Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Air Canada Lounge Access Wiki

An Air Canada flyer off FlyerTalk.com has set up an Air Canada Lounge wiki whereby elite flyers can post when and where they are 'lounging' to see if they can offer lounge access to others. Since most Elite and Super Elite members can take one guest into the lounge, those traveling alone can offer up their guest spot to someone who just happens to be traveling around the same time. The thread covering this on FlyerTalk shows how some people like this idea and how other Top Tier members do not as they prefer the lounges to be less crowded. I will remain neutral on this one.

From what I can figure out is that you must be a FlyerTalk user to be able to communicate with whomever is offering up a guest spot as there is nothing on the wiki that allows you contact them directly.

You can visit the Wiki here, and as you can see there is quite a bit already listed for YYC.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

WestJet expands service on several routes out of YYC

WestJet announced their summer 2010 schedule today with the addition of new routes and the expansion of others from various cities in Canada. While no new routes were announced from Calgary, three popular sun routes out of YYC will become year round from seasonal service. WestJet flights from Calgary to Palm Springs, Phoenix and Cancun have all been expanded to year round service. Flights will be offered 3x weekly to Phoenix, 2x weekly to Palm Spring and Cancun for summer 2010.

Although not Calgary originating, the new routes annouced by WestJet today are between Vancouver and Kitchener-Waterloo, Vancouver and San Francisco, Edmonton and Kamloops, Edmonton and San Francisco, and Toronto and Puerto Vallarta.

Full details can be found here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

YYC opens new airport parkade

From the YYC press release:


More stalls and lower weekly rates make parking easy at YYC

CALGARY, ALBERTA -The Calgary Airport Authority (the Authority) has opened a new on-site seven-level covered parkade, adding 1,930 more stalls to its parkade facilities, and bringing the total number of available parkade spaces to 7,480. This is the final phase of its Parking Made Easy program, a multi-phase initiative aimed at enhancing the guest experience at YYC.

The Authority is also excited to announce that weekly parking rates in the covered parkades have been reduced to $99. Parking rates in the airport's surface Economy lot have decreased to $49.95.

"Parking on-site at the airport is by far the most convenient option for travellers," said Bob Schmitt, Senior Vice President, Planning and Engineering for The Calgary Airport Authority. "With the addition of our new covered parkade and lower weekly rates, we are proud to offer close to 2,000 more covered stalls at a reduced price, just in time for the cold, winter season."

YYC offers covered short and long-term parking in two parkades, as well as a discounted surface Economy lot located adjacent to the Air Terminal Building. YYC also offers complimentary parking for the first 30 minutes in its short-term stalls, and a no-charge 'park and wait' cell phone lot.

"With a wide variety of parking options for travellers and visitors, we have a spot for everyone," added Schmitt.

As part of the Parking Made Easy program, the Authority recently installed 24 automated Express Pay Stations, allowing guests to pay for their parking prior to returning to their vehicle, then quickly exiting the parkade through a designated express lane.

The Calgary Airport Authority is a not-for-profit, non-share capital corporation, responsible for the management, maintenance and development of Calgary International Airport and Springbank Airport under long-term lease from the Government of Canada.

Please visit www.yyc.com for more information.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I'll be on Newstalk 1010 tonight

I know we have some visitors to IFlyCalgary from Ontario and Quebec so if you live in the Toronto or Montreal areas or anywhere where you can listen online I am scheduled to be on Ryan Doyle's show tonight on Newstalk 1010 around 8:35EST. Be sure to listen if you can. No specific topic of yet just a general overview of Rewards Canada and what we do (if I can I'll mention Iflycalgary as well)

Oct 2009 Passenger Stats....Just in the black

The October 2009 passenger stats are now posted on the YYC website and the month just barely eclipsed the same month in 2008. A total of 1,000,908 people passed through Calgary this October, a whopping 0.4% more then last October. The largest gain was seen on the International side with growth of 7.8%, domestically the numbers were almost even with only a 0.2% growth while Transborder saw a decline of 1.5%.

Here are the numbers
Domestic: 724,378 (+0.2%)
Transborder: 199,901 (-1.5%)
International: 76,629 (+7.8%)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Air Canada 10% off flights to the U.S. when using a Visa card

Travel from January 6 to March 31, 2010! To get your exclusive discount, simply enter this promotion code when booking and pay with your VISA card: 4N6JQRV1

Offer ends December 31, 2009. Valid on published Tango Plus, Latitude, Executive Class fares

View the complete offer on Aircanada.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

First details of WestJet RBC MasterCard revealed

A bit off topic but since WestJet is from our hometown and their reward program will become a major player in the travel rewards industry in Canada, I felt that I should put my post from the Rewards Canada blog on Iflycalgary:

The first few details of the new WestJet RBC MasterCards have been revealed on the RBC website. Without knowing all the details yet it is hard to give a full judgement on the cards but from the earning standpoint on the cards they seem to be about average.

There are two offerings from RBC, the first is the WestJet RBC World MasterCard which offers 1.5% in WestJet dollars on everyday spending and assuming that WestJet dollars are 1 for 1 in redemption means this card offes a 1.5% return. This 1.5% falls below cards like the Capital One Miles Plus and Diners Club MasterCards but is equal to cards like the TD Travel Visas. Chances are this card will have an annual fee as it will have enhanced travel insurances and the higher earning rate of the 1.5%

The second offering is called the WestJet RBC MasterCard and it offers 1% back in WestJet dollars. We can assume this card will either have no annual fee or a low one like the CIBC AeroClassic Visa. Once again assuming a 1:1 redemption ratio this card falls in line with such cards at the ScotiaGold Passport Visa, Capital One Miles MasterCard and the majority of the credit union/small bank reward cards.

Since this card will be part of a significant rewards program in Canada you will soon see it on our comparison charts to see how it stacks up against other Canadian Travel Rewards credit cards.

As always you can find our main comparison chart here

To see the WestJet cards on RBC click here

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Calgary - Mexico City $272 all taxes in

Another good deal for flying out of Calgary is on Mexicana to Mexico City. Many dates are available January through March and runs around C$272 all in (base fare is US$173). The flight books into classes Q or O but still accrue 100% Mexicana Go Points or miles with any OneWorld partner like AAdvantage which gives 100% miles but only 50% Elite Qualifying points on this deep discounted fare. Book online at Mexicana

Friday, December 4, 2009

KLM 3 Day sale to Bucharest, Prague and Warsaw

KLM is offering some great fares out of Calgary for travel between January 12 and May 6, 2010. The booking deadline is Dec 7. And how great of fares are they? Well if you can find the right dates they all come in at just under $775 including all taxes and fees! That is a great fare for a scheduled airline flight to Eastern Europe. For example I tried YYC-Prague between Jan 13 and 18th and the total was $774.34 (base fare is $654).

Check it out today at KLM.com

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Do you fly Calgary? Want to let others know about your experiences?

I was wondering what I could do to add some 'oomph' and greater interactivity on IFlyCalgary and figured what better way then to have our readers post their trip reports on flying out of Calgary. With your reports you will let other readers know the good, the bad, the funny, the sad and whatever else on using our fine city's airport. You can see two of my examples of trip reports in these past posts:
- I Fly Calgary to Los Angeles: Fog, Smog, and a Snowstorm
- I Fly Calgary to Victoria: Clive Beddoe, Broken Luggage, Power Outage

If you would like to contribute an IflyCalgary trip report, simply put it in an email (and it can include pictures or video, preferably linked from a photo sharing or video sharing site) to
info@rewardscanada.ca with the subject heading of "IFlyCalgary Trip Report". Now your reports don't have to be like mine above, they can take on any format from a full story to just a photo report. If you want to see other examples of trip reports see this section on Airliners or this one on FlyerTalk.

I Fly Calgary to Los Angeles: Fog, Smog, and a Snowstorm

I have not had a chance to write a trip report for a while so here is a quick review of my travels to go to the FFP-ARAC conference in Huntington Beach.

I arrived to YYC fairly early for my 8am direct flight on Air Canada to Los Angeles. Having checked in the night before and travelling only with carry on luggage I went straight to U.S. customs which had a small line up with about a 20 minute wait. Glad I arrived when I did though as the just before being called up by the agent I looked back and the line had more then doubled from when I arrived into the line at about 6am. Once through customs and security it was now past 6:30 and I pondered pulling out my Priority Pass and using the Rocky Mountain Lounge but I figured the $28 or so dollars for one hour use was not really worth it especially since YYC has free wi-fi. Got myself my JugoJuice and sat down at the gate to check email etc. One look out the window and you couldn't even see from the B/C Concourse to the A Concourse due to thick fog that blanketed the ground, a little odd for Calgary especially since it did not dissipate until after noon sometime.

