Flight Review: Air Canada Express - Seattle to Vancouver

 Our Air Canada Jazz Q400 parked at SEA.

Our Air Canada Jazz Q400 parked at SEA.

Details

Air Canada 8092 & 8099: Seattle (SEA) to Vancouver (YVR) return

Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 Turboprop

Seat 7A and 2A (coach)

September 4th

Depart 12p (actual 12:13p)

Arrival 12:54p (actual 1:23p)

September 8th

Depart 5:40p (actual 5:40p)

Arrival 6:35p (actual 6:20p)

Booking

As I briefly mentioned in the trip report introduction, I "nestled" a round-trip Air Canada Jazz flight from Seattle to Vancouver in between my Delta and Alaska flights from and returning to Nashville. At first I was planning on taking the four hour (and reportedly very scenic) Amtrak ride between Seattle and Vancouver. However, the train only has one departure a day in both directions and the timing just did not work for the trip, so, taking the short 30 minute flight was the best option. Round-trip flights were hovering around $100 so I paid cash for the flight with the AMEX Platinum to earn 5x points (current sign up bonus is 60,000 points). I credited the flight the United and earned a few hundred miles for the short hop.

An important note is that if you nestle a flight, or schedule an onward flight on a different carrier (sometimes we book a Southwest flight to position us to get to a hub where there is award space), if something goes wrong in terms of a cancellation, delay, etc., you are on your own. In addition, you must get your bag (ideally, do not check a bag) as it will not transfer between the airlines. On the way to Vancouver, I scheduled around a 2 1/2 hour layover in Seattle, which is about as close as I would cut it. On the return, I flew into Seattle the night before, stayed at the Airport Hilton, and departed for Nashville on an early flight. Using this method can sometimes save money, time, points, and miles, but it is important to understand the risks and schedule appropriately.

Flights

Due to the fact the short flights were operated on by the same carrier, on the same route with an identical plane, I lumped the two together into one quick flight review. Departing from a gate seemingly in a different zip code than the rest of the airport, I made my way to the gate a few minutes before departure for the short 30 minute flight to Vancouver. The routes are operated by a Q400 in a 2-2 seating configuration and generally provide with spectacular views due to the scenery in the area and the low altitude of the flight. I was forced to gate check my bag that was sent to baggage claim in Vancouver rather than being collected plane-side. I boarded the Q400, grabbed my seat and then waited a long time. We left the "gate" only a few minutes behind schedule but did not become airborne for almost another hour. That's right, we say on the tarmac almost twice as long as the actual flight.

Despite the quick flight, the flight attendant offered water or juice. Unfortunately, due to some extreme wild fires in the area, the views were mostly smoke and haze the entire way. Really a shame because it really looked spectacular cutting up the coast to Vancouver. We landed without issue and I was on my way.

On the return flight, we had the same service and a similar flight time of around 27 minutes. Once again, we lost out on the views because of the think cloud cover and storms in the area. It also made for quick a turbulent ascent out of Vancouver and descent into Seattle. We landed safely a few minutes early and the "nestled" flight was a success!

Bottom Line

Flying with Air Canada Jazz (their regional flight brand) is certainly not luxurious, but provides a quick and convenient option for short hops. I was impressed they offered a beverage on the short flight as most US airlines do not offer any service on flights under 45 minutes. For the price and convenience, it's a great way to get between the two Pacific Northwest cities.

-A