Air Canada 737 MAX 8 Seatmaps Revealed

Air Canada will be shortly be taking delivery of their first Boeing 737 Max 8. Rather than just using the plane for domestic and transborder flights, Air Canada announced last week that they’ll also be using it for transatlantic flights, including the following:

AC820 Toronto to Shannon departing 10:00PM arriving 9:30AM (+1 day) [Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat]
AC821 Shannon to Toronto departing 10:30AM arriving 12:45PM [Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat]

AC818 Montreal to Dublin departing 9:15PM arriving 8:25AM (+1 day) [Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat]
AC819 Dublin to Montreal departing 10:20AM arriving 12:00PM [Tue, Thu, Fri, Sat]

While I imagine these planes will still be primarily used for shorter flights, the decision to fly them transatlantic is interesting. This isn’t even Air Canada’s first transatlantic flight on a narrowbody aircraft. The airline also operates a flight from St. John’s to London Heathrow on an A319, though that flight is substantially shorter.

Anyway, up until now we haven’t actually known how Air Canada’s 737 MAX 8 would be configured. I assumed it would have a standard regional configuration, and that does indeed seem to be the case. Air Canada has now revealed the seatmap and specifications for their 737 MAX 8:

  • The 737 MAX 8 will have 16 business class seats and 153 economy class seats
  • Economy class seats will feature 30″ of pitch and 18″ of width
  • Business class seats will feature 38″ of pitch and 21″ of width
  • There will be a personal television at every seat (as a point of comparison, American has decided to eliminate personal televisions on their newest planes), as well as wifi

FlyerTalk member ctf12 shares the following rendering of the cabin from Air Canada’s investor day conference:

Here’s the seatmap for the new plane:

As a point of comparison, American’s 737 MAX 8 will have a total of 172 seats, so it will have three more seats than Air Canada’s configuration.

Air Canada’s configuration is identical to United’s 737-800s up until the exit row — United also has 16 first class seats, and then nine rows of extra legroom economy seating, including the two exit rows (that’s a lot of preferred seats). However, Air Canada manages to squeeze in an extra three seats in the back behind the exit row, though that seems to be accomplished by putting the bathrooms at the very back, rather than in front of the rear exits. In other words, the galley space will be smaller and cabin will be bigger.

Most of Air Canada’s narrowbody fleet presently has at least 31″ of seat pitch, so this is a downgrade in terms of personal space. However, with seat design changing, airlines are often able to reduce pitch with materially reducing legroom.

While not surprising, Air Canada will sell the forward cabin of these transatlantic flights as business class, even though the seat isn’t really competitive internationally. Pricing seems to be comparable to what you’d pay for a flat bed on a 777 or 787. For example, a roundtrip ticket between Toronto and Shannon will run you ~$2,900. Logically it seems like they should market it as premium economy in terms of the product offering, but I guess they do this because they can get away with it.

Comments

  1. DL and AA both get away with this by selling standard domestic FC at TATL J prices for US-KEF. Only stupid people pay that much for a cramped recliner seat.

  2. Sweet relief. Personal IFE retained, seat pitch not ridiculous, and, humorously, the seats are actually wider than on their long-haul fleet.

  3. @Lucky: “While I imagine these planes will still be primarily used for shorter flights, the decision to fly them transatlantic is interesting.” AC uses these for everything and anything since they freely swap between their widebodies and narrowbodies on flights in North America. So, in other words, we’ll be riding this from Halifax to Vancouver (5.5 hours), Montreal to SFO (5 hours), etc. etc. Lots of looooong flights, so I don’t see why they similarly lengthy European flight is any different.

  4. There’s something wrong with the stats; you cannot put an 18″ seat in a Boeing narrowbody, only in an Airbus. The economy seats must be 17″ wide — can you check and correct the article?

  5. It’s too bad those premium cabin seats will be sold as business class (with business class prices). In comparison, on Canada’s WestJet MAX aircraft, the premium seats will be marketed as premium economy; they’ll offer the same amenities but with a significantly lower fare than what AC is offering.

  6. The business class seats look similar to Premium Rouge which I flew from Berlin to Toronto this summer (and which I highly recommend for a daytime flight), but that fare was at least CDN $400.00 cheaper than the fare you show for Ireland, and Berlin is a longer flight. I don’t see this Ireland fare having any takers unless the price drops a lot.

  7. In terms of Air Canada pricing in the route, this is similar to when they started flying the ROUGE 763 to Rome from Montreal. Connecting via Toronto on an A330 or B77W was the same price as direct in Premium rouge – hardly comparable products.

    The following summer they drastically reduced the price on the B76R to match premium economy prices, and eventually re-instated the A330.

    While the price is high, ridiculous and unacceptable given there is no flat bed, I don’t expect it to stay that high for a long time. No one will pay that price, when they can 1-stop via FRA and get a proper business class and flat bed.

    I’m a little disappointed they haven’t tried to follow JetBlue’s MINT product. Surely they could have had a flat bed on a narrow-body if the plane is to be used TATL! Maybe on the Max9?

  8. Do the preferred seats have extra pitch?

    Also, you have a typo here and meant to say “without”:
    …airlines are often able to reduce pitch with materially reducing legroom.

  9. One thing to remember is that Air Canada brands their domestic front cabin as business class too. Thus it is in line with their domestic branding.

  10. I was under the impression that they were going to put lie flat reverse herringbone seats in biz class??? Or maybe I am thinking of another Max-8 operator.

  11. I flew JFK-KEF last year on DL. It was announced that by the day of my trip it was supposed to be on a flat-bed configuration. Instead it was a recliner, no pre-take-off sparkling as they provisioned for a domestic flight and gave away ear-buds instead of noise cancelling headphones for the same reason. Complained to DL and got 50k points re-deposited for a 125k redemption. I believe that on the longer MSP:KEF route it’s consistently flat-beds.

  12. Happy about their decision to keep the IFE! Was worried they would claim “everyone brings a phone/tablet with their own TV shows and movies” and cheap out like American did. AC is definitely one of the better airlines when it comes to installing IFE’s on pretty much their whole fleet. They even have IFE’s on their AC Express CRJ-700s! Only aircraft smaller than the CRJ-700s don’t have IFE’s and those fly short enough routes anyways.

  13. No ones talking about the lav situation. Those are tiny lavs in the back galley. Ever fly on a southwest or Virgin America plane with them back there?

    Also, they’re significantly reducing their catering space. That’s going to lead to smaller meals, less meal components longer heating times (less ovens).

    Lastly,you’ll have some very grumpy flight attendants who now have virtually zero personal space in the back galley.

  14. My experience of AC suggests grumpy FAs come standard regardless of galley size.

    Two bathrooms for 153 Economy pax suggests there are going to be long queues after the meal service. Strong bladders required…

  15. As your seat chart shows, the first 9 rows of economy will be “O” class PY and will probably get 1-2″ more pitch than 30″ Y, on an overseas flight, they will possibly receive an upgraded meal tray including real cutlery, linen, small wine glass and china dishes.
    As for Vij’s comparison to WestJet: their Plus seating is more pitch, a blocked middle seat with a free sandwich and snack (and unlimited complimentary booze). AC’s long haul J service includes 4 hot meal choices in china dishes, and two premium red, 2 premium whites as well as expanded beverages (Cranberry juice and Perrier). WestJet continues to charge for meals in Y on their overseas flights, AC still provides complimentary hot meals with choice of entrée and free booze in Y on Asia and Europe flights (not US, Mexico or Caribbean).

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