Business trip to Canada - Air Canada J plus some DL and AS

Status
Not open for further replies.

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
This (business) trip report is a companion to one I did earlier this year, where I went to Calgary with CX via HKG and YVR and returned with QF from LAX (with AC handing the short sectors to/from Calgary). That trip report here:

This time it’s back to Calgary but all Air Canada. I’d like to say I’m going *A as a protest against Qantas enhancements, but truth is that I have a new client (also in Calgary :) ) and they are making the travel arrangements from there, rather than the existing client who shares the same TA as me, in Melbourne. Therefore I kept arrangements simple, going with AC. The new TA asked for my preferences and in response I send an e-mail containing all my Frequent Flyer and Hotel club memberships and just about every other preference I have. Quite a long e-mail once I’d finished.

It was handy getting back to Air Canada, as I need my Air Canada Aeroplan miles topped up for next year’s status. Aeroplan isn’t a great FF scheme, and I meant to switch over to United this year, but just forgot  (I’ve already had a few AC/Aeroplan flights credited already this year).

The travel agent got assigned seats – got my usual row 6, absolutely the best in the AC herringbone style 777s. It’s totally private due to a bulkhead behind. AC however has no ‘manage my booking’ facility on their web site. Only bookings made via the web site are visible there. However I’ve done this trip enough times that there isn’t that much to pre-select other than the seat, so no worries there.

As usual, I can’t get out of Hobart in time to reach Sydney for the 10:20am departure of AC34, so I’m on Virgin for a flight up there the day before and staying at Rydges Sydney International Airport. My first stay there wasn’t so great, but others have posted good reports, so going to give it another go.

Got an e-mail from Rydges the day before arriving inviting me to check in on-line. Asked for my basic preferences (I also asked for an airport view) and time of arrival, and mobile # so advice could be given on room assignment. At this point I checked the domestic to hotel shuttle arrangements – every half hour quarter to and quarter past the hour, from between T2 and T3, so all set there as well.

I tried to check-in on-line with Virgin but they appear to have changed it since I last did it, so I made a hash of it. Never mind, need to front at the counter anyway with my checked bags, so no biggie.

I’m also making a field trip down to Nevada, so the itinerary is:
HBA-SYD Virgin Y
SYD-YVR-YYC Air Canada J
YYC-SLC-ELK Delta Y
RNO-SEA-YYC Alaska Air Y
YYC-YVR-SYD Air Canada J
SYD-HBA Virgin Y
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin flight HBA-SYD was uneventful.

After arrival in SYD, a quick scoot along to the minibus/shuttle area at the top of the ‘U’. The place is a zoo with unattended cars parked in many of the bus parking areas. The Rydges mini bus arrives a few minutes later and soon we pull up at the hotel, opposite the International terminal. Having checked in on-line, it would have taken 30 seconds just to get the key, but I joined Priority Club recently and they had my new card waiting for me and explained the benefits. Not bad – 20% off tucker for instance. Oddly, the card is twice as thick as a regular card.

I stayed here last year and was very unimpressed. Noise throughout and awful food in the sports bar. But as others have had good experiences, I gave the place another go, and am glad I did. Room was standard, with an airside view. Others have posted pics but here are some more.

Rydges room.jpg

Rydges room 2.JPG

It’s a modern build of course, and it shows with abundant, handily located power points for gadgets and well laid out for cases etc. I went for dinner at the in-house Blackwattle bar and Grill and this was great. Service was prompt and attentive. I started with seafood chowder with a soft egg. Delicious! Main course was a simple pork chop with mash. Didn’t set the world on fire but perfectly adequate.

Rydges food.JPG

Next morning, the view over the airport appeared. A certain building caught my eye. Alas, no QFlounge for me today!