Our plane this day was an Embraer E-190 and it ended up being close to full, I only saw 2 or 3 empty seats. Once all the passengers were onboard the pilot announced a slight delay as we waited for one passenger's luggage to get to the plane. That delay ended up being close to half an hour and we ended up departing off runway 16 sometime after 8:30 (scheduled departure time was 8am). The flight itself was quite uneventful with only some little turbulence out of Calgary and cloud cover below us for most of the flight. The plane was not able to make up any time from the delay from Calgary and other then arriving late into smoggy LAX the arrival was painless.

After a quick 50 or so hours in Huntington Beach I was back at LAX for my flight home via Vancouver . I get to LAX around 4pm and the Flight Information Display System (FIDS) shows that the my flight to YVR is scheduled to depart on time. After getting through security I go to the gate area for our flight and decide to check if the flight is still on time even though it says so on the screen. Low and behold I am told the incoming flight from Vancouver went mechanical so it is 2 hours late. Darn! That means I would miss my connection in YVR to Calgary which happened to be the last flight of the day between YVR and YYC. The direct flight to Calgary is long gone so I whip out my laptop and the signal strength from the Air France KLM lounge is just strong enough that I can get online to look up alternatives. I call up Air Canada IROPS to see if they can get me to SFO or DEN on United or PHX on US Airways where connections to Calgary were available that evening. Unfortunatly no dice even though all the connecting flights are fine, the flights out of LAX are all full. So AC IROPS protects me on the 6am YVR-YYC flight as I needed to get into Calgary early as I promised my girls I would be at their ballet. I hang out at LAX for a few more hours and our E-190 shows up and the LAX crew did a great job of turning the plane around super quick and soon we were in the air to YVR. Due to the delay AC offered the first alcoholic beverage for free, which I did not partake in this time. We get into YVR around 11pm and an AC agent is waiting for those who missed their connections right at the gate. I am handed my boarding pass for the morning and a voucher for a room at the Fairmont YVR along with $10 for breakfast. As I am walking to Canada customs I look at my boarding pass and it shows the 7am YVR-YYC flight not the 6am that I thought I would be on, another call to IROPS lets me know that the 6am flight has now been canceled. Great! Not sure if I will make it to Calgary in time now for my girls ballet on Saturday morning. A quick 5 hour sleep in the Fairmont hotel and I am back in the terminal clearing security for my 7am flight.

The flight on a CRJ-700 was uneventful and practically empty, no wonder they canceled the 6am, it probably had even less people then the 7am flight. I get into Calgary around 9:20 or so and am out of the airport at my car in Park n Jet by 9:35. The big problem though is we are getting dumped on with snow! So normally what would be a 20-25 minute drive to the far Northwest now took 45 mins of driving through snow, slush and ice (and my car wasn't going into the shop for another 5 days to get my winter tires put on). But in the end I made it to see my girls do their ballet routine and they were really excited to see me as they thought I would not make it in time.

All in all I have no complaints as everything turned out fine with the trip, Air Canada provided good flights, service and took great care of me when things went awry with the delayed and canceled flights.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Air Canada adds second bag fee to U.S. and European flights

Wow I am little surprised by this move, I understand the need nowadays for ancillary revenue but one thing that has kept me and I am sure others on Air Canada and WestJet was the lack of baggage fees. Now Air Canada says they are matching U.S. and International Carriers with a second bag fee on flights to the U.S., Europe and Israel. Most U.S. airlines have first and second bag fees for U.S./Canada travel and along with most European carriers a second bag fee for transatlantic flights but this is were Air Canada had a chance to stay ahead of the game and not be a follower. Chances are WestJet will not add a second bag fee and will feed off this in their marketing campaigns as they did nearly two years ago when Air Canada added baggage fees for a short time period. Luckily when I travel alone I don't usually have checked luggage and with my family we keep to one bag a piece, so at this time we should be OK when we fly Air Canada, I'm sure though many travelers will be caught off guard at the airport on their trips to the U.S. or Europe.

The fees for second checked bags are
- For flights to/from the United States (including Hawaii, excluding Puerto Rico): CAD/USD $30.
- For flights to/from Europe and Israel: CAD/USD $50.

The only good thing is that Air Canada flights within Canada, to Sun Destinations outside the U.S., Asia and Australia will remain with no baggage fees. As well the fee for a second checked bag to/from the United States, Europe and Israel will not apply to Air Canada Prestige, Elite, Super Elite members or Star Alliance Silver and Gold members.

Source: Air Canada Press Release

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Alaska Airlines Seat Sale from Calgary

Alaska Airlines has dropped fares from Western Canada to the U.S. for the first quarter of 2010. Book by Dec 7 for travel Mon-Thu and Sat between Jan 5 - Mar 10
Book online atAlaskaair.com
Sample one way fares:
Calgary - Seattle $75
Calgary - Los Angeles $90
Calgary - Palm Springs $90
Calgary - Phoenix $93
Calgary - San Diego $93
Calgary - Las Vegas $98

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

September pax stats are in, it is the first month to see positive growth in 2009

The Calgary Airport Authority has published their September 2009 passengers statistics on the YYC.com website and for the first time this year, a month has eclipsed its numbers from 2008. September of this year saw a total of 1,003,900 passengers, a 3.2% gain over the same time last year. September of 2008 just happened to be the first month of negative numbers in over 2.5 years if not more and was the first sign of constant declines due to all of the economic woes and H1N1 scares over the past year. Since that time, the only other month that saw a slight increase was December 2008 at 0.8%. The 3.2% gain seen this September should be proof that the we are coming out of the economic downturn although I won't say that 100% until we see a few more months of positve numbers.

Breaking down the numbers, you see that all the gains came in the domestic market while Transborder and International saw declines, but the 6.9% gain domestically proved large enough to provide for the systemwide gain in YYC's numbers.

Overall for 2009 YYC is 3.8% lower then in 2008 for the first 9 months with 9,201,676 passengers passing through the airport.

Here are the numbers:
Domestic: 746,398 (+6.9%)
Transborder: 173,538 (-3.3%)
International: 83,964 (-11.6%)

Source YYC Passenger Statistics

Friday, November 20, 2009

WestJet delays the launch of their Frequent Flyer program

According to an article in the Financial Post the highly anticipated launch of WestJet's Frequent Flyer program has now been pushed back to 2010. Latest reports had the program launching late November/early December but due to the ongoing issues with WestJet's new reservation system that date has been changed to January. WestJet wants to make sure their new reservation system is stable and working properly before launching the program.

The program itself that has been delayed numerous times is taking a page out of the Travel Rewards Credit Card industry by allowing members to redeem points for full or partial travel with no black out dates. Basically you will put your points/dollars (the proper term for WestJet's reward currency has not been released yet) towards the purchase of any ticket at the going rate from WestJet. Many Travel Point and Hybird Credit card programs do the same, for example redeeming 5000 points for a $50 credit towards any travel that is booked. Of course the more points/dollars you have the bigger the discount towards that travel.

What is good about programs like these is that you don't have to have a lot of points to redeem and get some sort of reward versus the set point programs like most frequent flyer programs where you need a minimum amount of points to redeem for a flight.

The main downfall of the credit card type or WestJet type of program is that value is lost when you have to redeem for expensive/non-seat sale flights as you may have to redeem more points versus the set point programs which require the same amount of points for a flight regardless of what it is selling for (of course this is the best case scenario not taking into account black out dates, availability etc)

We will continue to keep you up to date on all the happenings with the WestJet program as soon as they are released and like many of our readers we wait with anticipation.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Mexicana increases Calgary-Mexico City service

More good news for YYC came from Mexicana Airlines as they announced the addition of a 5th weekly flight between our city and Mexico City. The airline moved to consolidate its services in Alberta by cutting service to Edmonton and putting their focus into Calgary. There was some speculation about the viability of the YYC and YEG routes earlier in the year when Canada imposed Visa requirements on Mexican residents. At that time Mexicana stated they would continue the routes and evaluate them on an ongoing basis with a decision on their fates by Decemeber, and Mexicana stayed true to their word by making the decision to focus on Calgary.

Source: YYC

Air Canada announces Calgary-Tokyo service

Well it is official and all the speculation can end now as Air Canada today announced direct non-stop Calgary to Tokyo service beginning March 27, 2010. As mentioned in our previous post, the flight will initially run 3x weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Air Canada will operate the new non-stop service with fully refurbished 211-seat Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft offering a choice of Economy Class and Executive First service featuring 24 lie-flat bed suites.

