Leigh and I went to Banff to ski Lake Louise between the March 19th and 23rd.
- Mistake number one was flying Air Canada. We went from paid in full, seat assigned passenger to “we will get to you when we call your name” standby nobody class after being an hour early and sitting through multiple flight cancellations. Air Canada calles them "delays" untill two hours after they were supposed to fly, then doesn't talk about them. After watching it in action and speaking with other travelers that this has happened to many times, I do not believe the cancellations were legitimate but a management design to fill every seat on every flying aircraft. They do this by canceling flights until they have enough passengers in standby to fill the entire plane. Also this destroys any ability to connect to the next flight which means back into standby nobody class until they call your name. In our case that was after shuttling from one gate to another till after seven in the evening. Also note tha AC does not fly your baggage through Vancouver, they dump it on the carousell and you have to collect your skis, pack them a mile to the next depature gate, re-check in, get a new boarding pass, re-submit your skis to baggage, then try to get on your next connection. You won't get an assigned seat.
- We arrived in Calgary CA after 9pm and our reserved ground transport to Banff, Brewster, had closed at 8 leaving us stranded. When called the next day, (on hotel line since our cells did not work) they said that no refund was their policy. We were able to get ground transport from Banff Airporter, they were still open and happy to serve. Lesson learned, do not make reservations for ground transport when flying because you have no control over when or where the airline will dump you.
- Banff is an hour shuttle from Lake Louise and at least four different carriers, so do not be deceived by SKIBIG3; they just represent a consortium of local businesses, not by any means, all of them.
- Speaking of SKIBIG3, there isn’t BIG 3, the other two are only local pound outs. Yea, I know, Sunshine has a new, sort of, ski in ski out resort, kind of. You go ahead and go there. Been there, not again thanks.
- Air Canada is affiliated with United Airlines, they handle the local Portland flights for Air Canada. At the bottom of AC’s web site is the disclaimer that United may charge a baggage fee. When we flew out we challenged the $30 fee because the stated policy on the Air Canada website. When we returned on the 23rd, a fee was charged before they would allow us to board, no receipt. At home I signed on the bank and found that they had charged us $160 baggage fee for ski’s and boots. And that’s how an airline pays a CEO’s bonus.
- On a positive note: United did not fly our skis to Oregon with us. They did send a kid to deliver the bag to our house the next day. They were still intact.
- Also on a positive note: Lake Louise is wonderful. If I ever go back, I will drive there and stay at the lake, there is nothing in Banff that I want to see again. Hmmm, that doesn’t sound very positive does it? I’ll have to work on my attitude.
May your travels be wonderful.