Rydges view.JPG
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
It was supposed to have been a simple amble across the road to check in for the Air Canada flight to Vancouver. However as I was walking out the door of Rydges, towing my case behind, the wheels caught on the edge of the tiles and I lost my grip and the bag fell flat. Unfortunately Very Angry Woman was following close behind and she stumbled over the suddenly stationary bag. Sorry! I said. The stream of vitriol and obscenities that came out of her mouth would make a soldier blush. I picked up the bag handle and carried on while Very Angry Woman continued a stream of commentary behind me. Eventually she over-took me and I was left wondering if she might be seated close to me on my flight! :shock:

Check-in was easy (Qantas uniformed staff) and immigration and security was blessedly quick. The lounge was ANZ koru Club. I could have used the Silver Kris lounge next door, but I saved that for a trip I’m making in a couple of weeks.

I’ve said before that I like Koru Clubs – usually friendly, functional with homely food. I prefer the SYD version over the MEL version, probably because of the view. One issue is that NZ flight departures tend to be bunched so the lounge can get very crowded. This time I discovered the mobile-free area at one end – virtually deserted! Perfect to spread out and actually relax.


ANZ Koru Club.JPG


One thing I found was because of the number of flights leaving at similar times, and each having 3 or so code share flight numbers, all the flight boards both in the lounge and in the terminal were filled with ‘closed’ flight notices and the AC flight, although boarding at the time, couldn’t make it to the board. Issue I suppose in SYD Airport not refreshing the signs frequently enough.

SYD sign.JPG

And so to boarding ...
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
I travel to Canada a fair bit and have gotten to know Air Canada pretty well. In many ways it resembles Qantas: a legacy carrier, dealing with high staff etc costs and with stiff competition from lower cost airlines (US ones in this case). It started up ‘Rouge’, its LCC last year and in many ways it resembles Jet Star (and is known, of course, as 'Rogue'). Routes deemed to be ‘leisure’ or ‘sun’ (Caribbean) are being progressively ‘Rouged’. There is a steady stream of enhancements and they are met with resentment the equal of any QFFer to QF's own. Off aircraft customer service if anything is worse than Qantas. They spun out their FF scheme years ago and now Aeroplan is just a points business.

Travelling J, especially long haul, one is insulated from the worst of an airline’s enhancements. I regard a long haul journey on AC in J much like Qantas – it’s a nice flight; you aren’t pampered like some of the Asian airlines, but equally you rarely come away really complaining (except when it’s a Café Breakfast  ). The crews tend to have a friendlier attitude on AC.

After boarding I’m offered a choice of OJ or ‘sparkling wine’. Egh to the latter, so it was juice. Later its obvious that the ‘sparkling wine’ was in fact Champagne (didn’t get the make, sorry) and it was served fairly liberally. Strange choice of words.

Immediately after take-off drinks orders were taken and I ordered my usual G&T, and asked for the can of tonic as well. AC always serve their mixed drinks really strong. For G&Ts they seem to just wave the tonic over the gin, & serve it :).

The AC J seat is a herringbone style pod. I’ve always found them comfortable. Row 6 in the front J cabin has a bulkhead behind, and there is extra space at your elbow, so it was 6K on the window for me this time. Even though the J galley is immediately behind you, there I hardly any noise, as there is a hard bulkhead in between, and it wraps around the seat somewhat. Here is the seat:

AC J seat.JPG

And to the cabin, on boarding and after ‘lights out’ – except the lights don’t go out.

AC cabin.JPG


AC have a bit of an obsession with blue lighting. At the seats, there is a row of blue lights at knee level along the divider unbderneath the stowed TV screen, and some more on the other side (see seat pics above). These can’t be turned off, except when you put the seat into bed mode and can be irritating. Overhead, when the cabin is darkened for sleep, the cabin light turn blue rather than go out. So when lying down, there is a row of lights shining down immediately above you. Only blue, but still brighter than is desirable.

Lunch came not long after drinks; here is the menu:

AC J menu.JPG


I chose the 3 x salmon (left) and roast lamb (right) which was delicious. An Argentinean malbec to go with it. I wish Air Canada would feature Canadian wines. There are some really good ones, but probably too expensive to AC :(

AC J meal.JPG  .


