Whe arriving and departing from Calgary airport, you can see the amazing Rockies. What struck me was the amount of flat land you can see. I found flying from Calgary to Saskatoon (and visa versa) put into perspective how vast this provence is, and I only saw a tiny portion of it!
The flight from Saskatoon to Calgary was a brilliant experience! One of the air hostesses, known as 'smiley', had a great sense of humour and she sang announcements to us!! - Excellent!
Everybody had a smile on their face.
On the aircraft, there are screens on the back of every seat showing advertisements for WestJet and a map of where the flight is going to, along with where abouts over Canada you are.
You can pay to watch TV shows/sport/films and purchase earphones.
On our 57 minute flight, we were offered complimentary tea, coffee or water.
Calgary airport (YYC) is on two floors: departures on the top and arrivals below.
For an international airport, I think it's quite small (I'm comparing to Manchester, England my local airport).
Check-in desks are easily accessible and clearly marked.
There is a shopping/eating area before you go through security where you can have a meal, buy a drink, browse souvenir shops and purchase snacks to take with you on your flight if you wish.
Once through security, there are a selection of shops and eateries inbetween the boarding gates. You have the option of buying soft toys, sunglasses, Native artifacts, official Calgary Flame merchandise, candy (sweets), popcorn, Canada souvenirs, clothes, magazines and newspapers aswell as drinks. There is even an iStore that is basically a vending machine! (Wonders never cease!!).
The food area offers a Subway (sandwiches), A&W (burgers), Sbarro (Italian) and Manchu Wok (Chinese), along with Tim Hortons and Starbucks for hot drinks.
There is a Sports Bar with 5 large screens showing different sports and they serve alcohol here.
Amongst the seating areas at each boarding gate, there is a small area for children to play.
There are plenty of washrooms and vending machines and water fountains and people trying to get you to sign-up for a credit card!
Sat waiting for my flight, I enjoyed listening to the anouncements! Here's an example:
"Can the Mr. Bloggs family please report to gate 43 immediately. It's time to get on your flight and fly away!"
"Can Mr Bloggs please come to gate 44. Your flight is fully boarded and we wouldn't want to leave you behind! It's a long walk to Toronto!"
"Come on down and meet the crew . . . any question - just ask!"
You also get a great view of the snow-capped Rockies!!
I really was not looking forward to the flight too many hours couped up in a small space.
We left Manchester at 7.55am & arrived in Calgary at 9.55am Hardly seemed any time at all until you add on the time difference.
After all my trepidations I found myself enjoying this comfortable & relaxed flight.
The picture shows the prairies which goes on for many many miles.
Calgary's Light Rail Transit (LRT) sysyem was begun in 1978 and completed in 1986, just in time for the 1988 Olympics. It now extends as far North as Crowfoot Center in NW Calgary and as far south as Bridlewood. It does go through most of Calgary's tourist stops. This includes Stampede Park, Downtown Calgary, Chinook Mall, Fish Creek, the Uof C, SAIT, Jubilee and the Calgary Zoo. It does not however extend to the Calgary International Airport.
I usually take a taxi twice a week, to and from the airport. Two companies distinguish themselves: Associated (403 299-1111) and Checker (403 299-9999). Both companies are computer dispatched, readily accept credit cards with onboard authorization, have their drivers dress in uniforms or suits and drive the requested route without argument. The second tier, the other companies that serve the airport, have been known to argue with my driving directions and sometimes plead for cash payments instead of accepting credit (although they always do accept credit in the end).
There are two taxi waiting areas on the departures levels of Calgary’s airport; one for Air Canada and one for International / West Jet. I’ve never seen much of a line here and seldom have to wait longer than five minutes for a cab. The only exception has been when arriving late at night during Stampede week when all then cabs are make trips to/from bars downtown.
Although most travellers on this forum use the least expensive method of travel to get from point A to point B, I always want to give the other perspective.
When travelling for business, rather than looking for the least expensive fare, I also look at the product. A taxi from the airport to downtown cost $35 CAD, and the sedan we took was $42 CAD. For that small difference, we rode in a comfortable town car versus squishing into a Corolla.
Dov, our driver was very knowledgeable, told us all about Calgary on our 15 minute ride from the airport to downtown, and was a great mini tour operator. He also confirmed the ride home, took our cell numbers to call in case there was traffic issue that would require leaving earlier back to the airport, and offered fresh bottled water and the paper.
All in all, when travelling on business, I highly recommend this method!
For my husband's birthday, we did a road trip to Calgary: a scenic 12-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, via the Coquihalla and TransCanada (#1) highways. The federal and provincial governments have been twinning the TransCanada throughout the BC Interior.
If you plan on taking this same route this summer, here are a few tips:
- There's a LOT of construction between Salmon Arm and Banff, especially in the bits of single lane highway. Be prepared to stop a lot. It will likely extend your travel time by a few hours.
- A bridge is being constructed in Kicking Horse pass. You will likely have to stop for at least 5 minutes while opposing traffic is let through. At the worst of times, the delay can be as long as 45 mins (usually between 3-4pm).
- This same bridge in Kicking Horse Pass is a great speed trap. Watch your speed coming down from the hill, just past the construction site, unless you want a ticket.
- The highways are DEAD on Mondays! If you can afford to take an extra day or two off, wait until the work week before heading back to BC.