Flight Timings:
Calgary-Tokyo Dep 1220 Arr 1400+1
Tokyo-Calgary Dep 1600 Arr 1045

Source: Air Canada Press Release

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Double Aeroplan Miles for the new Calgary-Hawaii non-stops

To promote the new non-stop service from Calgary to Honolulu and Maui, Aeroplan is offering double miles on the new non-stop Air Canada flights between Dec 5 and Jan 31, 2010. You have to register for the promotion (see link below)

Offer is valid with the following fare options (booking classes):

* Executive Class Lowest/Flexible (J, C, D, Z)
* Latitude (Y, B)
* Tango Plus (M, U, H, Q, V, W, S, L, A)
* R class (Executive Class Upgrades)

Register for the promo on Aeroplan.com

Monday, November 16, 2009

Korean Air charters return to Calgary for Summer 2010 - This time Calgarians can buy tickets for the service

Korean Air will be returning to Calgary for summer 2010 with 3x weekly charter flights from Seoul. Korean last flew this charter route in the summer of 2008. At that time the bilateral agreement between Korea and Canada only allowed for ticket sales from Korea. However since that time the agreement between Canada and Korea has changed and Calgarians (or anyone else for that matter) can now buy tickets for the Korean Airlines flights originating in Calgary. I have done some dummy bookings on a few travel websites and the charter flights do show up and are pricing around C$1800 all in for a round-trip to Seoul (in comparison a two stop with Northwest is just over C$1000). One drawback is that the flights are only operating for one month from July 25th to Aug 26th.

Flights are as follows:
KE2075 ICN-YYC 1820-1400 Tu Th Su
KE2076 YYC-ICN 1600-1830+1 Tu Th Su

I would like to thank IFlyCalgary.ca reader Aaron S. for giving me the insight on this topic.

Friday, November 13, 2009

US Destination Travel Advisory - Customs Clearance limited to 2 hours prior to departure

The YYC website has posted a travel advisory on their website that as Nov 9 passengers will only be allowed through US Customs 2 hours prior to their departure time. This does not seem like too big of deal for most people except for those who want to make the most of the new Rocky Mountain lounge that opened up in Concourse C. This will dramatically shorten the available loung time for lounge users and may actually deter people from using the lounge. I know I wouldn't enjoy parting with nearly $30 per person for a 1 - 1.5 hr lounge visit (taking into consideration the time to get through customs and to get to the gate to board). Normally these pay for use lounges allow you in 3 hours prior to depature which gives an effective usage time of 2.5hrs assuming you go to your gate half hour prior to departure.

This may also lead to some confusion as the Servisair Executivelounges.ca site shows that you can still enter the lounge 3 hours prior, so someone who has not seen the advisory on the YYC website may be met with a surprise when they can't enjoy the full amount time they thought they paid for.

I'd like to hear comments from anyone who may have flown this past week from YYC to the U.S. to see if this new policy is being enforced and what you think of the policy. You can leave your comments below.

Further speculation abounds about Air Canada launching Calgary-Tokyo service

Once again, according to Airline Route Updates who are quoting a Japanese article, Air Canada may be eying a three time weekly service between Calgary and Tokyo for Summer 2010. The Japanese article states that Air Canada will be gaining 3 additional slots at Tokyo Narita during the summer season and that Calgary is "in the running lead" for those extra slots.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

YYC.com website revamped

The Calgary Airport Authority totally redesigned their website at www.yyc.com recently and I must say it looks really sharp. The red, white and gray colors of the new site are pulled straight from the YYC logo and are easy on the eyes. The site itself is very easy to navigate with the drop down menus and a more powerful flight search (FIDS) where you can choose to see all the arriving and departing flights or just see flights by airline, route, date or time. All of these features are placed high enough that even on low resolution they are above the scroll on the users screen. Another nice change is the move away from PDF files for media releases and passenger statistics. While most visitors don't care so much about this, people like myself who blog about the airport find it nice not to have to load those files.

The only problem I can find with the site is that the interactive terminal maps don't work properly if you are using Firefox or Mac's Safari as they do not show the locations of the services and amenities. However they do work fine in Internet Explorer and are really useful and fun to use.

All in all, the new website is nice to look at, easy to use and a great improvement over the previous incarnation.

Check it out at YYC.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fly British Airways from Calgary to the UK or beyond and earn a Complimentary Companion Ticket

When you book a flight and travel on or before January 29, 2010, you'll receive a complimentary companion ticket* which can be used in conjunction with your next purchased ticket. You and your companion can travel in any cabin, to any of the over 300 destinations British Airways flies to worldwide. Book your ticket and your companion ticket from January 4 through July 30, 2010 and travel from January 11 through December 15, 2010
Full Details Online Registration and Booking

* Must book a round-trip transatlantic ticket in qualifying World Traveller (Y, B, H), World Traveller Plus (W, E), Club World (J, C, D, R) or First (F, A) fares

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Save 10% on Air Canada flights to Asia with Visa

Exclusive offer! Save 10% when you pay with your Visa card

Take advantage of this exclusive offer. Check back often for new offers.

Save 10% on our flights to Asia** Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul and Tokyo.

Travel until March 31, 2010! To get your exclusive discount, simply enter this promotion code when booking and pay with your VISA card: 4CTNM2E1

Offer ends November 30, 2009.

This offer is available on new bookings only. The discount applies exclusively right here at aircanada.com on Air Canada published Tango Plus, Latitude, Executive Class fares when you pay with your Visa card and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Full Details

Friday, October 30, 2009

Edelweiss returns to Calgary to fly the yearly Zurich route, Swiss to codeshare

It has been a few years since Edelweiss flew into Calgary on the summer seasonal Zurich run. Belair, the Air Berlin subsidiary has plied this route the past couple of summers. Now, with Edelweiss' return, customers will be able to buy the SWISS codeshare on this route and connect to other Swiss flights in or out of Zurich on their itinerary. It also means that as long as your ticket is under the SWISS code (LX) you can earn miles in the Miles and More program. Flights will operate weekly on Mondays from May 31 to Sep 14

Schedule as follows:
YYC-ZRH Dep 1240 Arr 0955+1 (with stopover in Vancouver)
ZRH-YYC Dep 0925 Arr 1130

More details can be found on the Edelweiss website

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Aeroplan Fall/Winter Bonus Miles for Air Canada flights

Air Canada launched their next set of Aeroplan Flight bonus offers recently which definitely are targeting routes and fare classes that are slow at this time and ones that have competition on them. Out of Calgary, direct flights to Frankfurt, Kamloops, London ON, London UK, Toronto and Yellowknife have bonus offers on them but we have posted the complete promos as you may connect to many of these flights that have offers on them as well. All offers run until January 31, 2010. The bonuses are split into North America and International and are as follows:

North America

Earn up to 15,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles when you fly within Canada and between Canada and the US. Complete 3 one way flights to earn 3,000 bonus miles, complete 3 more (6 total) to earn another 4,000 bonus miles (7,000 total) and earn 8,000 more after completing another 3 (9 total). Full Details and online registration (Registration is required). The following routes qualify for this promo
Within Canada:
Halifax to Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto
Montreal or Ottawa to Halifax
Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax
London ON to Calgary
Edmonton to Yellowknife, Toronto
Calgary to Toronto, London ON, Yellowknife, Kamloops
Vancouver to Toronto, Kamloops
Kamloops to Calgary, Vancouver
Yellowknife to Calgary, Edmonton
Between Canada and the U.S.:
Montreal and Las Vegas, Newark, New York-LaGuardia
Las Vegas, Newark, New York-LaGuardia to Montreal
Toronto to Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Newark, New York-LaGuardia
Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Newark, New York-LaGuardia to Toronto
Edmonton to Los Angeles
Los Angeles to Edmonton
Vancouver to Los Angeles, San Diego
Los Angeles, San Diego to Vancouver

Earn Double Aeroplan Miles for every roundtrip or 2 one-way segments in Executive First between Canada and
* Frankfurt, Munich, London, Zurich, Geneva, Paris, Madrid, Rome
* Tel Aviv
* Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul
* Lima, Bogota, Sao Paulo , Santiago , Buenos Aires , Caracas
* Sydney
Full Details and online registration (Registration is required).

Earn Double Aeroplan Miles for every roundtrip or 2 one-way segments in Economy Class between Canada and Geneva, Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Santiago, Buenos Aires, or Sao Paulo Full Details and online registration (Registration is required).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time to get back at it again!

You may have noticed not much has gone on here on Iflycalgary.ca for the past two weeks or so. We had been busy preparing for and attending the FFP-ARAC conference (Frequent Flyer Program - Ancillary Revenue Airline Conference) hence the lack of posts here or updates on the Frequent Flyer Bonuses Group of websites. Now we are back at it, bonuses are being posted on the websites as of Monday and I am ready to get back to blogging as well.