Sleep hardly came at all; with a 10am SYD departure, it’s not a great flight for sleep; at the 12 hour mark of the 14+ hour flight it’s just my usual bed-time and then they are serving breakfast. I watched a couple of movies and was pleased to see that in the latest Jason Bourne film, his hotel of choice in Moscow was the same that I'm staying at in a months time :p (Balschug Kempinski facing St Basil's). Memo to self. Don't look at anyone strangely.

Breakfast was a fairly standard choice: starting with fruit, yoghurt, danish and choice of omelette/sausage or waffles.

AC J breakfast.JPG


So another uneventful (certainly as far as sleep is concerned) TPAC flight on AC. Its undoubtedly the best way into Canada from Australia.
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
We arrived bang on time. I don’t like YVR airport, especially for arrivals. Between coming off the plane & going to immigration and then heading for the domestic Maple Leaf Lounge you must go up and down 2 stories 3 times, with some long walks. Not that I mind a good walk after getting off the tin can. I got off the plane and through customs in 20 minutes.

Eventually into the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (MLL). I dunno, MLLs just don’t float my boat. The food offerings are monotonous (soup with crackers, salads, muffins, ham …) and the wi-fi is always atrocious. They use ‘datavalet’ and its free if you have status but it’s nearly impossible to connect. At the desk they said ‘oh yes, nearly everyone uses the free airport wi-fi’. :rolleyes: Yes, I can see why! Some pics of the YVR MLL:


YVR MLL 1.JPG

YVR MLL 2.JPG

YVR MLL 3.JPG


AC 208 YVR-YYC boarded on time; it’s the usual E190 with 3 rows of J and I’m in the usual 3A, shown here.

Actually, I was a it surprised that the crew appeared to board only about 10 mins before the pax. The reason was obvious when we boarded. Of the 9 J seats (3 rows of 1-2), 6 were occupied by paxing AC crew. They got on early and occupied all the J overhead bin space except one place, which I snaffled. The other 2 J pax had their carry-one stowed in the Y cabin and in the cupboard. Paxing crew boarding early is practical from their point of view, but not great for paying J pax.

Flight left on time. As usual, some great views over the Rocky Mountains on the 90 minute hop to Calgary. A snack of BBQ chicken skewers was offered but declined.

Picked up at YYC by Allied Limo; unusually the driver wasn’t of sub-continent origin, so I missed out what has become a customary sub-continent-Aussie banter about cricket. But I caught up with the Stanley Cup hockey, with first match on tonight. LA Kings Vs NY Rangers; LA tipped to win the best of 7 playoff series.My apartment this time is on the edge of the CBD, close to the Bow river. It’s a good 1 bedder + office; about $180/night for the 2 week stay (cheaper by the month as there’s no GST charged then).

Calgary appt 1.JPG

Calgary appt 2.JPG
 

RailFlyer

Intern
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
87
Points
125
I’ve said before that I like Koru Clubs – usually friendly, functional with homely food. I prefer the SYD version over the MEL version, probably because of the view.


View attachment 29356
..

I used the SYD Koru club for the first time a few months ago. I agree it is nice and liked the food offerings, however the bathroom/toilets were awful. All fittings were stainless steal, like the kind of toilet you expect to find George Michael in, not in a "premium lounge". As is always the case with public toilets the whole place stank of urine (which is exactly the kind of thing you go to the lounge to avoid). Yuck.... it was enough for me to send them some feedback on how bad it was. The rest of the lounge experience and flight on AirNZ was lovely though. That said all future business will be going to EK where possible after I discovered they stock an bottomless bowl of chocolate Lindt balls in their lounge buffet.
 

TomVexille

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2013
Messages
11,132
Solutions
1
Points
1,325
Looks like the start of another great report from you RooFlyer
 

get me outta here

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2011
Messages
8,618
Points
985
Qantas
LT Silver
Thnaks, great photos and report, enjoying it . RE the AC staff taking up the J bin space, I remember a piece of wise advice to have your own staff park go and park in your competitor's carpark, not take up your own customer space. Instead of putting customers luggage in Y, why not their own.
 

craven morehead

Established Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2008
Messages
2,033
Points
705
Qantas
Platinum
Virgin
Red
We arrived bang on time. I don’t like YVR airport, especially for arrivals. Between coming off the plane & going to immigration and then heading for the domestic Maple Leaf Lounge you must go up and down 2 stories 3 times, with some long walks. Not that I mind a good walk after getting off the tin can. I got off the plane and through customs in 20 minutes.

