After 3 days of raw aviation megafun on the Curtiss C-46 and Lockheed L188 Electra with Buffalo Airways at Yellowknife, Canada. I am “back to the present” and flew out on Air Canada CRJ900 to Calgary.
The airfare is expensive as expected from Yellowknife. Last-minute airfare can go as high as over CAD1,000.
I redeemed 28,800 United miles for Air Canada domestic Business Class from Yellowknife via Calgary to Montreal. The latter flight is operated by B787-9 which has the international product.
Yellowknife to Calgary
The Air Canada Express CRJ-900 has a Business Class product with 4 rows of Business Class seating in 1-2 configuration. The Economy is behind in 2-2 configuration. The leg room is about 36" pitch. There's even an IFE screen, foot rest, USB cable and power outlet. You can find out more from my video.
Transport Canada mandates compulsory mask wearing inside airplanes in Canada.
Flight from Yellowknife to Calgary took just under 2 hours in a straight Southerly direction. I saw the vast summer landscape of Northern Canada.
An impressive hot meal was served on the 2 hours flight.
I stayed overnight in Calgary as connections are long and poor.
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Calgary
The next morning I came back to Calgary Airport and used the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. Unlike the U.S. Carriers only allowing club members on domestic trips to use the lounge, any domestic Business Class passenger can use the Air Canada lounge
The lounge has a decent food selection including pizza, pasta, soups and freshly cooked sliders. Again, it is better than most of the U.S. Carriers domestic lounge.
Air Canada B787-9 to Montreal
Flight AC322 to Calgary was delayed for about 50 minutes due to being late inbound. The flight delays are severe this summer out of Montreal and Toronto. Calgary seems less affected. The security lane only took 10 minutes to pass.
It is operated by B787-9 in the latest Air Canada livery with a black "eye mask".
Air Canada operates 29 B787-9 and 8 B787-8 in the fleet.
The Air Canada B787 (and the rest of the long haul fleet) features super diamond individual pod seats with individual aisle access.
Air Canada has both English and French in all announcements including pilot PAs.
I visited the 787 cockpit on the ground during boarding and shared my Buffalo Airway Yellowknife trip story with the 2 pilots. Flight time was 3 hours 20 minutes with a straight climb to 37,000 ft and later cruise at 39,000 ft.
I was quite surprised there are food and beverage menus for the domestic flight.
The meal was served course by course. It feels like this is an international flight rather than a quick tray on domestic. The service is also more elaborated on the B787 compared to my earlier CRJ-900 flight.
The below pictures are meals in Premium Economy. The choices were chicken tagine or vegetable paella.
Unfortunately, economy class was "buy on-board" and there was no free food.
Air Canada Wi-Fi Plan:
I tried out the flatbed and even took an hour's nap. It was comfortable although the table is on top of my leg. Just need to watch out when you turn to sleep.
The landing was smooth in Montreal. We arrived 40 minutes behind schedule as we were held on the tarmac to wait for another aircraft to depart.
It was certainly a joy to fly a widebody international configured 787 on a domestic flight. I observed three issues with aviation in Canada.
- The service is better than most U.S. Carriers. but the airfares are higher. I was redeeming miles to fly for better value. The domestic airfare within Canada is sometimes higher than flights to Europe!
- If you didn't get a refund but got a voucher, given the current high airfare and inflation, those voucher value is unlikely to hold.
- Manpower shortage issues at the airport causing flight delays. This turns out to be a blame game between airports, airlines and security companies. The delay problem is worse in Montreal and Toronto.