On Iflycalgary you will see some new bonus offers from Air Canada (most of you probably know of them already), the resumption of flights to Calgary by Edelweiss (as commented by Dave in the post below) and YYC has revamped their website which means I'll give it a quick review.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Air Canada adds New Delayed and Cancelled Flight Service

Just in case we have repeat of last years Christmas mayhem with weather and delayed flights (if the past two days are any indication then we're in for a crazy winter) Air Canada is offering a new online Flight Delay/Cancellation service whereby you do no have to call AC Reservations and be on hold forever or wait in a long line at the airport counter. Combine this with YYC's free Wi-fi and you have a system that should become very helpful, at least for those who have laptops or Wi-fi phones.

Here it is straight from the Air Canada website:

"In our ongoing effort to deliver a superior level of service and reduce the problems associated with flight disruptions, we are proud introduce our new Delayed and Cancelled Flight Service.

Now, when an Air Canada or Jazz flight is cancelled or is expected to be delayed due to severe weather, you can search for another flight or cancel you remaining flight(s) online – no need to call Air Canada Reservations or see an Air Canada airport agent.

How it works:
  • If Air Canada advises you that your flight has been cancelled, or if severe weather conditions are expected to bring about a flight delay or cancellation, you may access the service online using your booking reference number and passenger name.
  • If your flight has in fact been delayed or cancelled, the service will advise you, in many cases, that we have already rebooked you on an alternate flight, thus minimizing disruptions to your travel plans. Naturally, you’ll then be able to:
    • View your new flight details (if you’ve been rebooked) and check in if your flight is eligible for online check-in,
    • Search for another flight to your destination (no change fee will apply), or
    • Cancel your remaining flights altogether.

If your flight has been delayed or cancelled, you’ll also be provided with a link to the service when you check in for your original flight via the Web, your mobile device or at an airport kiosk.

Because flight disruptions are never easy on anyone, we invite you to learn what else you can do when your flight is delayed or cancelled."

Thursday, October 8, 2009

YYC July & August Passenger Numbers continue to decline but show improvement

I little while back YYC published the numbers for July and August and I totally forgot to post them here, so for those who have seen them the decline in passenger numbers from 2008 continued over the summer however the decline wasn't as bad as previous months.

July saw a total of 1,146,411 passengers go through YYC, a 2.5% drop from 2008 and less then 1% lower then July 2007. Domestically July 2009 was actually 212 passengers higher then 2008, trans-border was down 2.1% but the big hit came Internationally with 21.2% less travellers!

August of this year was 2.4% less then last year with a total of 1,193,763 passengers with all three sectors (Domestic, trans-border and International) showing declines.

The declines of 2.5% and 2.4% are actually the best showings for the year as most other months were between 4-8% lower. The numbers however seem to confirm that we are slowly emerging from the economic crisis that has plagued the world for the past year.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Emirates 2 Day Sale - Save up to $3,000 out of Toronto

Today and tomorrow, Emirates is reducing First and Business Class fares by up to $3,000* to select destinations in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand from Toronto (YYZ). There's no better time to take advantage of Emirates' award-winning service aboard the A380 including our Onboard Lounge, Shower Spas (First Class only), multi-course meals, fine wines and over 1,200 channels on demand. Purchase your ticket by October 7, 2009 for travel anytime. No blackout dates.
Business Class (one-way) $500 off
Business Class (roundtrip) $1,000 off
First Class (one-way) $2,000 off
First Class (roundtrip) $3,000 off

Book online at Emirates

Friday, October 2, 2009

WestJet to launch non-stop flights to Hawaii from Calgary

WestJet may be feeling the heat from Air Canada's new direct routes as today they announced new direct non-stop service from both Calgary and Edmonton to Honolulu and Maui. The flights will only run for eight weeks in March and April 2010 as WestJet has to wait for new planes to be delivered due to the large expansion they have planned for this upcoming winter season. Both Honolulu and Maui will have once weekly service during this period. The Honolulu flight will run between March 7 and April 25 while Maui will run March 6 to May 1.

Speculation has it though that these flights will be load restricted as they push the range limitations of WestJet's 737 fleet. WJ has had diversions in the past on flights between Vancouver and Hawaii however I don't believe those flights were load restricted. If WestJet watches the weight limts closely then there should hopefully be no diversions for the YYC flights.

Overall I am excited about this as it means even more choice to one of my favourite destinations even if it is only for an 8 week period. Ultimately if Calgarians show their support for these flights then WestJet will be compelled to run them again for the 2010/11 winter season.

Flight times are as follows:
Calgary-Honolulu Dep 0730 Arr 1044
Honolulu-Calgary Dep 1145 Arr 1016
Calgary-Maui Dep 0730 Arr 2238
Maui-Calgary Dep 1145 Arr 2204

AA releases schedule for the new Calgary - Chicago route

As we announced previously, American Airlines is bringing its Calgary to Chicago route back next spring. The route will be flown daily by American Eagle and is slated to started on April 5 with CRJ-700 equipment.

Flight times are as follows:
Calgary-Chicago Dep 0805 Arr 1220 (starts Apr 6)
Chicago-Calgary Dep 1515 Arr 2012 (starts Apr 5)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

WestJet matches Air Canada with 25% off Florida flights

Save an extra 25% on air travel to any of these great Florida desintations:

  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Myers
  • Miami*
  • Orlando
  • Tampa
Book by October 1, 2009 for travel until December 16, 2009. Hurry, this offer is only available until October 1, 2009 (11:59 p.m. MT).

To begin your booking, select one of the above Florida destinations and your desired dates, enter promo code “GOFLORIDA” in the promo code field located on the bottom of the booking engine, and let the savings begin.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Air Canada: 25% off Promo Code for Florida flights

From the Air Canada website

Exclusive offer!

Follow the sun! Save 25% off our Tango Plus fare type to Florida destinations. Book by October 1, 2009!

To get your discount*, simply enter this promotion code when booking right here at aircanada.com:

  • Book by October 1, 2009 midnight EDT
  • Travel until November 30, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Canadian North dropping flights to Calgary as of Oct 10

The polar bear 737's will no longer be seen in Cowtown as Canadian North announced that they will be discontinuing service to Calgary as of Oct 10. The airline primarily blames a slow down in the Oil and Gas industry as the reason for cutting the service.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Calgary-Asia route in the news again

With Air Canada's top brass in the city to meet and greet with some of their best clients (Super Elites etc.) the question was posed (again) to Air Canada whether we could see direct service to Asia from Calgary. Back in April we posted about the new Canada-Japan Bilateral agreement that allows for more service between the two countries and according to the press release a Canadian airline was looking to start once weekly service in Summer 2010. This could be the Air Canada link. According to this article in today's Calgary Herald, Air Canada is weighing on the subject and states that flights could start as soon as 2010 between Calgary and somewhere in Asia if the business community pledged their support.

What the article does not cover is that the Asia market is not doing as well as it should be out of Canada, Singapore Airlines has pulled out of Canada, Cathay Pacific has cut back their Vancouver and Toronto flights and Air Canada has made some frequency reductions. The only airline that has added capacity is Korean Air. Could this flight be a reality? Absolutely, Air Canada could give it a shot, like the Japanese press release that mentions one flight per week and see how that works, however to get business community support, you need more frequency then one flight per week (granted Air Canada's saving grace is having Vancouver so close that routing/rerouting people via YVR is not that hard)

Only time will tell if this elusive route is ever launched and if it is, Calgary, you'll have to use it to make sure it sticks around.

Friday, September 18, 2009

American Airlines set to resume Calgary-Chicago in Spring 2010

In an extremely detailed press release from American Airlines outlining the future of their liquidity, fleet and network, AMR Corp listed many new routes that are planned for 2010. Of course the one that interests us most here is that AA's subsidiary regional carrier, American Eagle is slated to start flights between Calgary and Chicago in Spring of 2010.

American has not flown this route for quite a few years (at least 3 or 4, could be more) and at that time it was flown by mainline MD-80's, whereas the new announcement for American Eagle will likely see CRJs flying the route. In any case this is better then no planes as it always good to have more options and of course the flight will connect to hundreds more at AA's megahub in Chicago.

AA Press Release

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Air Canada mainline to take over San Diego route from Jazz

In a welcome change and a sign that this route is doing well, Air Canada will be placing a mainline Embraer E190 on the Calgary - San Diego route that is currently flown by Air Canada Jazz with a CRJ700. The new flight numbers for the route will be AC582/583. The change comes into effect Nov 1.

