Time for another trip report from your Friendly Manitoba Traveler! I’ve done a fair bit of domestic flying this year, mostly on WS, and this trip was no different. I was going back to British Columbia to visit friends and take a break from work.
I went to Victoria(YYJ) on WS, and came home from Vancouver(YVR) on AC. Why both airlines, you may ask? Fair question! I was using up WestJet dollars and Aeroplan points to make this trip ‘affordable’. Flying is Canada is prohibitively expensive, so I need all the help I can get!
Premise of the trip: I was recently changing jobs in my company, so I wanted to take a week break in between finishing one job and starting another. A clean break, if you will. I talked to my friends out in BC, and they said that they would be more than happy to have me for the week. A full week of fun was planned with a weekend on Vancouver Island, the ferry back to the mainland, hanging around Abbotsford, Whistler, and downtown Vancouver. With all of the plans booked, it was now a matter of getting the flights that I wanted!
Ideally, I wanted to fly into Victoria(YYJ) on AC, and out of Abbotsford(YXX) on WS. It was simply a matter of convenience to fly out of Abbotsford, as that is where my buddy lives. As it turned out, there were no Aeroplan seats on the Friday night flight to Victoria, so I had to use my WestJet dollars to fly to Victoria instead. Damn. Now that meant I had to fly out Vancouver (YVR) instead of Abbotsford(YXX), as Air Canada doesn’t fly from Abbotsford(YXX). OK, slight change in plans. We’ll stay in downtown Vancouver the night before the flight and I’ll take the Canada Line train to the airport instead. Done and done! Everything was set in stone, and the trip was ready!
**Courtesy of www.gcmap.com
Day of Departure to Victoria (YYJ): I was stoked to go! I booked a half day off work to meet with my kid’s teachers before heading to the airport. With the formalities of the education system performed, I hooked on a ride to the airport from my in-laws and was at the airport by 3:30pm for my 6:00pm flight… Lots of time to spare!
I was booked on a flight to Calgary, and then had a 3 hour layover until my next flight to Victoria. I also knew that there was another flight from Calgary to Victoria that departed 30 minutes after I arrived. It’s a tight squeeze (and more $$$), hence why I didn’t do it.
At the airport, I decided to check my one bag all the way through. I know that WestJet seems to be more flexible with their same-day changes than Air Canada, so I thought that it wouldn’t be any harm in asking if I could get on the earlier flights. After talking to the very helpful WestJet agent, she put me on the earlier flight from Calgary to Victoria, and checked my bag all the way through…. Without charging me any additional $$$. That was a nice touch! Thank you WestJet!
With my bags gone, and my backpack in tow, I breezed through security and went to TGIFridays for a pre-flight meal.
Terminal Check-in area at Dusk in Winnipeg (YWG). (The evening light make the wood tones just scream WOW!)
Just before security at Winnipeg (YWG)
WestJet 737-600 at the gate in front of the TGIFridays
A WestJet 737-700 getting ready to go to Edmonton (YEG)
After a scrumptious salad and Alexander Keith’s, I went for a walk around the 1 year old terminal. I still really like the terminal, but have to agree that the choices for a traveller in terms of stores and restaurants are still pretty low. Also, I still miss the observation deck and Harvey’s! With all of its shortcomings, though, the new terminal is still a country-mile further ahead than the previous terminal!
The departure and arrivals board in Winnipeg (YWG)
A view down the domestic gate area in Winnipeg (YWG)
Looking down to the arrivals area in Winnipeg (YWG)
After burning enough time (and getting some toys for the kids of the friends I was staying with), I decided that it was time to go to the gate and wait for the plane. The sun had set (5pm!), and it was dark outside now. Not much to see except what was right in front of the glass.
Waiting at the gate in Winnipeg for my flight to Calgary
Winnipeg (YWG) to Calgary (YYC)
November 16th, 2012
Estimated Load factor: 100%
ETD: 18:00 CST ATD: 18:08 CST
ETA: 19:10 MST ATA: 19:00 MST
Depart Gate: YWG - 5
Arrival Gate: YYC - D48
Boarding was started at 17:30, and soon I was walking down the glass jetway to the Boeing 737-700 that would be taking me to Calgary. I wasn’t able to get the registration of the plane because it was so dark outside.
I was greeted by a nice flight crew as I stepped on to the plane. Having flown WestJet a few times this year, I knew what I was going to get. A friendly flight crew, smile, and not a lot of chit chat. Sure enough, that is exactly what I got. When I got to my window seat in row 21, I saw 2 young children (6 and 8 years old) sitting in the middle and aisle seat. ‘Oh…. Great.’ I thought. I get to be badgered incessantly by a couple of young ones. Turns out there was a family of 5 (4 kids and 1 poor, poor mother) who were travelling to Cabo San Lucas for a vacation. Mom and the oldest kid had the infant one side of the plane, and I got to sit with the other 2.
The mother came and talked to me and made sure I was OK sitting with them. Having young ones myself, this wasn’t a stretch. I think the youngest one was nervous about flying, but they were OK after the takeoff. I was able to explain the different sounds the plane made and how we knew it was going to start going really fast when it got really loud. As it turns out, I don’t really remember too much of the flight because of the kids. We watched shows on their iPods, played DS and told jokes to each over the whole flight. It made the time fly by (pun intended) and soon enough we were landing in Calgary.
For the record, I think we took off from runway 18 in Winnipeg and landed on runway 16 in Calgary. Like I said, I was too busy having fun with the kids to really remember!
Looking east back to Winnipeg after takeoff
The dimmed cabin during service inflight
Moving map…in between the ads and bad jokes
We were a few minutes late leaving Winnipeg, but made up the time getting to Calgary, as we arrived a few minutes early. Woo hoo! My really tight connection in Calgary wasn’t AS tight anymore.
Calgary (YYC) to Victoria (YYJ)
November 16th, 2012
Boeing 737-700 (-800???)
Estimated Load factor: 70%
ETD: 19:45 MST ATD: 19:54 CST
ETA: 20:19 PST ATA: 20:13 PST
Depart Gate: YYC – D42
Arrival Gate: YYJ – 9
As I stepped in Calgary, I was greeted by the controlled chaos that is a WestJet flight bank. There were many flights arriving and departing at this time, and people were everywhere! I didn’t have much time to waste, so I decided to go down to gate D42 for my Victoria flight. I stopped off at the bathroom for a quick bio break, and arrived at gate D42 to see that they had called general boarding for my flight. Right across from the gate was Tim Horton’s… Hmm, do I get in line for a coffee or a flight. Coffee? Flight? Coffee…….nope. Flight it was. I jumped into the queue for my flight (and looked longingly at the Timmie’s!). Soon enough, I was on board the plane and out of the noise of the terminal.
In line for my flight in Calgary… and not Tim Horton’s
The flight itself was uneventful. It took off…in the dark. It flew over the Rockies…in the dark, and landed…in the dark. Nothing to see here! Carry on!
Now, according to flightaware, this particular flight was flown on a 737-800. I thought it was a 737-700. No 34” of seat pitch. There wasn’t anything distinctive about the flight in particular. But this would significant for me as it would have been my first flight on a 737-800! Can anyone confirm if this flight was flown by a 737-800?
The plane arrived in Victoria as scheduled and landed uneventfully…in the dark. I must try this flight during the daylight on of these days, as I imagine that the scenery is stunning!
Thanks for reading Part 1 of my report! Look forward to part 2 which includes pics from Victoria, Vancouver, and Whistler! As for the flying, I will document the drama that ensued in flying on Air Canada and how I got a $200 travel voucher from them for it!