Nobody likes an 05:30 flight. I definitely don’t like an 05:30 flight. It was, however, really the only way to get out of Whitehorse and still have at least a tiny bit of time in Calgary. I could also have flown straight through to DC in the same day, but the way fares worked breaking it in Calgary saved a ton of money.
Given my disdain for hours before the sun comes up, I did everything possible to maximize sleep. Yes, the flight was sold out, but I was checked-in online, and that means 90 people max to get through the single security line in Whitehorse. I set everything out the night before, set my alarm for 04:00, and went to bed after verifying that the plane had taken off from Vancouver, so it would be overnighting in Whitehorse as planned.
04:00, jump out of bed, dash through the shower, and I was out the door on the way to the airport in my cab by 04:15. Just before reaching the airport I turned on my phone (oops, such a rush I’d forgotten, and was greeted with this gem from the previous evening’s flight:
Yes, it had taken off from Vancouver, but apparently had a mechanical and returned to Vancouver where they spent 2+ hours on a rolling delay before finally canceling after midnight, ensuring the crew timed out.
The airport was quiet when I arrived, confirming that everyone else had probably checked online and decided to sleep in. Total amateur mistake on my part to not double-check before leaving for the airport.
On the “good news side” the agents confirmed an extra section had been added and that we would leave around noon. Well, I’d have much less time in Calgary than planned, but nothing at all that I could do about it.
Grabbed a cab back to the hotel where they were happy to give me my room back, and by 05:30 I was back in bed where I slept for another three hours giving me a solid 8+ hour night when added up.
It also gave me a chance to explore Canada’s northernmost Starbucks…for research and science purposes of course!
Back to the airport around 10:30 for the 11:55 retimed flight, where I headed through security. I love the signs that are everywhere in Canada now warning that crossing the border with pot is illegal. Sadly, in Whitehorse they were accompanied by signs warning about the dangers of fentanyl.
No wait at all for security, and I was probably curb to gate in 5-6 minutes total, meaning I could have easily waited another 30 minutes. Just be warned, there’s only two security lines (and I’m totally usually one is only open) so plan ahead, because I’ve heard lines have the possibility of being much longer than I faced.
On the other side of security, the very small waiting area for security-required flights. (Like Yellowknife, flights headed north don’t have to go through security.)
Our plane landed at 11:10, giving them 45 minutes to turn it around, so no drama at all and we were all ready to go for our rescheduled 11:55 flight.
Air Canada flight 8771 operated by Jazz Aviation
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada (YXY) to Vancouver, BC (YVR)
Depart 11:55, Arrive: 14:15, flight time: 1:50, flight distance: 923 miles
Canadair CRJ-900, Registration C-GJZS, Manufactured 2017, Seat 2A
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 201,782
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,894,084
Gorgeous views of the Yukon on takeoff:
Fortunately, the flight had been re-provisioned with lunch instead of breakfast and started with a nuts and drink service. Can’t break my tradition of a glass of red.
Main course offerings were exactly the same as my Vancouver to Yellowknife the previous week, so instead of the odd General Tso’s Chicken I decided to go with the vegetarian pasta this time, which was surprisingly flavourful and quite taste. The blondie for dessert was actually excellent!
Had 90 minutes in Vancouver (I was offered a 35 minute connection, but was really not in the mood to run for it) and shockingly was able to find a seat in the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, where I decided that a mid-afternoon snack of cookies and a Ceasar was in order. Mmmmm clams…
Boarding to Calgary was right on time with a lot of people that looked exhausted and disoriented. Turns out lots of connections from Asia on this flight, so no matter how tiring my day had been there were definitely people who had it much worse!
Air Canada flight 218
Vancouver, BC (YVR) to Calgary, Alberta (YYC)
Depart 16:10, Arrive: 18:34, flight time: 1:24, flight distance: 428 miles
Airbus A321, Registration C-GIUB, Manufactured 2001, Seat 1C
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 202,210
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,894,512
Due to the short flight time the nuts and snack were served together on this flight. It was a sort of deconstructed salad niçoise today, which was at least reasonably healthy. Could have used more protein though…
Arrived in Calgary approximately six hours later than I wanted so rushed to catch an Uber and get to my downtown hotel as soon as possible so I could at least enjoy a dinner out.
The room was rather odd – it was an upgrade according to the staff, but the only thing it seemed to have is a ton of empty space. I’m not used to hotel rooms that feel cavernous! The hotel was ok, but since it was also the host hotel for the upcoming Grey Cup in a few days the hotel was swarming with media and corporate sponsors, so I imagine they had taken the “better” upgrades long before I was in the queue.
It was already nearly 8pm, so after a little research headed out on a short walk to get some dinner. The Calgary Tower was nicely illuminated at night:
Ended up at Bottlescrew Bill’s Pub due to it’s relatively promising-looking craft beer list…and proximity to my hotel of course.
You really can’t go wrong with a burger and poutine…at least until you wake up the next day and that combined with several beers reminds you you’re not 21 years old any more and can’t get away with that. At least it was delicious.
Terrifying statue on the walk back to the hotel. Nobody needs a 20 foot tall hockey mascot in a ten gallon hat mocking them.
With that, my all too short day in Calgary was over. I’d really hoped to have the whole afternoon to explore the city, but sometimes things conspire against you. I guess it just gives me an excuse to do a trip I’ve been thinking of: fly into Fort McMurray in northern Alberta and then drive to Calgary via Edmonton – trying to understand Alberta on the way. Maybe that’s something for 2020.
Off to bed….and time for the last segment: HOME!