For years San Diego was off the chart for flights from Calgary, but apparently it is proving popular by this change from Air Canada and the fact that WestJet changed their service from seasonal to year round. Personally I love this as San Diego is one of my favorite cities to visit in the US, it is a great place for families (my daughters love Legoland, Sea World etc) and it has a totally different vibe (better IMHO) then that huge megalopolis just 2 hours North called Los Angeles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Air Canada drops Calgary-Chicago route for the winter

According to Air Canada's online schedule it appears that the single AC Jazz flight between Calgary and Chicago O'Hare is being dropped as of Nov 1 for the winter season. Air Canada's Star Alliance partner United Airlines will continue to fly the route 3x daily. The AC Jazz flight is slated to return on May 1, 2010.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

[EXPIRED] 15% Off WestJet Flights for Flying Blue Members


Here is a nice discount code for WestJet (can be tied in with any seat sales) for Air France KLM Flying Blue members, if you are not member you can easily join for free at AirFrance.ca (or use this sign up offer to earn 3,000 bonus Flying Blue miles if you plan on taking an Air France flight within 6 months of joining)

Simply put, use the code AF3D592E8 when you book online at westjet.com and you will save 15% on all flights to any destination that WestJet serves. Flights must be booked by Sep 30 for travel until Dec 15.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Allied Limousine launches new Airport Shuttle Service

A new Airport Shuttle Service launched last week on Sep 1 run by Allied Limousines. The new service will run regularly scheduled on demand service from designated points within the city to the airport and service from the airport to the city running at least every 30 minutes or less.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

British Airways modifies 1 flight per week out of YYC

Beginning Oct 25, British Airways flights between Calgary and London will operate at different times on Tuesdays only. For the remainder of the week the flights will continue on their current schedule.

Flight times as follows (Tues only)
YYC-LHR Dep 2015 Arr 1220+1
LHR-YYC Dep 1455 Arr 1725

Source: Airline Route Updates

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

KLM reduces YYC-AMS service for the winter season

According to the Airlines Route Updates blog KLM will be reducing its Calgary to Amsterdam service to 4x weekly for the winter season. When KLM launched this route in May of this year it ran at 4x weekly for the first month and then increased to 5x weekly for the summer season. One can assume the numbers are good enough to keep the flight going but still not high enough to see the daily service that KLM envisioned when the route was first launched.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Save up to 15% off Air Canada flights with VISA, book by Aug 31

I just took advantage of this offer booking my flights to LAX for the FFP-ARAC conference in October and realized I had not posted it here on Iflycalgary. The offer runs for bookings made by Aug 31 for travel Sep 1 - Nov 30

Save 15% within Canada**
Travel from September 1 and November 30, 2009 on our Tango Plus, Latitude, Executive Class Lowest and Flexible fares within Canada. To get your exclusive discount, simply enter this promotion code when booking and pay with your VISA card: NQKWANZ1.

Save 10% to the U.S.**
Travel from September 1 and November 30, 2009 on our Tango Plus, Latitude, Executive Class Lowest and Flexible fares to the U.S. To get your exclusive discount, simply enter this promotion code when booking and pay with your VISA card: 4QMVDGR1

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

20% off Air Canada flights to FLL, MCO or TPA

20% off between Canada & Fort Lauderdale, Orlando or Tampa.
Book by Aug 30, 2009
For travel Sep 1 - 30, 2009.

Enter discount code 4C4V3GQ1 at Aircanada.com

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Air Canada to launch service to Honolulu and Maui

Calgarians can now avoid connecting in Vancouver (or LAX, SEA, SFO) to get to Hawaii as Air Canada announced today that they will launch direct service from Calgary this winter. Both cities will start with once weekly service on Dec 5 and by mid to late December will be running at twice weekly to Honolulu and three times weekly to Maui. The flights will run until the end of April and be operated onboard Air Canada's Boeing 767-300ER's. Hopefully they will run the XMed planes with the new interiors and not one of the three they did not retrofit. However as the non-retrofitted planes do get quite a bit of rotation on sun/vacation routes due to lower yields, chances are the route will see them at least some of the time. No matter what I think my family will be hitting Maui again this year (even more then once perhaps)

Flight times are as follows:
YYC-OGG Dep 1420 Arr 1835
OGG-YYC Dep 1955 Arr 0515+1
YYC-HNL Dep 1405 Arr 1820
HNL-YYC Dep 1940 Arr 0510+1

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

YYC June Passenger Numbers down 6.8%

For the sixth straight month, passenger numbers at the Calgary International Airport dropped from the same period in 2008. The decline however stems further with 10 out of the past 11 months seeing negative numbers. The 6.8% overall decrease seen in June was the third biggest drop since August of 2008 with the domestic market being the hardest hit. Domestic passengers flying in/out of Calgary dropped 7.7% to 703,155. International and Transborder markets also saw negative figures at -4.9% (93,834) and -4.6% (172,676) respectively. Overall for the first six months YYC saw just over 5.8 million passengers which is 6.2% less then 2008 and even 4% lower then in 2007.

With continued talks that the recession is pretty much over, the indicators from YYC still seem to show otherwise. Couple this with lower earnings for Canada's major airlines and pledges to reduce capacity or slow growth in the case of WestJet, chances are we won't see positive numbers at YYC for the remainder of the year.

Source: YYC Passenger Statistics (PDF File)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Emirates 2 Day World Sale for Toronto departures

Not exactly a deal from Calgary but there are still quite a few travelers from here who like to connect to Emirates in Toronto, so if you are planning a trip with EK, this offer is for you:

Receive an additional $150 off roundtrip Economy Class fares and $1,000 off roundtrip Business Class fares when you book online. Save on flights from Toronto to any one of Emirates over 100 destinations worldwide. Bookings must be made Aug 11 or 12. Travel is valid until Mar 10, 10 with Dec 5-Dec 24 blacked out.

Book online at Emirates

Thursday, August 6, 2009

WestJet sale for Quebec City, Fly there from $159 o/w

WestJet has put Quebec City on sale and you can save 50% off regular fares. From Calgary, one way fares to Quebec City start at $159. Bookings must be made by Aug 7 for travel Monday through Thursday and Saturdays until December 10.

Book online at WestJet

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

WestJet selects RBC and MasterCard to supply the new WestJet Travel Rewards Credit Card

WestJet announced today that they have selected RBC and MasterCard to be the supplier of the credit card for the upcoming WestJet Travel Rewards program. The card itself will be the first MasterCard issued by RBC, who have been solely a VISA provided to this point. The card should be released in line with the launch of the yet to be named WestJet Frequent Flyer program this fall.

It will be interesting to see what the card offers and if different versions will be available, for example a no/low fee version, a higher fee version with a full suite of benefits. The card will definitely have a significant role in changing the rankings of next years Top Travel Rewards Credit Card (see 2009 rankings here) as WestJet is such a key player in the Canadian market.

Aug 6 update: I have posted on the Rewards Canada blog my opinion on the whole WestJet-RBC-MasterCard connections

Source: WestJet

Monday, August 3, 2009

Exclusive online sale: Summer of deals from Air Canada - Week 6

WEEK 6: Aug 3 - Aug 9

20% off all Economy class fares and 15% off all Executive First fares

Valid between Canada and Australia.
Valid on AC operated flights only.
Travel completed by Dec 11, 2009.
Enter 4F7HCUG1 under Promotion Code.

Discount code will be valid until Aug 9, 2009.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Exclusive online sale: Summer of deals from Air Canada - Week 5

WEEK 5: Jul 27 - Aug 2

15% off all fares

Valid between Canada and South America.
Valid on AC operated flights only.
Travel completed by Dec 10, 2009.
Enter AMMFYWD1 under Promotion Code.

Discount code will be valid until Aug 2, 2009.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Airshow Week for Southern Alberta

For all aviation enthusiasts and airshow lovers this is your week. On Wednesday July 22nd it is the first annual Airdrie Regional Airshow featuring the Snowbirds, Hawk One F-86 Sabre, CF-18 and more. On Saturday and Sunday, is the Alberta International Airshow in Lethbridge featuring the same line up as Airdrie plus an USAF A-10 and the Mig Fury Fighters, a 3 warbird jet dogfight.

Both airshows will also have very similar static displays except that Lethbridge will be featuring a C-17 Globemaster (last year it gave a flying display, but does not look like it will this year).

I will be attending the Airdrie one, hopefully the turn out is good that it can continue each year. Lethbridge is a great show, having attended the past few years all I can say is bring a hat, an sun umbrella and sun block as it gets scorching hot on the airfield and this year looks to be the same with a forecast high of 28 on Saturday and 29 on Sunday. Airdrie will be the same with a forecast of 31 tomorrow!

