Air Canada 767 Premium Rouge In 10 Pictures

Hello from Cairo! I’m in the middle of my first big trip of 2017, and on Monday night flew from Tampa to Toronto on Air Canada. While I’ll have a full trip report eventually, I wanted to share my initial thoughts, as usual.

While I’ve reviewed Air Canada extensively, what made this flight unique is that it was operated by a Rouge 767. For those of you not familiar, Rouge is Air Canada’s low cost carrier, which operates both short and long international flights.

While the Rouge 767s largely fly to Europe, at the moment they’re flying them twice a day between Toronto and Tampa. I suspect this is because in winter there’s limited transatlantic demand, so they’re better off operating these to leisure markets like Tampa, where the flights seem to be full.

Air Canada operates out of the “E” concourse in Tampa, and premium passengers don’t have lounge access — the only lounge in the terminal is the Delta SkyClub.

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Rouge doesn’t have business class, but rather has “Premium Rouge,” which is similar to premium economy on an international flight.

The Rouge 767s have a total of 24 seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2-2 configuration.

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The seats are quite narrow, as you’d expect in a six abreast 767 premium cabin. Legroom was decent, similar to what you’d get in domestic first class.

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The Rouge 767 I was on wasn’t in especially good condition and looked outdated and run down. The overhead bins look especially outdated, and caused a lot of problems during boarding, due to the extreme shortage of overhead bin space (which caused some passengers to yell at the crew — it certainly isn’t their fault).

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Since Rouge is a low cost operation, they have separate flight attendants, who are typically much younger and paid less than what you’ll find on mainline flights. Our entire crew seemed to be under 30, and they were all fairly chipper, though also not as polished or professional as you’d find on mainline Air Canada.

I was impressed that they served a full meal on a 2hr30min flight departing at 9:45PM. Menus were distributed before departure, and the dinner choice was between chicken and pasta.

There were almonds to start, along with a drink of choice.

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Then with the meal there was a side salad and some tiramisu. Overall it was a tasty meal, though I only nibbled at it, since I had dinner a few hours prior (10:30PM is no time to be eating dinner when departing Florida!).

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There are no personal televisions on the Rouge 767, though Premium Rouge passengers get iPads with about two dozen movies. Apparently you’re also supposed to be able to stream content, but the wifi for that didn’t seem to be working.

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I ended up watching Florence Foster Jenkins. I have a very specific airplane movie taste, and absolutely loved this movie — I highly recommend it.

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Overall this was a perfectly pleasant flight. I still prefer shorthaul business class on Air Canada narrowbodies, as they have wifi and personal televisions. Other than that, I didn’t notice much of a difference between Air Canada mainline and Rouge, though ideally I’d avoid the glorified premium economy product on a transatlantic flight, as it’s no substitute for a business class flat bed.

If you’ve flown with Air Canada Rouge, what was your experience like?

Comments

  1. Looks like the interior of Northwest Airlines from 2002. The service is probably the same, showing garbage CBC on the telly.

  2. Would you be as happy flying this same 767 plane and seat to Europe? Because half of Rouge’s routes go there.

  3. You should also do a review of WestJet’s premium economy services to LGW. The airline is expanding their 767 fleet and looking at other destinations as well. I’m not a fan, but there is definitely a market that they’ve managed to tap into.

  4. @Lucky,

    While you are in Cairo, can you please write something about transit/transfer experience at CAI? Whether it’s on the same ticket or onward separate ticket. Whether we changes from one terminal to another. Whether it’s on the same airlines or not.

    The reason I would like to know about it, as we know, there are plenty of amazing fares out of Cairo, so a lot of people may take this opportunity to position themselves in Cairo – I am one of them.

    I think that would be beneficial for many of us.

    Thanks!

  5. WestJet over Rouge/AC any day.
    Pricing, service and seating much better on WS.

    Rouge = never again.

  6. @ keitherson — As I said at the end of the post:
    “ideally I’d avoid the glorified premium economy product on a transatlantic flight, as it’s no substitute for a business class flat bed”

  7. Makes sense to fly a bigger plane to handle all of the “snow birds” heading to Florida. I suppose this time of year there are a lot of Canadian holiday vacationers headed back home.

