Tuesday's little outing to YEG (via MIA and RSW)

Discussion in 'Air Canada | Aeroplan' started by Canadi>n, Aug 25, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Inspired by MargaritaGirl's studious researching of fares -- all legit, published and available on the AC website -- I decided to take one of these on. Having to be in Edmonton this week (on shorter than normal notice), I checked out YYZ-YEG fares for earlier this week and found even Tango fares in the $400 range about two week's ago. I then recalled MG's recent flight to YEG, via MCO. Checking AC.com I found MIA-YYZ-YEG was a bit over $140 a/i, and because it is a transborder fare, was all in T+. A one-way between YYZ-MIA was about $160 a/i (lots of US fees/taxes), T+ of course. So by booking my outbound flight in this fashion, I would not only save $100, my flights would qualify for SMs (and of course yield me 3x what a YYZ-YEG flight would). And since the MIA-YYZ return flight (on the same day) would be the same plane that I would be on inbound, no problems about missing the return if the YYZ-MIA was late.

    (For my return, I would use a business class award ticket since I must be back in Edmonton in mid-November, so booked YEG-YYZ-YEG for 50K, unfortunately 10K higher had I known about this trip before the AE rates went up in mid-July. But paying that much irked me, so I decided to tack on a side trip to Europe for a long weekend just ahead of my November Edmonton trip, bringing my award ticket to 90K...another 40K for a set of business class TATL flights wasn't too shabby. I could make one stopover on the way over, so my 2-1/2 months in Toronto would be valid. On the way back, I had a legit 23h59m connection giving me a day back home before continuing on to YEG. My TATL and European flights were on CO and LH so no fuel surcharge other than for the domestic AC segments.) So a nice couple of days in Dusseldorf (altbier time!) and Cologne await me in early November.

    Obviously such a set of flights would be arduous and while I had lots of reading to catch up on, my expectations were also to use eCredits to upgrade all the segments into J. So a few days after booking, my SE upgrade window opened up and I applied to upgrade all my flights at the summer discount rates. Waitlist on two of the flights, I was cleared within 24-hours and seated in J all the way.

    So on Tuesday morning I left the Sheraton Gateway (decided to stay at the airport as I got a 20th anniversary rate of $91, and added another stay credit towards SPG Plat) at 7a to hop the train to T1. I was unable to print out my boarding pass during OLCI for some reason, which would become clear when I checked in. I was told by the agent at the SE check-in that my flight was delayed an hour due to the inbound aircraft being held up at ORD. She handed me my boarding pass and I saw that I had received the dreaded SSSS and wondered if the day could get any worse? However, had no problem at the NEXUS kiosk and despite the notation, I was not sent to secondary. Apparently this time the SSSS meant I would get the body scanner at security. I was not checking my 21" suitcase, so this too was minutely inspected!

    Cleared, it was off to the MLL (since I would get a nice breakfast on the flight, I did not eat in the Amex lounge, my usual early morning pre-flight stop).

    Headed down to the gate where there was no airplane to be seen about the proscribed/revised boarding time but within 10-minutes an E190 pulled up and shortly thereafter people started streaming out. We boarded and pulled out 90-minutes behind schedule, but that still didn't kill my connection back at YYZ for my YEG flight later in the afternoon. However, after beginning descent into MIA we started doing those long circular loops and the pilot came on to explain MIA was now closed due to thunderstorms. We would have to keep circling until it reopened in about a half hour. But given other uncertainties, the pilot told us he had decided to fly to RSW (Fort Myers) to land, refuel and wait until MIA reopened. Our new ETA was going to be 4p if all went according to plan.

    On the ground at RSW we could not deplane, in part because the pilot wanted to be able to take off quickly, but also because US Customs there would not accept our pre clearance status ex-YYZ. In any case, my YYZ connection was now in jeopardy, so I called the SE line to confirm a later flight at 8:55p. If we departed for YYZ by 5p, we would make it by 8p and thus give me enough time to get through NEXUS and over to the domestic wing. But waiting for us at the gate in MIA was an FCC inspector who insisted he would still go over our plane before permitting the cleaning staff on, and us to board! Chalk up another hour's delay... (Of course those folks at MIA had been waiting since 11a and there's no lounge in that terminal wing to use.) At that point I called the SE line once more and put myself on the last flight to YEG at 10:55p. Fortunately on all these new flights I was able to confirm my R/J seat.

    We departed MIA at 6p. Same crew back to YYZ so my antics were exposed! They still must think I'm crazy or an eccentric millionaire.

    As it turned out, breezed through customs and security at YYZ (doesn't NEXUS get curious why you log out of the country at 7:30a and return 13-hours later?) so had over an hour in the MLL before heading down to the gate for my YYZ-YEG flight. We boarded but were delayed about 15-minutes as late connections and their bags were loaded, finally taking off to YEG at 11:15p! My next tight connection was catching the final airport shuttle bus at YEG that was to depart at 1:30a. Deplaned at 1:20a and found an out of commission escalator, so carried my bags down the steps and into the arrivals area just in time to catch the shuttle down town.

    My long day finally ended in my room at the Crowne Plaza Chateau Lacombe at 2:30a when I was able to tuck into bed, a nice 5K Point Break rate (versus the normal 25K). It was a good thing I told my friends here with whom I would be staying for the balance of the week not to meet me at the airport (even with my original arrival time of 11:30p) but rather wait until yesterday afternoon to collect me.

    So went my Tuesday Magical Mystery Tour...tonight, a ballgame watching the Capitals! Sunny, mild, no sign of rain...
     
  2. igloocoder
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    igloocoder Silver Member

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    That escalator has been out of commission of close to 2 months now. Every Friday night when I get in it looks like nothing has been touched for another week.
     
  3. tcook052
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    tcook052 Silver Member

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    Only if you'd have showed them your UK airport magazines. :D

    In Nov. give the local YEG MPers some notice and we can scare up a few bodies to toast your travel acumen.
     
  4. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Or mtacchi's photos of CX pilots and FAs at "work"...!

    Figured you guys would still be recouping from MG's visit earlier this month. But November 10th would work best as a YEGDo since I'll be at the symphony on the 11th, the purpose of my visit, and get in too late on the 9th.

    BTW Capitals decimated the Vipers last night.
     
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  5. The Lev
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    The Lev Silver Member

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    Lots of people go on single day business trips to the US, so this would not be out of the ordinary.

    Seems like a lot of work to save $100, but I guess the status miles (and fun story) make it all worthwhile. :)
     
  6. tcook052
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    tcook052 Silver Member

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    I'll make a note to start a thread in a bit for 10th November here and on FT and heck maybe even CF. :)
     
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  7. Canadi>n
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    Canadi>n Gold Member

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    Counting down to my return to YEG. Anyone have a location in mind?
     
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  8. tcook052
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    tcook052 Silver Member

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    I'm working on it, SH. PE says the Jasper Ave. Famoso Neapolitan is small for a table of 8-10 so will make some calls tomorrow, after Halowe'en madness.
     

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