The Airdrie show has gates opening at 1pm and the main aerial display starting at 6pm while in Lethbridge the gates open at 9am each day with the show commencing at 12pm.

For more information and to buy tickets you can visit the airshow websites by clicking on the following links:

Airdrie Regional Airshow
Alberta International Airshow

Monday, July 20, 2009

Exclusive online sale: Summer of deals from Air Canada - Week 4

WEEK 4: Jul 20 - Jul 26

10% off all Economy class fares
15% off all Executive class fares

Valid for within Canada.
Valid on AC operated flights only.
Travel completed by Dec 11, 2009.
Enter P6NEH3H1 under Promotion Code.

Discount code will be valid until Jul 26, 2009.

Extended to Jul 28, 2009, new code: XC4NA741, same conditions as above.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Canada-Korea Air Agreement, could Korean or Asiana be the first Asian link to YYC?

It may be far fetched at this point, but Canada and the Republic of Korea concluded a Blue Sky Air transport agreement yesterday. This means that air carriers can serve any destination with passenger or cargo flight in each others respective countries. It also gives fifth freedom rights allowing carriers to be able to pick up traffic in each others territory and continue to a third country as part of a service to or from their home territory.

What does this mean for Calgary?
Not much yet. However YYC does have regular cargo service from Asiana, which could expand at anytime. For passenger service, Korean Airlines has operated charter flights from Korea to Calgary in the past but that was only for Korean tourists coming here. Korean Airlines does seem like a logical choice for passenger service to YYC as they have been slowly increasing flights between Seoul and Toronto and Vancouver and could possibly team up with WestJet for a Canadian feed to their flight.

Why WestJet?
There have always been rumours about WestJet joining the OneWorld alliance but my opinion has always been that SkyTeam would be a better fit for WestJet (*see below for more on why I think so) With the current agreement in place between WestJet and Air France KLM, Korean could be the next choice in a partner airline due to the SkyTeam ties. WestJet would then feed both Europe and Asia directly with partners that are SkyTeam based, and of course with YYC being WJ's main hub, then a feed could be provided to a flight that goes to Seoul and beyond to many Asian destinations. However, while this is not out of the question, one could just assume that if WJ did partner with Korean then they could just feed existing Korean flights out of YVR and YYZ and at this point, this is the more likely scenario.

The other Korean option is Air Canada or Asiana, Asiana as part of the Star Alliance is already partnered with Air Canada but does not offer any flights to Canada. Air Canada does serve Seoul from Vancouver (and Toronto via same plane service). So either airline could take up the route with feeds from other Canadian cities into Calgary. However once again the arguement could be made that why do this when you can feed all the passengers into Vancouver.

At this point my ideas may be far fetched, but with this new agreement, Calgary's first true scheduled service to Asia just may be to Korea (I don't consider that possible one weekly flight next year to Japan as true scheduled service, see this IFlyCalgary blog post for that.)

* Why do I think SkyTeam is a better fit for WestJet?
While WestJet may never join an alliance and be more like Alaska Airlines in picking partners from across the board that suit and match their needs, if WestJet did, SkyTeam is a good choice. Why? Although less prolific then both Star Alliance and OneWorld, SkyTeam is actually the second largest alliance serving Canada in terms of flights and cities served. Delta/Northwest serve almost every major city in 9 provinces across Canada, many that are also served by WestJet. Internationally Korean Air serves Toronto and Vancouver, KLM serves Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, Air France serves Toronto and Montreal, Alitalia serves Toronto, AeroMexico serves Toronto and Montreal, and Czech Airlines serves Toronto (ending soon though) Through these sheer numbers of cities, WestJet could provide feed to a broader range of flights and vice versa from the SkyTeam carriers then the third alliance option, OneWorld could.

Will Mexicana stay in Calgary?

With the Canadian government imposing Visa restrictions on Mexican nationals, the question has been raised as to whether Mexicana can sustain its flights to Calgary (and other Canadian cities). According to a Mexicana spokesman, they will continue on with their flights for the time being and should know by December as to which routes may be cut. This is interesting to note as it appears that Mexicana may be waiting to see what their bookings are like from Canadians for the winter season.

There is no doubt Mexicana's numbers from Mexico to Canada will drop but by how much and for how long will have to be seen. As one passenger from a Czech Airlines flight put it: (Czechs now have to Visas to come to Canada as well) that they already had all tickets booked and paid for, all plans made for the trip that although it was an inconvenience, they still went to Vienna to get there Visas rather then canceling their trips and possibly being out of thousands of dollars (well Czech Crowns). It is likely that the same scenario will play out for Mexicans, as those who have legit reasons for coming to Canada (pleasure or business) will get a Visa despite the hassle and once it becomes routine we won't here about it all in the media nor hear complaints from travelers.

So Calgarians, you have at least until December to fly Mexicana and keep you fingers crossed that the flights continue beyond then.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Exclusive online sale: Summer of deals from Air Canada - Week 3

WEEK 3: Jul 13 - Jul 19

20% off all Economy class fares
10% off all Executive First class fares

Valid between Canada and Europe.
Valid on AC operated flights only.
Travel valid for Sep 8, 2009 - Dec 15, 2009.
Enter N4B4BA31 under Promotion Code.

Discount code will be valid until Jul 19, 2009.

Book online at Air Canada

WestJet: Save on Select Western Routes

Book by July 14, 2009 (11:59 p.m. MT) for travel until September 30, 2009.
For travel on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

One Way prices:
Calgary -Vancouver $59
Calgary - Abbotsford $59
Calgary - Saskatoon $49
Calgary - Regina $59

Book at WestJet.com

Monday, July 13, 2009

Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards for 2009

Slightly off topic but one that is very popular for my main site RewardsCanada.ca, is travel rewards credit cards. I get a lot of people asking what is or are the best cards for travel and today I have revealed Rewards Canada's picks for Canada's Top Travel Rewards Credit Cards 2009. I won' t go into much detail here on iflycalgary.ca but you can read about it all in my feature on Rewards Canada.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WestJet adds 11 new destinations and expands winter schedule

Only one of the new 11 destinations will be served directly from YYC but we will also see an extension of another and increases in flights this winter on three more routes.

The new route from Calgary is to Ixtapa/Zihuatnejo which starts on Nov 3 with twice weekly service.

San Diego must be showing some decent numbers as WestJet has extended the service from summer only to year round starting on Nov 2. Flights will remain at three per week

The following routes will see increases:
Calgary-Cancun increased by 1 to 3 times weekly
Calgary-Phoenix increased by 3 to 10 times weekly
Calgary-Puerto Vallarta by 1 to 3 times weekly

From the WestJet press release, the new destinations are
Varadero, Holguin and Cayo Coco, Cuba; Ixtapa and Cozumel, Mexico; St. Martin; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; Freeport, Bahamas; Lihue (Kauai), Hawaii; Miami, Florida; and Atlantic City, New Jersey. (I just might have to make use of Lihue this winter.)

WestJet Press Release

Monday, July 6, 2009

Exclusive Online Sale: Summer of Deals from Air Canada - Week 2

WEEK 2: Jul 6 - Jul 12

15% off all fares

Valid between Canada and Sun Destinations (Caribbean and Mexico)
Valid on AC operated flights only.
All travel must be completed by Dec 10, 2009.
Enter PGUGGT21 under Promotion Code.

Discount code will be valid until Jul 12, 2009.

See week 1 offer here

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Transborder lounge to open in July

Servisair is slated to open its next lounge in YYC sometime this month. Named the "Rocky Mountain Lounge", this business class lounge will be located in Concourse C right past US Pre-clearance and CATSA security check point on departures level 2.

According to the lounge supervisor no airlines have signed contracts yet to allow their business class or elite frequent flyer use the lounge. Access at this point is available to anyone who wishes to pay the entry fee of $30 (or $28 if reserved online). The entry fee includes alcoholic beverages, Wi-Fi Access, computer terminal use, etc.

The lounge will operate daily from 04:30 to 19:00 and will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Servisair also operates the "Chinook Lounge" located in Concourse D.

JULY 6 UPDATE: I have received news from Servisair that the lounge is now scheduled to open on July 20 and that it will also be part of the Priority Pass network

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Exclusive online sale: Summer of deals from Air Canada

Thank you to Air Canada employee Andrew Yiu who put this offer up on Flyertalk and encouraged the sharing of it, so here you go:

"We would like to celebrate the arrival of summer with you by offering special online only deals throughout July and August with very attractive discounts!

So check back each week for different deals!

