Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Fly Calgary to Kahului, Maui: 'The Three Amigos'

Wow, I can't believe it has been well over a year since I wrote my last I Fly Calgary trip report. In fact I haven't been posting as much as I would like to in general on I Fly Calgary as the travel rewards and oil & gas industries have been keeping me very busy. I am going to make a conscious effort to try to do more on I Fly Calgary even though 2011 is shaping up to be even busier then 2010.

For the third year in a row my family has decided to vacation on the beautiful beaches of Maui. Each year we have added one more day to vacation and this year was no exception. The biggest difference this year is that we got both the outbound and inbound flights on Air Canada's direct non-stop flights between YYC and OGG. 2010 saw us go via Vancouver on WestJet to Maui but we did grab the AC direct flight back. For our family of four (kids 7 and 5), getting non-stop flights is typically a priority even though connecting flights can mean more elite qualifying miles and segments (I should try to practice what I preach) and the lack of a new interior with IFE due to AC's use of 'The Three Amigos' on the route

If you are wondering what  'the Three Amigos' are, they are three Boeing 767-300s that Air Canada acquired and did not refurbish the interiors during their XM project that saw new interiors and seat back IFE installed on almost all of the AC fleet. 'The Three Amigos' moniker seems to stem from one of the planes originally being built for Spanair (Fin 687)

On our way to OGG!
As we awaited my family and I prayed to the substitution gods that one we would some how luck out and have one of the XMed 767 subbed in for our flight. As we board the aircraft luck would not be on our side, I see the old school business class seats and know we have one of 'The Three Amigos' The flight out to OGG left YYC pretty much on time with the wheels leaving the ground 15 minutes after the posted departure time and arriving at the gate in OGG six hours and thirty six minutes later.  The flight was uneventful with very little turbulence although it was quite cool to see another AC' 767 from YVR heading to Honolulu fly up to us, make a bit of a right turn and stay just ahead and a little below our aircraft for most of the route. Entertainment wise we had Flight Attendants apologizing for someone forgetting to load new movies onto to plane for the overhead projection system, so we were stuck watching 'One Fine Day' and 'The Matrix'. Overall service was good throughout the flight from the cabin crew, and is consistent with what I have experienced from AC over the past year.

Once on the island, we hopped into our minivan from Budget (my parents came along this year so we needed a vehicle my family loves to hate) and drove the forty minutes to the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas. The Ocean Resort Villas are great for families as you have an awesome hotel resort style complex with condo type rooms that have kitchens and a washer/dryer. As much as I would like to book the resort through Starwood to earn Starpoints and get a commission, you just can't get rates as good as the third party booking company we used called Maui Hawaii Vacations.  If you choose to use them be sure to ask for Naomi if you book by phone.

Fast forward 9 days and a great vacation that included Snorkeling, Whale Watching, tons of food, pool and beach time was over. After dropping our rental off we get to AC's check in counters around 5:30pm (departure is 7:55pm) with a small line up ahead of us. Check in was almost a breeze except for one of our bags being 4lbs overweight, blame it on all the Honolulu Cookie Co. cookies and Maui Jelly Factory Jellies and Jams (oh and one mustard). Luckily we had enough room in our carry on luggage to move 4lbs out. The check-in agent said that normally he would let it go but they were being audited so he had to comply with AC's rules. Once again, we were blessed with one of 'The Three Amigos' for our flight home. This time the flight home was quite rough turbulence wise for a good portion of the flight that delayed the just about to start in-flight service for well over an hour. This meant that the hot items from the buy-on-board service were free as they sat in the ovens for the period of turbulence. This time for entertainment they had one new movie 'Life as We Know It' and once again 'The Matrix'. The flight arrived into Calgary 10 minutes late but with no other flights arriving from the U.S. or elsewhere at 5am customs was a breeze and we didn't have to wait too long to get our luggage.

Overall, the trip was great, the flights were good and once again YYC served me well. I have flown AC quite a bit over the past year and have no complaints as I like their service, and their planes (even 'The Three Amigos'). I look forward to my next flight out of YYC and telling you about it. Until then, its Adios Amigos!

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