Eventually into the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (MLL). I dunno, MLLs just don’t float my boat. The food offerings are monotonous (soup with crackers, salads, muffins, ham …) and the wi-fi is always atrocious. They use ‘datavalet’ and its free if you have status but it’s nearly impossible to connect. At the desk they said ‘oh yes, nearly everyone uses the free airport wi-fi’. :rolleyes: Yes, I can see why! Some pics of the YVR MLL:


View attachment 29628

View attachment 29629

View attachment 29630


AC 208 YVR-YYC boarded on time; it’s the usual E190 with 3 rows of J and I’m in the usual 3A, shown here.

Actually, I was a it surprised that the crew appeared to board only about 10 mins before the pax. The reason was obvious when we boarded. Of the 9 J seats (3 rows of 1-2), 6 were occupied by paxing AC crew. They got on early and occupied all the J overhead bin space except one place, which I snaffled. The other 2 J pax had their carry-one stowed in the Y cabin and in the cupboard. Paxing crew boarding early is practical from their point of view, but not great for paying J pax.

Flight left on time. As usual, some great views over the Rocky Mountains on the 90 minute hop to Calgary. A snack of BBQ chicken skewers was offered but declined.

Picked up at YYC by Allied Limo; unusually the driver wasn’t of sub-continent origin, so I missed out what has become a customary sub-continent-Aussie banter about cricket. But I caught up with the Stanley Cup hockey, with first match on tonight. LA Kings Vs NY Rangers; LA tipped to win the best of 7 playoff series.My apartment this time is on the edge of the CBD, close to the Bow river. It’s a good 1 bedder + office; about $180/night for the 2 week stay (cheaper by the month as there’s no GST charged then).

View attachment 29634

View attachment 29635

Nice digs !
 

Limewood

Established Member
Joined
Sep 20, 2006
Messages
4,492
Points
705
RooFlyer, you sure nailed it with this super report, be doing CNS/HKG/YVR/YYC etc next year and you will be my online guide!
 

smit0847

Established Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2011
Messages
4,044
Points
5
Great TR! Always enjoy seeing pics of some less common routes and products (bit sick of Flounge and A380 pics!)
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
Delay in next update. Game 4 of Stanley cup on right now; hopefully the decider in favour of LA Kings. :)
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
RooFlyer, you sure nailed it with this super report, be doing CNS/HKG/YVR/YYC etc next year and you will be my online guide!

Always happy to oblige Limewood; the more pertinent report would be: http://www.australianfrequentflyer.com.au/community/trip-reports-and-trip-photos/business-trip-nth-america-via-58503.html

BTW I just did 2 AS flights (Y). They were running an on-baord promo that if you applied for one of their Visa cards, you get 2,500 Miles and if accepted, another 25,000 :) Also, their on-board service was as good as their Miles program. :D
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
For those interested in Calgary, it was covered ad nauseum in the linked report in post 1.

After a few days its time for a trip down to Nevada to look at some properties. On Delta to Salt Lake City, then another DL for the short hop across the mountains to Elko, Nevada.

Check in for a Y journey with no status I thought would be tedious, and I was right. Directed to a kiosk. “It won’t work for me” I say, drawing on my long experience with those things. Surprisingly, it does recognize my passport and the young lady then proceeds to ask me every question that I know is already in the booking – destination; address of hotel there; do I have an ESTA? Home address etc etc. She taps all this in, then announces I’ll have to check in via the counter. Ho hum.

Reach counter quickly and the guy swipes my passport again, and again asks me the exact same questions as before. Does some tapping, weighs my checked bag (carry-on sized wheelie, but I’m checking it because it has my geology stuff in it, which wouldn’t be allowed in the cabin). Charges me $25, then says I’ll have to see the check-in person next door, as his computer hasn’t accepted all my details. Guess what? Yes, check-in next door asks all the same questions again. Taps away, tags the bag and says “OK, sir, you are good to go.” I stand there, uncertain. “Anything else I can do for you today, sir? “Um, yes, I reply. “Boarding passes?” … “OK, here you go”.

