Tag Archives: Edmonton

A Snowy Friday Morning in Alberta

I still haven’t got around to doing my pictures, but Beth has uploaded a couple of short clips she filmed whilst we were driving from Jasper back to the airport in Edmonton on Friday morning. In Jasper itself there was only a dusting of snow on the cars and rooftops – this was what greeted us a few minutes outside town on Highway 16 – the main road back to Edmonton. The conditions continued like this to Hinton, about 75km further down the road, and then the snow gradually got less until there was no snow at all when we reached Edson the next big town along the road.

Just to give you an idea of the visibility, there is a car ahead of us in both clips. Unlike us they were doing the same journey in a regular car, and turned off once we got to Hinton.

How Complicated Can It Be?

When I got the schedule change e-mail yesterday it didn’t seem like too much of a problem.

Options seemed to be to go for a different routing on the flights and come home on the original day, or alternatively just take the extra day. So I went home and talked to Beth, and with the options of a reroute via Calgary or Toronto, both of which would add to the cost of the trip without much benefit – we decided that the extra day would be nice, the only problem was that the car hire booking, that we did as part of the deal with the travel agents for the flights, had us returning the car on our original return day, so needed to be extended.

I phoned up Opodo, got through pretty much immediately, and the agent on the other end tried to change the reservation. Unfortunately the system wouldn’t let her make the change. Her suggestion was to try Hertz directly.

Calling Hertz I got bounced between three people, the last of whom explained that they couldn’t make the changes to the reservation as it had not been paid for on my credit card – the payment had come through from an Opodo account, so only they could authorise the payment.

Okay – back on the phone to Opodo, and we went through the whole can’t make changes to the booking routine again. Eventually their only suggestion was to make the change when we arrive in Edmonton.

Thinking about it, probably the best thing, as it seems to be so complicated to extend the booking would just be to head back up to Edmonton on the Thursday and be done with it – drop the car off and then stay in a hotel near to the airport and take in a few of the sights in Edmonton on the Friday. Aside from the West Edmonton Mall (which was sort of where Beth and I went on our first date) I’ve not seen much of the city…

Schedule Change

Booking flights you do get used to schedule changes coming through, especially if you book a long way ahead, but usually it’s a shift of a few hours in the time of departure or arrival. I’ve just had one for our upcoming Canadian trip where Air Canada have shifted our flight by an entire day – apparently they’re not keen on flying from Edmonton to London on a Thursday any more… Will have to investigate, but we’ll either have to extend the car rental, or opt for a different routing on the way home.

You Think It’s Cold?

So with the weather forecasters predicting an ‘arctic blast’ coming our way in time for the weekend, and ‘sub-zero temperatures’, I thought I’d just post this picture of the weather that our cousins across the pond in Alberta are experiencing.

Note, that the title of this picture, taken in Edmonton yesterday is “It’s Warmer Today” – the temperature on the display is -26. Calgary has been getting a similar selection of temperatures too.

It’s Warmer Today! originally uploaded by one42chrisp

Flying

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First off, a bit of good news to all of our friends who have got one of my moans over about the past week about the complications of trying to book our next trip to Canada – you’ll be pleased to hear that we’ve now actually booked a trip, so no more moans – well at least not about this! 😀

The problem has been trying to find a reasonably priced flight that fitted in with when we wanted to go. Now there are two competing airlines flying the London to Calgary route I foolishly assumed that it might make the fares more competitive – no such luck, Air Canada were doing their usual mickey take on prices, and the new competition, British Airways were coming back with fares of over £2000 return for both of us to go over on the dates we wanted. I then moved onto Canadian Affair, who are usually pretty good, but they are still running their winter schedule when we were looking, and the only options they had were some seats on a Monarch flight, which whilst it is cheap is a 29“ seat pitch which whilst it is fine for Beth would be torture for me, or a couple of their once a week Air Transat flights that would have significantly cut the length of the trip.

Anyway, the breakthrough came when I tried looking up flights into Edmonton rather than Calgary. In the past it’s not really ever been an option – certainly the only times I’ve flown into Edmonton it has involved a plane change at Calgary, and a trip on the little turbo-prop service that shuttles backwards and forwards between the two cities. However now, alongside the twice daily service to Calgary, Air Canada have added a daily service into Edmonton – and significantly at a rather cheaper cost than the equivalent trip into Calgary.

At this point the vagaries of how airlines actually work out their flight costs really starts to get confusing. Looking at the seating plans for the Edmonton flights, they don’t look any less full than those into Calgary – the journey to Edmonton is marginally shorter granted, but in the grand scheme of things not by much, but the cost of the tickets we were being offered was noticeably less than what was being offered into Calgary. Actually if you really want to confuse yourself, try coming up with a reason why it’s cheaper to fly to Toronto and then on to Calgary than take the direct flight – longer flying time, more fuel used, but still cheaper.

Having got some idea of the costs I then tried to put together the best deal – and discovered that since their take-over by Air Transat, Canadian Affair are really not keen on booking flights with Air Canada – and that was after we’d been through the usual routine over my insisting that we needed to book the car rental with Hertz. (For the reasons why, check out this post about car rental companies and their definitions of â€?off-road driving“.) Thankfully I’ve now discovered that Opodo, unlike Expedia and Travelocity do have a deal with Hertz so I can build a reasonable package with them without too much trouble.

The one final oddity when we were booking on Opodo was down to the BMI codeshare on the flight – as usual the same physical flight was listed twice at different prices – however even more odd, the BMI version of the flight had only four seats left, whilst the Air Canada version had availability marked as â€?good“ – indeed if you look at the flight using the Air Canada reservation system online the flight is only about half full. I’m guessing that there are only a limited number of codeshare seats available – although as it’s all going through the same booking system I can’t imagine it’s too difficult to allow any of the seats on the plane to be sold through any of the codeshare partners.

Anyway all of that aside, after a bit of comparing, we’ve eventually opted to fly in and out of Edmonton on Air Canada for this trip. Even including the cost of the car rental and a hotel for the first night we are there it still worked out cheaper than flying into Calgary!