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

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, 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 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