Pleased to see I have a TSA ‘pre Check’ on the BPs :) :) (I wonder if I got that via my Passport, as I have no status or history in my Delta bookings). US immigration (done before you leave, in Canada) had a long line, but moved very quickly. Unfortunately the security is still Canadian, so my TSA PreCheck is worthless there, so a long queue and wait for security.

A half hour or so in the ServiceAir lounge courtesy of a colleague with an AMEX Platinum card – pics of this lounge here.

Flight was on a sleek little Canadair Regional Jet 700 (left in pic below), typical of these short haul (2 hour) feeder flights. Terrific crew; a G&T was US$7.00, but I was told that the lemon slice had been enhanced some time ago. The flight arrived at SLC on time and TripItPro told me that our next gate was almost the entire length of the airport away – we only had 30 mins before (notional) boarding, so we hightailed it to the far end of the E pier, where the littlies fly out of. It’s an Embraer 120 Brasilia this time (on the R):

Delta planes.jpg


A very bumpy ascent out of SLC (we were warned by the Captain that it would be so) and an even more bumpy descent into Elko, where it was about 35 degrees and mid afternoon. Elko airport is a small one – just one gate, no airbridge and I think of the majors, only Delta has scheduled services. Delay getting off (problem with the stairs) then a 20 minute wait for bags! I guess the baggage handlers also do pax de-planing etc. There’s no doubt you are in mining country (LH pic)! Finally on our way to Best western Elko Inn. Room very standard (RH pic) but the aircon worked well :

Elko arrival.JPG


I was promised a great dinner at ‘Smiths’ but it was closed Sunday, so we chose a ‘Basque diner’. The Basques came to Nevada in the early 1800s as sheep herders and there is still an influence – but I suspect in name only; any ‘basque-ness’ would have been subsumed by the general Hispanic influence from Mexico. Several of us ordered the ‘Basque pork chops’ and were utterly dismayed when they arrived. We both forgot to ask about the serving size. What came out were 2 enormous pork chops each, baked potato for my colleague, au gratin (sort of) for me, and also a plate of green beans, a plate of rice, a plate of spaghetti to share. This after we all had a bowl of chicken and lentil soup, which appeared without ordering. I knew I wouldn’t possibly get close to finishinh my chops and it somewhat spoiled the meal – such a waste. For my part I managed one of the chops and a peck at the beans and potato. The Kendall Jackson Cab Sav from Sonoma wasn’t bad, but it was sipping only!

Elko meal.jpg


Next morning off to the mineral project in central Nevada. A few countryside pics:

Nevada 1.JPG


Onto Battle Mountain, the throbbing metropolis and centre of a number of large gold and base metal mines. We had lunch at the Owl Club. Club sandwiches were a safe and successful bet. Later we perused the fashion shops.

Nevada 4.JPG


Next ... onto the project (rocks, fish and more) ...
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
After lunch we headed off to the prospect – an old mine nearby Battle Mountain. Beauty is an open cut mine. Shame about the water though. That might have to go.

Nev panorama.jpg


Getting around was pretty easy in the maxi SUVs. Huge bloody things and we never did figure out what all the gadgets did.

Nevada 2.JPG


Now, who says mining is destructive to wildlife. This buck was a friendly fellow (surprisingly, considering the number of spent cartridges lying about), and the open cut is full of fish – bass, and others I didn’t get the name of. Some we saw would have been a good 30cm long. And yes, people do fish for them, and survive!

Nevada 3.JPG


After that, it was a 3 hour drive west to Reno. A mining hub, I must have been there at least once every year for the past 10 and occasionally back to 1990. Checked into the Best Western Reno Airport hotel. Again, pretty standard BW room – but well positioned on a corner and very quiet. Quick dinner at the hotel. I made sure that the main I ordered was small, but – sucked in – forgot to ask about the Chef’s Salad appetizer. A BIG bowl of salad with ranch dressing on the side. Have a look at this ‘appetiser’ (use the boiled egg on the left as scale)

Reno meal.jpg


I got rather annoyed – a stupid amount of food to present as an ‘appetiser’. I would have this on the table for 4 or 5 people to share back home. I picked at it, knowing that the main was to come. That was a small steak with sides and was OK. I bolted from the restaurant and turned in.