    I’ve read enough bad things about Rouge to avoid it. But for a relatively short flight that seems like an acceptable product.

  8. Hey Lucky! I must have just missed you (by a few hours…) as I flew TPA-YUL on ROUGE as well.

    Given that almost all of Montreal/Toronto — Florida is operated by Rouge, I’ve flown them quite a lot in 2016, in Premium and Cattle class.
    1) Premium on 767 YUL – FLL : Breakfast time – great breakfast meal, same as regular AC, choice of omelette with chicken sausage, potatoes, pepper relish and cottage cheese, with fruit and yogurt OR Larger plate of fruit with yogurt, oatmeal, both served with bread, coffee, juice, etc. Flight was great, service was great, though with a full cabin of 24 passengers, the lead FA had a bit of trouble getting it all done in a timely manner.
    2) Premium on A319 FLL-YUL : Lunch time service, similar to your meal, though with warmed nuts (not packaged) and drink service throughout flight. I found the A319 roomier and more leg room overall.
    3) A319 TPA-YUL and YUL-TPA Regular economy. Horrible, tight, and too many passengers for the small aircraft.
    4) YYZ-SRQ on A321 ROUGE, regular economy : Having the exit row seats (where it’s a door and not overwing exit) made all the difference. No meal of course, but more leg room than even in premium rouge! It was a Xmas eve flight and FAs even distributed Lindt chocolate to the passengers.
    5) TPA-YUL A319 Premium Rouge. Identical meal to FLL-YUL, daytime lunch, etc.

    Overall, I am not “impressed” you got a full meal on the flight. AC gives full meals whenever possible. I’ve had a full breakfast, similar to YUL-FLL, on a 90 minute flight YUL-LGA on an E175! I wish more airlines would offer a meal in business/domestic first class, regardless of late night departure.

    I’ve flown AA a lot prior to 2016, and was always disappointed, after a long day of travel on SJO-MIA-YUL route, that a 4 hour flight from MIA-YUL departing at 8:04PM got only warmed nuts and a “snack”.

    I’m happy AC Rouge has not lowered its premium standards vs mainline, aside from lack of PTVs. Overall I found most flight attendants and crew very professional, happy, and cheerful.

    Cheers!

  9. ‘though also not as polished or professional as you’d find on mainline Air Canada’. Really, you consider mainline AC cabin crew ‘polished’? After fab service from Qatar Airways cabin crew, I find the AC staff and the British Airways staff a terrible let-down, and certainly not polished! :-/

  10. The biggest complaints that people have about Rouge is the legroom in economy on the A319/A321 aircraft. Those poor folk are packed in like sardines at 29″ pitch, similar to charter airlines. Those who get the extra legroom seats in Plus (exit rows, bulkheads), or the Premium seats like you tend do wonder what all the negative uproar is about. The premium seats on the A319/A321 are quite wide at 4 across.

    The 767s get an almost acceptable pitch at 30″ in economy, so they are are not as terrible. The premium seats are a bit narrow as you noted.

    So the seats on Rouge from worst to best are:

    Airbus Y — Boeing Y — Boeing + — Airbus + — Boeing Premium — Airbus Premium

    I’m a terribly cheap so-and-so, but I would never fly less than plus on Rouge. That makes them a bad value proposition for me, since I am fine with economy on most airlines.

  11. Rouge B767s are retired Air Canada B767s that were replaced by the new B787s.
    That’s why they seem outdated. Well, in fact, they are. The average age for the B767 Rouge fleet is 18.5 years.
    Their A319 fleet is also, on average, 18.5 years.
    The only exception is their A321 fleet. They are new A321s received in 2015 and 2016.

    Regarding internet connection via Wi-Fi, their aircraft don’t have it.
    They do have a Wi-Fi signal but just to stream movies and series to their app (available for iOS and Android).
    For premium economy, if you don’t want to use your own device or don’t have one with their app, you can get a tablet for free to watch their entertainment system.
    On economy, they rent the tablets you get for free on premium economy. You can still use your own device with their app for free.