For the first week:

20% off all Economy class fares
15% off all Executive class fares

Valid between Canada and Asia.
Valid on AC operated flights only.
All travel must be completed by Dec 15, 2009.
Enter W7MZ4BH1 under Promotion Code.

This particular deal will be valid until Jul 5."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

YYC passenger traffic continues to drop

The Calgary Airport Authority has posted the passenger numbers from April and May of this year and to no surprise the numbers continue to be lower then last year. In fact the numbers for these months are even lower then the same two months in 2007. Many analysts have said that we have hit the bottom of this economic downturn so perhaps we will see a rise in the numbers in the coming months. If this happens I would think the numbers will still be down from 2008 but not in 5-8% range like we are currently seeing, perhaps only 2-3%. However, that being said, I am also involved in the Oil and Gas Industry, and many of my colleagues agree that if the price of natural gas doesn't move up, we will continue on with "things being slow" and as much as Calgary likes to believe that it has diversified, Oil and Gas is still the biggest player and is the benchmark for how this city fairs economically.

Here are YYC's overall passenger numbers for April and May
April 985,626 (-5.2%)
May 956,339 (-7.9%)

Broken down by sector:
April 677,459 (-6.5%)
May 698,565 (-8.7%)

April 208,088 (3.5%)
May 177,580 (-5.3%)

April 100,079 (-11.7%)
May 80,194 (-7.0%)

Is their a light at the end of the tunnel? I sure hope so, Air Travel is usually quite a good indicator of how a country or economy is fairing, and right now the numbers are not promising but there seems to be some positive signs emerging. Thanks to a thread on Airliners.net about how KLM's YYC-AMS flight is doing, I have been watching passenger loads for the flight on Amadeus.net (KLM is one of only a few who post their PAX numbers on here) and a few weeks ago most of the flights had around 150 passengers, but each flight this week coming from Amsterdam has had over 240 on a plane that seats 251. I know one week is not enough to gauge an economic turnaround but I will continue to watch this flight to see if these numbers stay up in that range throughout the summer and beyond.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fly Calgary-Germany for 35,000 Miles and More Miles

Lufthansa is offering last minute discounted reward tickets on flights from Calgary (or Toronto/Montreal) to Germany. The flights can be had for 35,000 Miles and More Miles (regular redemption amount is 60,000 miles). Flights must be booked by July 16 for travel up to July 20 on Lufthansa metal only. Full details

Friday, June 19, 2009

Save 10% on last minute Alaska/Horizon Airlines flights

If you have some last minute travel required on Alaska or Horizon, you can save 10% by using promo code EC032409 when you book online at Alaskaair.com

This code is valid for flights until June 30, 09

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Save 15% on Air Canada flights within Canada

Air Canada is running a promotion for Father's Day whereby you can save 15% on certain fare classes on most flights within Canada (not valid for travel between Vancouver - Calgary, Halifax - Toronto and Ottawa - Vancouver).

The classes that are eligible are Tango Plus, Latitude, Executive Lowest and Flexible Class fares.

You must enter promo code VDKGYP41 when booking online. The offer is good for bookings until Jun 18 for travel that is completed byl Aug 31.

Full details can be found on the Air Canada website.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

United ups baggage fees for those who check in at the Airport

United quietly introduced baggage fee increases on May 14 for flights on or after June 10. They have increased the first and second checked bag fees to $20 and $30 respectively for those who chose to check in at the airport.

If you check in online and pay for your bags online the fees remain at $15 and $25.

These fees are in effect for travel within the 50 states and to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and of course, Canada.

See all of United's bag fees here.

United: Discounted Mileage Plus Reward flights to the U.S.

United Mileage Plus is offering a 5,000 mile discount on Economy Saver flights between the U.S. and Canada, which means reward flights can be had for 20,000 miles if they are available. The flights have to be booked online.

Although it looks to be targetted to the U.S. market for travel to Canada, the terms and conditions do not state that Canada to U.S. travel is excluded. Here is a link to the offer.(I tried a dummy booking for YYC-DEN in August and it came up with 20K so it does work from Canada)

  • Economy Saver Awards are available for 20,000 Mileage Plus miles instead of 25,000
  • Each passenger is responsible for applicable taxes and fees
  • Offer valid for travel between the 48 contiguous United States and Canada
  • Ticketing period: Now through June 21, 2009
  • Travel period: Now through September 2, 2009
  • Blackout dates: July 2, 2009 - July 6, 2009
  • Valid for roundtrip travel in United Economy® on United® and United Express® operated flights
  • All other standard Mileage Plus rules and restrictions apply

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Air Canada and WestJet go head to head with daily deals for flights in June

WestJet started this yesterday with their midnight madness sale whereby you could book flights for super cheap between 12am and 6am to different destinations each day. Air Canada has matched however they are not restricting bookings to that 6hr booking period, their offers are up all day until 11:59EST. For example on Air Canada, today you can book flights to Victoria, San Diego or Las Vegas for only $59 each way.

These offers run until Jun 5 (remember each day is different) and are valid for flights until June 30

Book at
Air Canada

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Earn Triple Asia Miles at the Delta Calgary Airport

As a follow up to this post we made, Cathay Pacific's Asia Miles program has extended the Triple Miles offer for stays at Delta Hotels across Canada until the end of the year. That means if you have to overnight at the Delta Calgary Airport, then you can earn triple Asia Miles for that stay*.

Full details can be found on the Asia Miles website

* Stay must be on a qualifying rate

Friday, May 29, 2009

Earn up to 40,000 Bonus Aeroplan miles on dozens of flights out of Calgary

Air Canada today launched their summer Aeroplan bonus mile promotion for tons of flights within North America and it includes many out of Calgary.

The promotion requires registration (see link below) and offers bonuses as follows:
* Fly 4 one-way flights - earn 3,000 Bonus Aeroplan Miles
* Fly 8 one-way flights - earn 4,000 additional Bonus Aeroplan Miles, a cumulative total of 7,000
* Fly 12 one way flights - earn 8,000 additional Bonus Aeroplan Miles, for a cumulative total of 15,000.
* Fly 16 one way flights - earn 25,000 additional Bonus Aeroplan Miles, for a cumulative total of 40,000.

The following direct routes out of Calgary are eligible for the bonus mile offer:
Rest of Canada
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco

There are also many more routes in this promotin out of cities like Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver that you can connect to on flights from Calgary.

For more details on this promo and the registration link visit the Aeroplan page on Rewards Canada.

Air Transat/Thomas Cook: Calgary - London $552 all in

A not bad last minute charter fare (well the base fare is excellent but like any flight to the UK it comes with hefty fees and taxes) of $109 round trip pretax ($552 all in) departing Calgary on June 11 and returning June 18 on Thomas Cook.

Bookable on Expedia.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

WestJet and Southwest Codesharing delayed

Due to tough economic times and three quarters of losses, Southwest Airlines has delayed the implementation of the much anticipated code-sharing service between them and WestJet. Southwest states at this time they are going to focus on increasing revenues this year but will remain committed to the partnership with WestJet.

No timeline has been set as to when the code-sharing may be implemented but WestJet says they are on track to have their new reservation system that will allow code-sharing/interlining with airlines up and runnung by the fourth quarter of 2009. Once the system is up and running WestJet should be launching their own frequent flyer program (initially scheduled for Q2 of this year) and be implementing the previously announced code-sharing/interline agreement with Air France/KLM.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

YYC Passenger numbers drop 7.7% for March

A continuing sign of the times, Calgary International Airport saw another drop in passenger numbers for March. Overall 7.7% less passengers travelled through YYC in March 2009 versus March 2008 although the number was still over 1 million. Hopefully the numbers will start trending upward for the typically busier summer season.