Next day was spent zooming around Reno seeing contractors etc. I’ve been visiting Reno for 25 years. It appears a bit sterile to a visitor, and the heat (low ‘30s) doesn’t help, but if you know a bit about the town and surrounds you can enjoy it. The main casinos are spread all over the urban area; there are some downtown, but they are somewhat seedy.

Next day it was Alaskan Airlines to Seattle then onto Calgary. There was a hotel shuttle to the airport, but as it was literally just over the road I walked, towing my carry-on style wheelie on the good concrete path. 10 mins walk. Check-in, again Y and without status was quick and easy. Again, US$25 for the checked bag. Great boarding pass - clearly printed, with all the relevant details (Gate first, flight, boards/departs, seat. And both flights on the one boarding pass! Great idea.

BP.jpg

I again got TSA PreCheck (surprised at that, not having Status on Alaskan) and it allowed me to zip through security – just put carry onto the x-ray belt, and walk through. No unpacking; no undressing.
Good, free airport Wi-Fi at RNO as well.
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
It’s a De Havilland Dash 8 for the 1h 45m flight to Seattle.

Alaskan Dash 8.jpg


Pre-boarding and priority boarding are policed and it goes well. I join general boarding and it’s announced that pax should board front or rear stairs depending on row number pre or post Row 10. I think I was one of about 3 pax who actually boarded rear stairs. Odd, when you looked at the completed boarding which had the back half (2 x 2 config) absolutely chokkers. I was seated next to a generously proportioned lady, and not being a skinny rake myself, I (and probably she!) was resigned to an uncomfortable trip. And I was a bit concerned about the loading of the small plane – as I said, the back half was packed; the front half (Y only) was about 1/4 full. But no problem – before starting up, they say anyone can move before take-off. I and maybe 6 others did so, but I again wondered about the loading balance! But no probs of course. Trip went well and we got some spectacular views of the volcanic peaks of the Cascade mountains:

Volcs 1.JPG


FA comes on the speaker with an ‘exciting’ announcement about their Mileage Plan. I’m already a member, so I tuned out a bit. But after the intro gumpf, it appears that if you applied for an Alaskan MP Visa, you’d get 25,000 miles on acceptance, and 2,500 extra just for applying. I asked if it was open to non US/Canadian citizens and she said don’t know, but why not give it a try? Indeed, so I did. It does give the option for being non US/Canadian citizen, so there’s a chance. It’ll come in handy for buying those Alaskan Miles bonus offers if they crack down on foreign cards again :) .

The last peak we passed was Mt Rainier (4,400 m) and the flight curled around it and then were into Seattle approach. I visited Seattle briefly many years ago; from the air it looks really nice. After we landed Mt Rainier loomed over the city.

Volcs 2.JPG


Seattle airport looks quite old, or at least the central part where we arrived and departed from. It’s the home of Alaskan Airlines, whom operate a number of Dash 8s and similar small craft that don’t get air bridges. In fact I’ve never seen so many non air bridge gates at a major airport and the boarding / arriving across the tarmac in winter can’t be fun. A covered walkway out to the Dash 8 parking area is being built – in 2014! Some day I may achieve status on Alaskan and enter the Boardroom (or maybe I’ll just get a J ticket!)

Alaskan.jpg


Our transport SEA-YYC is another Dash 8, but a customized job for I think the Oregon State Beavers football team.