  12. I’ve flew with Air Canada Rouge from Honolulu to Vancouver in premium rouge and I did have lounge access to the United Club in Honolulu. The seat itself leaves a lot to desire and it’s definitely not good for a red-eye flight. However my crew was friendly and chilled. Not having a personal television to watch the air show bothers me but in general I feel okay with the Air Canada Rouge product and wouldn’t hesitate to fly them for a short haul. But I’ll definitely avoid Air Canada Rouge for a transatlantic or a transpacific flight (e.g. Vancouver – Osaka).

  13. Did you forget what the UA 2 class domestic ghetto 763 look like already ? The 3 class 763 still have those bins in Y !

  14. A useful thing to point your readers to in the post would be one of your reviews of regular economy AC Rouge (or at least a cautionary word) — because from what I have heard, this is an absolute nightmare of an economy service. And potential AC passengers who might be deceived about that economy product based on this positive review of premium deserve some warning.

  15. I booked Air Canada from.Manchester, England to Toronto connecting to Ottawa for my son who flew out September 2016 for a semester at university.

    I thought it would be Air Canada as in the direct return flight Ottawa to Heathrow, England, landing Christmas Eve.

    As he was celebrating his 21st birthday whilst away I’d purchased extra leg room, front row each way.

    Both flights were on 767 but Rouge is seasonal from Manchester, England so he needed to land at Heathrow and shuttle up.with BA.

    No complaints about the flights or service which where both over 6 hrs and scheduled flights.

    We had been put off my West jet (again seasonal from Gatwick, England) to St John’s then to Ottawa as they were continual issues/delays out of Gatwick

    I’d flown United to New York 2 years ago from Manchester, England to Newark know a 757 single aisle. Never again.

    It seems that Rouge fly from regional airports in England, not Air Canada.

    Excellent service on both.

  16. Ben, you keep describing Rouge as a “low cost” carrier, and I don’t know how much you pay on the U.S. site, but for us Canadians it’s definitely NOT “low cost” – it is only low cost for Air Canada, as they save on costs by offering in coach a hard and soft product inferior to AC, but charge high fares comparable to those for AC.

    In short, getting “Rouged” means getting (at least) screwed twice: in product quality, and in price!

  17. For North America, Rouge is a notch better than Spirit which is not much to say the least. I stopped flying Rouge in 2015 after 3 back to back horrible experiences, mind you this was all in cattle class not premium. If I have to head to a leisure destination like Florida, I’d rather fly WestJet, United, American or Delta.

  18. AC needs to get ther act together. I work for a major US carrier as an Aircraft Maintence Engineering. I was stuck flying them from Rome to Toronto after repairing one of our aircraft in Italy. The 767’s are in terrible shape. The particular 767 I flew was 29 years old. Looking at it from a person in the maintenance field, this thing was in terrible shape. Only a matter of time until you start seeing 24 hour or more delays due to maintenance issues. AC needs to bring in some newer aircraft. A lot of good 767’s out there at a reasonable age ready to be leased or purchased.

  19. A terrible substitute for business class and AC advertises Rouge service as business class service between Toronto and Victoria. A total scam if you paying between $1,000.00 to $3,000.00 thinking your flying business class.

  20. Travelled to Toronto on Air Canada Rouge, this was booked by a cruise company for me. This was the worst flight company I have ever travelled with. The cabin crew were really, really bad. Air Canada should be ashamed of themselves using cabin crew who either had not been trained or been trained badly. I will never fly with them again.

  21. I had our corporate travel book KIX to YVR recently on the Rouge 767. I had no indication that this seat was on their budget service or that it was not really a business class, more like domestic first class as shown in the pictures. I was disappointed. However, the fare was one of the lowest that could be found and the flight not quite as long as I thought it would be. I managed to settle in after a double scotch. The seats were fairly comfortable and did not recline fully. Also, the overhead compartment space is limited, especially in the interior cabinets. Going through VYR was pretty easy, clearing US customs & immigration there. There was a queue of about twenty minutes or so. A layover of 4 hrs to get to SFO is a drag.

    Bottom line is that if you are expecting a true business class experience this is not it. The price was comparatively low and may appeal on that basis.

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