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Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy) on an A321LR from London to Toronto

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This is our review of Air Transat’s premium economy cabin on a flight from London Gatwick to Toronto.

You might be surprised to hear that the UK-Canada market has a thriving air-conomy. Whilst it comes as no surprise that both British Airways and Air Canada operate flights, they are also joined by two Canadian airlines: WestJet and Air Transat.

WestJet, a full service carrier, recently consolidated operations at its home base in Calgary and no longer flies from London to Toronto. Air Transat, on the other hand, has an extensive transatlantic route network.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

From Gatwick, Air Transat flies to:

  • Toronto (2x daily)
  • Montreal (3x week)
  • Quebec City (1x week, seasonal)

You can also fly on Air Transat to Toronto from Glasgow and Manchester.

Air Transat offered us a review flight in Club Class, their premium economy and highest cabin class. I paid for all other expenses.

Introducing Air Transat

Air Transat is by no means a new entrant on the transatlantic market, having launched flights between Toronto and London in 1988, 35 years ago. However, it is one you are unlikely to be familiar with.

Before I get into the nitty gritty, I want to get one thing straight: Air Transat is a hybrid airline offering partially unbundled fares.

In total there are five different booking options, including two for ‘Club Class’, Air Transat’s premium economy offering:

The cheapest economy tickets, as you can see, come with no checked baggage or other benefits.

If you’ve booked the Eco Budget option, additional fees include:

  • £36 for seat selection (one-way)
  • £55 for a checked bag (one-way)

You can also buy an ‘Option Plus’ bundle which includes priority services, seat selection and a checked bag for £158 return per passenger, saving you £24.

Of course, if you are flying in Club Class then you don’t have to worry – you get two checked bags, a full meal and bar service as well as an amenity kit and priority check-in / boarding included. Plus, of course, a bigger seat and separate cabin.

The cheapest Eco Budget return fare I found was £430 whilst Club Standard priced at £1,019. In reality the price gap will be lower if you would otherwise pay for meals and checked baggage.

At the airport

Air Transat operates from London Gatwick’s North Terminal. This is slightly less convenient if arriving by train – you need to take the inter-terminal air train – but very convenient if you use Zipcar’s flexible one-way rentals as I ended up doing due to yet another train strike.

Check-in for Air Transat is in Zone E, right next to security on the upper floor:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

There were no queues for the Club Class counter and just a handful of people in economy, so I was able to drop my bag within a few minutes:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

From check-in it’s about twenty steps to security. One benefit of flying Club Class is that you also get to use the Premium Gatwick Security channels so I was airside in less than ten minutes.

As is standard for premium economy, no lounge access is included. However, I popped in to the Plaza Premium lounge using my Amex Platinum. Here is an earlier review of the Plaza Premium lounge at Gatwick North.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Onboard Air Transat’s A321LR

Air Transat uses a mix of Airbus A330s and A321LRs for its transatlantic operations – the latter being Airbus’ standard A321 single aisle aircraft but with extended range (the LR stands for ‘Long Range’.)

From London, at least in the Summer, you have a choice of both. I opted for the A321LR flight as I had yet to try flying a single aisle across the Atlantic.

In total, Air Transat’s A321LR is kitted out with 199 seats – 12 in the small Club cabin at the front and 187 economy seats across the rest of the aircraft.

The Club Class cabin is tiny – just three rows, each with 2-2 seating:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Fortunately, whilst this is typically a short haul aircraft, you get ‘real’ premium economy seats with larger seats and extra legroom:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Club Class seats come with an additional 4″ (10cm) seat width and 7″ (17.5cm) of legroom versus standard economy seats. That’s comparable with premium economy seats on other airlines, although the Air Transat seat is wider than British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Norse at 22″ (55cm).

Even at 6’2″ (188cm) there is plenty of room for me:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

It’s not just the seats that are wide, either. The Club Class aisle is one of the widest I have ever seen, with plenty of room for you to pass the trolley should you wish to. That’s because premium economy seats are usually designed for widebody aircraft rather than a 2-2 layout on a single aisle, a roomier layout.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

The recline is good, although not as good as on Norse Atlantic. As with other premium economy cabins, it can be a little challenging to exit when all the seats are in recline.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

I was in 3K, the last row of Club Class. Interestingly, there is no hard cabin separation between Club Class and economy: instead, there’s just a curtain at head level.

Club Class seats are finished in natural grey leather with contrasting white headrests:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Both sides of the headrest are flexible and provide good support should you want to sleep.

There is a small cocktail table between the seat pairs, although this was a little smaller than I would’ve liked. You can just about squeeze two glasses on it:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Tray tables fold out from the middle armrest as a single unit. They are a bit clunky to put back, however:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

There is also a bottle holder between the seats in front. These are so useful and I wish all premium economy seats had them:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

There are two storage flaps in the seat in front, perfect for storing a laptop or tablet. You also have an adjustable foot rest as well as leg rest.

