A rare opportunity to fly Air Canada’s all-business-class ‘Jetz’

May 22, 2020

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Well, here’s one way to avoid having passengers in the middle seat — swap in a plane that doesn’t offer a single one onboard.

Last year, I had a very special opportunity to fly on an “Air Canada Jetz” Airbus A319, operated by the charter arm of Air Canada, which most often uses its fleet of three all-business-class planes to ferry professional athletes throughout the country, and to and from events in the U.S.

In my case, Airbus chartered the aircraft to ferry journalists between three of its North American manufacturing sites, from the A220 facility in Montreal to Airbus Helicopters in Columbus, Mississippi, and, finally, to the Airbus final assembly line near Mobile, Alabama.

I never expected to see the carrier add its all-biz plane to regular flights just a year later, but here we are, in the midst of a pandemic that’s completely eliminated the market for a charter Airbus A319. As a result, Air Canada has now begun selling seats on its Jetz planes directly to customers, with the aircraft operating short-haul flights beginning June 1.

As of now, the 58-seaters are only scheduled to operate passenger flights in June, though that period could be extended, of course. For now, you can find them on two daily round-trip flights between Toronto (YYZ) and Ottawa (YOW) and Montreal (YUL).

Interestingly, Air Canada is selling all seats on these flights as “premium economy,” with fares that are considerably lower than business class between the same cities — for example, business class from Ottawa to Toronto will run you almost $330, while a similar seat with far more legroom on Jetz will cost just over $210.

Flight Origin Depart Destination Arrives Minimum fare
AC 496 Toronto (YYZ) 7:00am Ottawa (YOW) 8:00am $214
AC 490 Toronto (YYZ) 9:20am Montreal (YUL) 10:34am $221
AC 498 Toronto (YYZ) 5:00pm Ottawa (YOW) 6:00pm $214
AC 492 Toronto (YYZ) 7:05pm Montreal (YUL) 8:19pm $221
AC 493 Montreal (YUL) 7:00am Toronto (YYZ) 8:19am $229
AC 491 Montreal (YUL) 4:45pm Toronto (YYZ) 6:04pm $229
AC 497 Ottawa (YOW) 9:00am Toronto (YYZ) 10:04am $212
AC 499 Ottawa (YOW) 7:00pm Toronto (YYZ) 8:04pm $212

I was impressed to see that Air Canada is clearly identifying its “Jetz” flights in the booking path — simply head to the airline’s website, search for a flight between the airports above in June, and select the premium economy option on one of the branded Air Canada Jetz flights to ensure you’re booked on the correct aircraft.

You can also identify the Jetz A319 by the below seat map, with 58 seats in a 2-2 configuration, as seen on ExpertFlyer. (ExpertFlyer is owned by the same company as The Points Guy.)

On Jetz charter flights, customers can choose to add special amenities, posh catering and more, though you’re unlikely to find an onboard experience anywhere near as luxurious as what I experienced during our day-long Airbus tour. For the time being, Air Canada has drastically cut back its onboard service across the board — passengers might receive a bottle of water, but the usual full meal service and onboard snack buffet are, unfortunately, out of the question.

With two free checked bags, speedy boarding and deplaning, and far fewer flyers onboard, a Jetz flight could certainly be a good option for Canadians looking to travel between Toronto and Ottawa and Montreal. Depending on how long the service remains in place, it might be out of reach of U.S.-based flyers, though — the border remains closed to nonessential travel, and it’s not yet clear when Canada may begin welcoming business and leisure travelers again.

Featured photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy.

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