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Calgary / Vancouver flights

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Our 12Y old is joining a school trip to Calgary and Jasper in Easter 2021. The rest of us (mum, younger brother and I) are planning to join him for some of the time as part of a 2-week jaunt to either Whistler or Banff (or possibly Lake Louise). We know these resorts very well but we haven’t made it across the Atlantic since 2012.

I’ll think about the internal transfer logistics later but I’d like to ask when flights for that time of year (first weekend of April) usually come out, which airlines / routes (is there a particularly cost attractive indirect one) you’d recommend and how / where to book ... we live near Manchester but can, of course, fly out of London or other regional airport if it makes more sense)?

Thank you.
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Can only speak for Calgary. Don't know when they are released but BA, AC fly from LHR and WestJet fly from Gatwick. This year BA only operated a limited winter schedule and their flight is much later in the day than air Canada.

Personally I prefer WestJet but I'm flying direct and don't need to get to Manchester.
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Really? - Many airlines will not exist. Routes, timetables and prices will have changed massively.
Come back later.
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sweaman22 wrote:
Can only speak for Calgary. Don't know when they are released but BA, AC fly from LHR and WestJet fly from Gatwick. This year BA only operated a limited winter schedule and their flight is much later in the day than air Canada.

Personally I prefer WestJet but I'm flying direct and don't need to get to Manchester.
Thanks very much, the WestJet option looks attractive. Happy to drive to LGW from Manchester.
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I have flown WestJet to Calgary and it was good. I was in a large group so got meals but I think you have to buy them otherwise.
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I don't understand why you need an internal flight? If he's at Calgary/Jasper you want to fly straight from UK into Calgary and meet him in Calgary/Banff/Jasper. Plenty to keep you occupied without needing to go to Whistler or Vancouver
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pieman666 wrote:
I have flown WestJet to Calgary and it was good. I was in a large group so got meals but I think you have to buy them otherwise.


Westjet provide food and drink on their Dreamliners, but not the rest of their fleet Puzzled Don't know if the route is (was) invariably served by 787s. WJ's charges for legroom seats are low as are their baggage fees.

Calgary to Jasper is a great drive up the Icefield Parkway. I understand the inland alternative bad weather route is not that much longer.

But will never understand why a school would put kids through a nine hour flight followed by a five hour transfer for a small resort with chuff all nursery area?
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Quote:

But will never understand why a school would put kids through a nine hour flight followed by a five hour transfer for a small resort with chuff all nursery area?


Probably where the teaching organising it fancied going. It's a beautiful area of the world, but agree with you very unnecessary. The other thing about these big trips is the they are incredibly expensive. Would rather schools did a more budget friendly option (Andorra on a bus maybe) that was accessible to far more students.
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I think Air Transat still fly from Manchester to Calgary. I've Used them a couple of times always easy and clean.
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boarder2020 wrote:
I don't understand why you need an internal flight? If he's at Calgary/Jasper you want to fly straight from UK into Calgary and meet him in Calgary/Banff/Jasper. Plenty to keep you occupied without needing to go to Whistler or Vancouver

Good point but it's a good opportunity for the rest of us to go back to Vancouver and Whistler - not been since 2012 having spent a season and and a few other ad-hoc weeks there.
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boarder2020 wrote:
Quote:

But will never understand why a school would put kids through a nine hour flight followed by a five hour transfer for a small resort with chuff all nursery area?


Probably where the teaching organising it fancied going. It's a beautiful area of the world, but agree with you very unnecessary. The other thing about these big trips is the they are incredibly expensive. Would rather schools did a more budget friendly option (Andorra on a bus maybe) that was accessible to far more students.

I think it will be a stunning experience for the kids - not necessarily for our heavily spoilt 12Y old who has already been to Whistler twice as well as to countless other exotic places ... it's a private school (let's not go into the politics of that or the pros and cons) so this kind of opportunity comes up relatively frequently (trips to South America, Nepal, Spain etc are not uncommon ...).
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Agree that it will be a fantastic experience and well worth the flight.

BA no longer flies direct to Calgary in winter so the main option for direct flights is Air Canada. The AC flight is at a sensible time of day which is a big positive - connecting flights can mean a stupidly late start, horribly late arrival or both. Note that the Gatwick flights with Westjet don't operate every day, but may work for you. The best Vancouver options for me have always been BA and AC as Heathrow is much closer than Gatwick. Both offer well-timed direct flights.

Various options exist to connect in places like Vancouver or Toronto. Prices for connecting flights can be lower if you book late and the direct flight is busy, but tend to be no cheaper than if you book early in my experience. These can be found using Google Flights or ITA Matrix.

Flights become available between 364 and 350 days days in advance depending on airline; BA releases flights before Air Canada, for example. Note that flights usually appear on the airline's own website a few days or weeks before they're picked up by Google Flights. Another factor is that connecting flights using partner airlines (eg BA/AA) often take longer to appear than routings using only one airline. In my experience, sales on these routes rarely offer significant savings in economy, although BA sometimes offers big sale reductions in posh cabins on the Vancouver route.