Passenger Stats for March 09 by the numbers:
Overall 1,015,060 (-7.7%)
Domestic 691,789 (-7.9%)
Transborder 212,526 (-7.3%)
International 110,745 (-7.2%)

Year to date YYC is just over 2.9 million passengers, a figure that is 5.2% less then what is was for the same period last year.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Air Canada: Calgary - Tokyo for $694 all in

A very decent fare that can be used for a mileage run since their is no minimum stay and the fare books into Tango+ which means 100% Aeroplan Status Miles. Total before tax for round trip is $548 and $694 with all taxes and fees in. Works on May 18 - 20 and many other various dates throughout May and June. Book online at Aircanada.com

Thanks to VoodooYYC for the heads up in this FlyerTalk post

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Fly Calgary to Victoria: Clive Beddoe, Broken Luggage, Power Outage

This past weekend, my wife, kids and I were off to Victoria for a quick weekend getaway and as a surprise to the kids, one of the main reasons to go was for them to see the "Walking With Dinosaurs" show and I highly recommend it now that I have seen it. They were so excited when we pulled into Park N Jet and realized we were flying somewhere. The shuttle ride over to the terminal was painless as was check in with WestJet for dropping our bags off (we had checked in online the previous day)

Our flight, on a Boeing 737-700 Registration C-GVWJ (that's as detailed as I get in my trip reports, no timing of the take off run, how many seats were left empty etc. like some trip reports have), left from gate D40 on time at 8am and the flight was smooth and carefree until arrival. About three quarters of the way into the flight, a man that was not cabin crew grabbed the intercom and starting speaking to everyone on the flight, it was Clive Beddoe, one of the founding members of WestJet. He thanked everyone for supporting WestJet and helping them grow from 3 planes to over 70 and asked for continued support so they could pay for more of the $40 million dollar 737-700's that we were flying on today. A we were disembarking from the airplane, a quick handshake, introduction and handing over my business card to Clive was all that time could afford (Who said networking had to be graceful?)

Once off the plane, it did not take long for our luggage to arrive and I guess you can call me lucky, that in all my years of travelling I have never had my luggage damaged in anyway, delayed yes, damaged no. Low and behold, the car seats come out with no issues, then our first suitcase, what's this? A wheel is broken off? Then the next piece comes out, a zipper pull broken? As I said before this has never happened to me or my family, so I go up to the WestJet rep and mention this (I have never gone through the procedure before) but she advised us that wheels and zippers are not covered. Fair enough, but what were the WestJet baggage handlers doing that two pieces of our luggage came out damaged? I could see one, but both of them? Obviously someone was being rough with the luggage. It took a little getting used to but by twisting on the handle of the luggage with the broken wheel I could get the luggage to run on the one remaining wheel without the other corner dragging on the floor.

After a great weekend in Victoria where the weather cooperated, some fun sightseeing, eating way too much and relaxing on our hotel balcony looking over the harbour it was time to head home.

The flight back was once again on a WestJet 737-700, regsitered C-GQWJ. It pretty much left on time at 5:45pm and encountered a little turbulence for the first 5 minutes or so but once we were above the clouds the flight was smooth. Coming into Calgary, the first officer flew the plane around some small thunderstorms and landed on runway 10. As we approached the terminal one of the cabin crew came on the intercom announcing we would have a bit of a wait as the main terminal had no power due to it being knocked out by a thunderstorm that had passed through prior to our arrival. It did not take too long however before some airstairs were brought to the plane and we got to go down those onto the tarmac and back up the side stairs to the jetbridge to get into the terminal. The terminal was darker then usual with only essential lighting running off of YYC's back up power. The baggage carousels were running off that back up power as well and it took a short while longer then normal for the luggage to arrive. Considering the circumstances with the power and that I have had to wait longer for luggage when no problems exist, there were no complaints here for the slight delay. Oh and the luggage came out with no more damage then what they went in with in Victoria.

All in all we had decent flights with WestJet, we have flown them in past and will fly them again in the future and of course we enjoyed flying in and out of our hometown airport again.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Earn Double Mileage Plan Miles for all Alaska / Horizon Flights (includes double towards MVP/Gold Status)

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is celebrating their Freddie award for best Frequent Flyer program by offering double Elite Qualifying Miles and Redeemable Miles on all Alaska / Horizon flights which of course includes Horizon's flights from Calgary to or connecting via Seattle. The offer is valid on Bargain, Value, Full Flex and First Class fares until June 30, 09.

The offer requires registration, see Rewards Canada's Mileage Plan page for full details and the registration link.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Use Lufthansa's Mobile Boarding Pass when flying out of YYC

Lufthansa has introduced their Mobile Boarding Pass for use from their four main gateways in Canada: Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Similar to what Air Canada and WestJet already utilize, the Mobile Boarding Pass allows you to go completely paperless by having your boarding pass SMS-Linked or emailed right to your cell phone.

Canada is the first country outside of Europe to offer LH's Mobile Boarding Pass option.

More details (on Lufty's website)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

KLM's Return to Calgary

Welcome back KLM!

Today, Sunday May 3 marked the return of KLM to Calgary. The A330 from Amsterdam arrived shortly after 4pm local time to a pretty decent spring day for Calgary.

The inaugural flight came in early with a nice landing on runway 16. The KLM flight was then met with a water cannon salute at the terminal.

Inside the terminal the festivities included local fiddlers and tulips for the arriving crew and dignitaries. Meeting the plane were YYC management, Delta/Northwest, Air France-KLM representatives as well as the Alberta Minister of Tourism Cindy Ady and representatives of Travel Alberta and Tourism Calgary.

The KLM flight will run 4x weekly until the end of May at which time it increase to 5x weekly in June. The hope is to have it move to daily service if the response to the flight is good . With the current economic slowdown this may be a while. However, to fly to or via Amsterdam tends to be cheaper then the U.K. or Germany due to lower taxes and it won't take long for travellers to figure this out.

The bottom three photos are some more photo captures from video of the A330 coming in today (the first three photos however were taken by my 6 year old daughter with a Nikon D80!)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Community Stakeholders call for inclusion of Airport Trail Tunnel

Business owners, community associations and residents of NE Calgary have formed a committee called the Airport Trail Access Committee (ATAC) to promote public awareness about the current plans of not including the proposed tunnel under the new N-S Runway planned by the Calgary Aiport. ATAC ultimately want to ensure that the plans by the Airport Authority and all levels of government have a commitment to include the tunnel when the runway is built

Excerpt from the ATAC press release:
"Grant Galpin, spokesperson for the Airport Trail Access Committee notes, “The loss of Barlow Trail as an access route along with no plans for a tunnel off of Airport Trail will mean that all traffic is forced to approach the airport from Deerfoot Trail. This cuts off multiple access points to the airport from all of the hotels, restaurants, businesses, planned housing developments in NE Calgary, not to mention the airport employees who live in the region.” Galpin highlighted the economic impact by further stating, “It will mean a loss of millions of dollars of revenue for businesses dependent upon the largest economic generator and employer (the airport) in the region, and create a very significant potential loss of regional employment as businesses potentially choose to move out of NE Calgary. This tunnel is a necessity for the continued economic health of the area.” "

The group have launched a website at www.yestunnel.com to further the exposure on this issue.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Save an extra $50-$100 off WestJet flights to U.S., Hawaiian and Caribbean destinations

6WestJet has post some pretty sweet promo codes that can be used to lower their already low fares on routes to the U.S., Hawaii and the Caribbean.

Use promo code CARE50 to save $50 off round trips to the U.S. excluding Hawaii.

Use promo code CARE100 to save $100 off round trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean

The codes are valid until May 5 11:59MST for travel until June 19.

So that great offer we posted last week for WestJet to San Diego for $286 all in is now $234.06

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Delta adds $50 2nd Checked Bag Fee on International Flights

Citing big losses, Delta announced they will be adding a $50 fee for checking in a second bag on International flights to try and generate more revenue. They are the first large U.S. airline to impose such a fee, most including Delta have had checked bag fees for Canada/U.S. Domestic flights but none on International flights.

The fee went into effect for tickets purchased after April 22 for travel on or after July 1.

The following passengers will be exempt from the fees:

* First and Business Class passengers
* SkyMiles and WorldPerks Elite members (Executive/Platinum/Gold and Silver, including Flying Colonels)
* Active duty military members traveling on orders
* Passengers who purchased tickets prior to April 22, 2009
* Passengers who are confirmed on a Full Y class Economy ticket.

WestJet, Air Canada, Sunwing, Sunquest suspend Mexico flights

Following quickly on Air Transat's heels, WestJet, Air Canada, Sunwing and Sunquest Vacations have all canceled flights to Mexico

Air Canada flights to Cancun, Cozumel and Puerto Vallarta are suspended until Jun 1 however AC does intend to continue the route to Mexico City at this time More info

WestJet is suspending service May 4 - Jun 20 More info

Sunwing is suspending service until May 29 More info

Sunqeust is suspending service until Jun 4 More info

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Air Transat cancels all Mexico flights until June 1 / Swine Flu Update

Due to the outbreak of the Swine Flu in Mexico, Air Transat has apparently canceled all flights to Mexico until June 1. The Air Transat website makes no mention of this but it does appear to be bogged down, probably with everyone checking the status of their flights. Air Transat will operate return flights to bring home Canadian vacationers until May 3.

Air Canada and WestJet are giving customers until May 6 and 8 respectively to change their Mexican travel plans.

Mexican carrier Mexicana is also giving customers until May 6 to change plans with no change fee

Air Transat Press Release