and Airbus A321 is fairly similar and yes, tortuous depending upon your size so would definitely recommend splurging for a few dollars and upgrading to the “Preferred” seats which offer more legroom and priority boarding.

  2. What was better 12A with the bulkhead or 14A where you can slide your feet under the seat in front?

    • Canadian Wanderer

      February 14, 2018 at 6:03 AM

      To me 14A as it offers a slightly wider seat and the ability to store a carry on underneath the city in front which trumps the few extra inches of legroom in 12A.

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