Another option is to connect on this side of the Atlantic using KLM via Amsterdam. I really can't recommend that, though, as Amsterdam is an unreliable airport and KLM is notorious for failing to honour its statutory commitments on cancellations and delays. We did it with them this year and arrived home 36 hours late. It's a long story but I'm still significantly out of pocket with KLM refusing to compensate all of my genuine costs and absolutely refusing to pay the EU compensation for delays and telling bare-faced lies (I have clear contradictory evidence) about the reason for the cancellation. I'll definitely go to court over the matter if necessary as the sums involved are substantial, but it's not a hassle that you would want to bring on yourself.
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Jonny Jones wrote:
Agree that it will be a fantastic experience and well worth the flight.

BA no longer flies direct to Calgary in winter so the main option for direct flights is Air Canada. The AC flight is at a sensible time of day which is a big positive - connecting flights can mean a stupidly late start, horribly late arrival or both. Note that the Gatwick flights with Westjet don't operate every day, but may work for you. The best Vancouver options for me have always been BA and AC as Heathrow is much closer than Gatwick. Both offer well-timed direct flights.

Various options exist to connect in places like Vancouver or Toronto. Prices for connecting flights can be lower if you book late and the direct flight is busy, but tend to be no cheaper than if you book early in my experience. These can be found using Google Flights or ITA Matrix.

Flights become available between 364 and 350 days days in advance depending on airline; BA releases flights before Air Canada, for example. Note that flights usually appear on the airline's own website a few days or weeks before they're picked up by Google Flights. Another factor is that connecting flights using partner airlines (eg BA/AA) often take longer to appear than routings using only one airline. In my experience, sales on these routes rarely offer significant savings in economy, although BA sometimes offers big sale reductions in posh cabins on the Vancouver route.

Another option is to connect on this side of the Atlantic using KLM via Amsterdam. I really can't recommend that, though, as Amsterdam is an unreliable airport and KLM is notorious for failing to honour its statutory commitments on cancellations and delays. We did it with them this year and arrived home 36 hours late. It's a long story but I'm still significantly out of pocket with KLM refusing to compensate all of my genuine costs and absolutely refusing to pay the EU compensation for delays and telling bare-faced lies (I have clear contradictory evidence) about the reason for the cancellation. I'll definitely go to court over the matter if necessary as the sums involved are substantial, but it's not a hassle that you would want to bring on yourself.


Great post @jonnyjones, thanks for taking the time to write such a clear note, much appreciated.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@franga, Ex EU from OSL or ARN on BA at 355 days out. UK gov likely to bail out BA when they are about to go under but only if they demerge from IAG.
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I've flown WestJet to Calgary before. No issues for me, as mentioned, food wasn't included, but you could pre-order that. Soft drinks and snacks were included.

It was cheap, I seem to recall around £350 for flight and £70 for the bag.
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Quote:

It was cheap, I seem to recall around £350 for flight and £70 for the bag.


It normally get an air Canada flight for around £450, so not much difference really. I'm usually flexible with dates which helps though, maybe if you have fixed dates WestJet might be a better deal.
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I also recommend west jet, they are all dreamliners on that route, as I think are air canada flight, but who knows whether either of them will exist next year, or what travel will look like. I too have had immense hassle with KLM. Lost luggage, bumped off flight, not dreamliners . I think food is included on west jet.
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Sorry to jump in here, but will Air Canada provide food and drink on a Heathrow to Calgary flight in December does anyone know?
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bambionskiis,

Not sure. You may have to panic-buy bread now and freeze it for your in-flight sarnies Shocked Toofy Grin
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bambionskiis, I would imagine so, they have on all their international flights previously.
Just check their website to be sure, it should tell you exactly the sort of service you can expect Madeye-Smiley
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thanks bergmeister and bones. I’ll pack a loaf and a tin of tuna just in case then!! Ok, I’ll check their website closer to the time to be sure then.
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bambionskiis wrote:
Sorry to jump in here, but will Air Canada provide food and drink on a Heathrow to Calgary flight in December does anyone know?


Been on many Air Canada flights ... food always provided. Very Happy

Not exactly Haute Cuisine though .....
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FoofyNoo wrote:
bambionskiis wrote:
Sorry to jump in here, but will Air Canada provide food and drink on a Heathrow to Calgary flight in December does anyone know?


Been on many Air Canada flights ... food always provided. Very Happy

Not exactly Haute Cuisine though .....


Surely the cuisine is very haute (ie 35,000 feet) wink
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Bergmeister, Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

Fine dining it aint, but its food and if you were really hungry I don't think you'd complain. Some airline routes are better than others.
We had meatballs etc. this time over to Canada, made a change and not too bad considering.
SWMBO doesn't really like airplane food - the best she's had was Delta to SLC offering fresh chicken salad.

Best thing you can do is grab something to take on with you,if you are that bothered about the delicacies they serve Toofy Grin
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