Although we traveled mostly by car, on occasion we used
Light rail system which is free within downtown area.
Trains were packed most of the time but seemed to run
on schedule. Train personnel and local travelers very helpful
Well, after using some of the busier airports around the world, and having to spend along time waiting to get through customs, Calgary was a pleasnat experience. it might be different at busier times, but from what ive been told, it never takes more than 30 minutes. me, I was able to get straight to a desk, few questions later and I was through ready to collect my bags!
Really cannot fault Calgary Airport for the service, just BA planes seem to get the longest walk to get to the customs officers!!!!
Very clean, easy to navigate and easy to out of, great system!
If you can avoid it, do not take taxis in this city, unless it is for very short distances. Calgary is HUGE - we may not have that many people, but we take up a lot of space. From downtown to a suburb, you may be set back over $30 CND. Our public transport is reasonable for the inner city, and the C-Train would take you to many places you'd need from the downtown core. Unfortunately C-Train services end soon after midnight, however we do not have the most jumping nightlife, so the likelihood of this being too much of an issue is minimal - unless you are a hardcore party animal.
If you are staying in Calgary and touring surrounding area, such a picturesque Kananaskis Country, Banff, or Jasper, you might as well rent yourself a vehicle. Although tour operators run to these area and the Greyhound service from Calgary is decent, I think you might prefer the flexability of a vehicle. The Rockies are fantastic to just drive around, rather than being stuck in a tourist hotspot.
Within Calgary, I wouldn't bother to try hitchhiking - unless you are outside one of the many clubs later at night and look like a drunk fool, so someone will take pity on you. As for outside of Calgary, I have never tried to hitchhike, so I don't know about success rates. But I would not risk it.
Calgary's light rail transit lines of 201 and 202 offer free travel within the downtown district of 7th. Avenue but if you want to travel further in the city you have to buy a ticket. The rail system operates on a proof of purchase payment system, tickets are available from ticket vending machines and ticket booths around the city. During rush hour trains run every five minutes, off peak times are every ten to fifteen minutes.
Arrivals - International:
After arriving, proceed through Canadian customs and immigration. Present the customs declaration to the agent and then relinquish the form to leave the customs hall with your bags. Yes, you must pickup your luggage, even if you have a continuing or connecting flight. For continuing flights, drop bags on a luggage belt beside the customs hall and then proceed to your gate. Allow half an hour from the time your plane arrives until you leave the customs hall.
Arrivals - Domestic:
Flights arriving from other Canadian cities arrive at "A" gates for Air Canada or "D" gates for West Jet. If you are connecting to another flight in Calgary, simply proceed to the next gate. Only piers A and B are connected behind security. If you change airlines, you will likely have to exit and enter through security again. Allow half an hour for your baggage to show up on a carrousel.
Departures - US:
Flights to the United States pre-clear US customs in Calgary. This means an additional line to negotiate on your way to the plane. Find the US departures area; grab a couple of US customs forms from the tables; find the line for your airline check-in; fill out the customs forms while you wait; get your boarding pass(es); line up for US customs and immigration (stand behind the red lines on the floor until called forward by an agent); answer the agent's questions; proceed forward and relinquish your customs form; place your luggage on a luggage belt (there are belts for different airlines, so ask an attendant if in doubt); proceed to the security screening. In the mornings, when all of the flights seem to take off at the same time, allow at least two hours before your boarding time.
Departures - Domestic and International:
Simply check-in, get your boarding pass(es), dump your bags and clear security. Security has been fairly quick recently, although in the mornings, lines can be quite long. I would allow at least an hour and a half before your boarding time.
To reach Calgary from Victoria, we normally take an afternoon ferry out of Swartz Bay, drive to the interior of BC (see my Kamloops Hotel Tips) and then head on to Calgary the next morning. Remember that Alberta is an hour ahead of BC, so you'll arrive an hour later than expected! Our preferred route is the Trans-Canada Highway, taking you through some very scenic National Parks like Mount Revelstoke National Park and Yoho National Park. If you want to stop in one of the National Parks, you are required to purchase a park pass before stopping.
One of the most interesting things you'll see during the drive right now is the area around Three Mile Gap, where they are building what seems to be a sky-high addition to the highways system. It's almost impossible to imagine how traffic currently going through the bottom of the valley will ever be able to reach those heights... it looks pretty darn scary to me!
It's not that driving around Calgary is complicated; it's just that the street system isn't exactly simple.
First know that, say, 7th Avenue S. and 7th Avenue N. are each on a different shore of the river. Of course it makes sense now that I'm telling you, but it is still surprising to find out when you're used to that kind of limit being a central street, and not water!
There are many one-ways - get a good map, because the one we had didn't indicate all of them so we kept having to find different ways to get from point A to point B! We finally decided to park in a public parking for the day and walk to what we wanted to see.
So as I said, it isn't really all that complicated, you're probably just going to do a lot of driving around in order to make it from point A to point B.
Greyhound buses are an excellent way to get around from place to place. We used them twice on our trip across Canada.
The first time was from Calgary to Banff.
The Greyhound terminal can be easily found on 877 Greyhound Way, South West, heading west passed the Millenium Park.
The terminal sits on the edge of the south bank of the Bow river.