Waiting at my seat was a fleece blanket in a reusable bag. This had a label saying it is ‘yours to keep’ although I’m not sure, in practice, many do. There is no pillow, which is an oversight in my opinion. The blanket itself kept me warm on my flights.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

All Club Class passengers also get an excellent grey faux leather amenity kit which could easily pass as a business class kit at other airlines:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Inside is a dental kit, eye mask, socks, ear plugs and L’Occitane lip balm and hand cream. It is significantly more substantial than what you would get on other transatlantic carriers in premium economy, and the L’Occitane amenities a step above what I would expect for a low-cost carrier.

In-flight entertainment on Air Transat

In front of you is a 13.3″ adjustable touch screen:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

The screen was very responsive and the software, although basic, does everything it needs to.

The in-flight film selection is not going to win any awards. There were 81 films to choose from. Most were releases from the last ten or so years; there were fewer films that have just left the cinemas as you’d usually find on other airlines. That said, there is still a good range of films available. In the mood for something easy and cheerful, I watched Melissa McCarthy’s Life of the Party.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

The headphones provided come in a small firm pouch and are of the in-ear variety. They are about as good as you would expect for £2 headphones – I always bring my own.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Should you wish to charge your own devices, there is a USB-A port below the IFE screen as well as universal sockets in between the seats at your feet.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective!) there is no in-flight wifi available as the aircraft does not have the requisite antennas. This is rare for an intercontinental aircraft these days and I’m surprised Air Transat doesn’t offer it.

Service and food onboard Air Transat’s A321LR

One of the benefits of being in Club Class is that you have one crew member dedicated to the twelve passengers in the cabin which means you normally get a speedy and more personalised service.

With everyone (including economy passengers) boarding from the forward doors, the crew waited until boarding was complete to offer pre-departure drinks.

You have a choice between orange juice, a mimosa / bucks fizz or sparkling wine. I did inquire with the crew what the wine was – I assumed it would be either prosecco or a Canadian sparkling wine – and they confirmed it was Millesimato Prosecco from Bottega. I was pleased to see it being served in real glassware:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

A meal service is also offered in economy, and you can also purchase items for the onboard bistro. The prices were reasonable – $10.99 Canadian for 200ml glass of the prosecco, or around £6.50.

After take-off, crew came round again with a second round of drinks accompanied by a small bowl of cheesy snacks:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

The main meal service followed shortly after – around an hour or so after take-off.

As it turns out, Air Transat lets you pre-order your main meal from 72 hours before departure. This was a feature that completely passed me by on my outbound flight as I chose not to check-in online as I had baggage to drop.

In addition to being guaranteed your first choice, you also get a greater choice of meals when you pre-order, with six rather than three main meals. The meal choices are identical regardless of where you are flying from. These are:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)
  • Butternut squash ravioli
  • Coq au vin
  • Osso buco
  • Paella
  • Mushroom ravioli
  • Tuscan chicken

The on-board selection seems to vary, with osso buco available on my outbound but not on my return for example.

As I had missed the memo about pre-ordering on the outbound, I had three options including the osso buco, butternut squash ravioli and Tuscan chicken. I opted for the chicken which came in a creamy sauce with a side of pesto risotto rice and artichoke:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

The meal is served on a single tray and comes with a leaf salad as well as tiramisu dessert and a bread roll.

The Tuscan chicken was tasty and served on real china with metal cutlery and glassware – no plastic in sight. On my return I tried the coq au vin and the paella (I was hungry!) The paella was definitely the weaker of the two – a bit disappointing, if I’m honest.

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Tea and coffee was offered after dinner.

Midway through the flight the crew came round with an offering of snacks which included mini tubes of pringles, big bags of haribo and four-bar kitkats – basically items from the economy buy-on-board snack menu.

They also offered a number of sweet Irish coffees, which was a novelty and perked me up after my nap:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

Just over 90 minutes before landing afternoon tea was served. This is unique to flights from the UK – other European departures get a snack board of cheese and cold cuts. The sandwiches included ham and cheese, cucumber and cream cheese and bbq chicken:

Review: Air Transat Club Class (premium economy)

The scone, replete with Rodda’s clotted cream and Tiptree jam rounded it out nicely. It was basically the same as the afternoon tea offered by British Airways in Club World.


I’m pleased to say that I was impressed with the Air Transat experience as a whole.

Sparkling wine was available throughout the flight, which is more than can be said for competing transatlantic carriers (stay tuned for my review of United Premium Plus). The service from the crew was warm and welcoming both on my outbound and return.

Overall, Club Class on Air Transat is closer (and even exceeds) premium economy on other full-service airlines. I found it better than premium on Norse Atlantic, where the food in particular is disappointing, although Norse does not currently fly to Canada. I would have no qualms about flying Air Transat’s Club Class again.

I should mention, not unexpectedly, that Air Transat is not in the any of the global airline alliances and you can’t earn or spend frequent flyer miles from other programmes on their flights. It also doesn’t have any frequent flyer programme of its own.

You can find out more about Air Transat on its website here. Thank you to the Air Transat team for arranging my flight.

Comments (70)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Tom R says:

    They used to fly from BHX many moons ago, flew them to YYZ. Ofc now no flights at all BHX – Canada (nor the US really except the miles from Orlando MLB). Also did LGW-YYC in June 07. From your listing looks like they dropped YVR & YYC then? Both times were just in economy but remember them being perfectly decent compared to other long haul carriers back then even though they were cheaper

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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