Flying beaver.JPG


Another good flight on Alaskan. They give some of the best safety demos – in that they seem to make every one as if it was their first – enthusiastic, sharp and clear. Another opportunity offered to get an Alaskan credit card, for bonus Miles, but I thought one application today was enough. I bought a couple of drinks with what turned out tobe a debit card with no funds. Racked by guilt, I called Alaskan the next day with a valid credit card and chit information, offering to pay. Turns out they can’t accept payment retrospectively, so they said take it as complimentary. I like Alaskan, but not just for that reason. It’s the attitude of everybody – they are pleased to see you and pleased to make your journey as pleasant as possible. Goes a long way.
 

RooFlyer

Enthusiast
Joined
Nov 12, 2012
Messages
18,988
Solutions
2
Points
3,125
Qantas
Platinum
Time to leave Calgary for home. Usual Allied limo to the airport – same guy as my arrival ride. What he doesn’t know is unfortunately there won’t be a tip for him this time as I have no cash on me except for A$. I ran out of C$ 2 days ago and have been surviving on my Citi Plus debit card. Luckily I tipped well on the other trip and I hope he remembered!

Check-in at Air Canada in Calgary is easy, but then we come to the bloody airport security. Calgary must rank with LHR as having some of the slowest security lines around. First, you join either the standard, priority and NEXUS queues before the security area (60 or so in these lines). Once through those lines you join another single queue in the security area; about 20 people. There, some-one checks your BP and points you to one or other queues for the two of the five x-ray machine lines that are operating; each of these lines have about 10 people in them. So three separate queues to go through security.
To the Maple Leaf Lounge is which is also a zoo, having 1/3 of it is boarded up due to improvements. Calgary airport is undergoing a major expansion – adding a new 4.5km long runway (A380 capable at the ~ mile high airport), a major terminal expansion (about 25 new gates), new airport hotel etc etc and it seems like the existing terminal is also getting a makeover. Existing Calgary airport isn’t bad, as a whole but it is getting a bit small for a booming city.

As usual, it’s an Air Canada E190 for the 90 min hop to Vancouver. On the trip over, I noted how paxing AC crew pre-boarded and occupied most of the J seats and less conveniently, their gear occupied most of the J overhead bin storage space. This time, they boarded with the masses and like everyone else, struggled to find space for their kit. The 4 in J had gear accommodated in the cupboard, but another 8 or so in economy and boarding late would have struggled. Although it’s a lunch time flight we only get a ‘snack’ of a beef skewer and salad. The beef is dry and tough and wholly unappetizing. I compensate with a couple of G&Ts at the usual Air Canada ‘flame thrower’ strength. We arrive YVR 5 minutes early, but as ever, in my experience, an early arrival means the gate crew won’t be there and sure enough, they contrive to be delayed, so we wait off the gate for 15 minutes making us 10 minutes late.

I’ve arranged a couple of meetings in Vancouver before heading back to Oz. Vancouver! What’s not to like (except the airport). Since the Olympics, there’s the Skytrain to downtown. Driverless, it runs pretty regularly and sure beats using a taxi (using the roads it’s traffic lights all the way to the city). Takes half an hour to train it down town, first half on the surface and then the remainder underground. I have the meetings then have the rest of the day in town before needing to get to the airport by about 9:30pm.

BB skytrain.JPG


I love Vancouver. You can walk by the harbor any number of times. Unlike Sydney harbor, its still very much a working port. And also unlike Sydney harbor it has a ‘proper’ flying boat presence. Fun to sit and watch the constant stream of take-offs and landings right off the city edge; Stanley Park and mountains with ski fields in the background (at night the ski runs are lit up).

BB Harbour panoramas.jpg


BB sea planes.jpg


BB sea planes 3.jpg


Also by the waterfront are the final home of the Vancouver Winter Olympics torch and a ‘digital’ rendition of an Orca. I thought it was a Lego statue, but no; its a digital Orca.

BB torch and Orca.jpg
 
Using the S26 Wi-Fi Smart Plug you can easily convert your existing appliances into smart devices to be controlled remotely with your phone.

Takes just minutes to setup!

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

eric2011

Established Member
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
2,118
Solutions
1
Points
485
Qantas
Bronze
Virgin
Platinum
Thanks RooFlyer (especially post #18) I am doing the exact same trip and was very interested in your report


Sent from my iPad using AustFreqFly mobile app
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top