Airports, Airlines, Aviation

Calgary Airport Review (YYC)

Melinda GrossHere’s Melinda’s review on the Calgary International Airport (YYC). Melinda is a self-described epitome of the reality side of ‘expectation vs reality’ in business travel. You’ll find her taking steerage class cabins to exotic locales like Elliot Lake, ON and Elko, NV, chasing her company’s aerial survey aircraft! You can check out more about Melinda on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @melindadgross. She’ll have a follow-on blog next week on her flight experiences and her visit to Houston International Airport (IAH), so stay tuned!


Calgary Airport

Today I started out in Calgary Airport in Alberta, Canada (CYYC), or “YYC” as it goes by. The airport staff maintains a good communications team, having an active and informative Twitter account (@FlyYYC) that alerts travelers to local weather delays, possible parking issues and current construction delays. Even under its current massive upgrade (a whole new international terminal, slated to open fall 2016) YYC is easy to access, with clear signs directing you where you need to go well in advance. Once inside, the departures concourse is wide and airy, being open to the next floor (insider #layovertip: if you have to get from one end of the Calgary Airport departures terminal to the other in a hurry during peak times, take an elevator to the third floor and run across the almost-always empty balcony).

Calgary Airport Departures
Calgary Airport Departures

Check in was quick this day as I had arrived really early (travelling with a co-worker who has visa paperwork to process at Customs), but often the queues back up as travellers are left to fumble at the limited number self-service kiosks (granted only so many can fit when everyone is carting luggage in between them). I was pleased to find the kiosk told me which desk to pick up my checked bag tag at – usually I’m left standing hoping one of the agents will call my name, or gambling on which one to queue at. I’m not going to lie, I cheat and breeze through U.S. Customs preclearance and the security checkpoint with a Nexus (the Canadian version of the Global Entry program) however I observed the lines at both moving smoothly. And let’s be honest, security can only go as fast as people have their shoes off and liquids and gels out of their bags.

After security, the U.S. gates at the Calgary Airport divide in two; to the right, primarily WestJet and American Airlines; to the left, AirCanada and United and their code-shares. (Thankfully, I know there is a Tim Horton’s on each side.) Exploring the United/Air Canada side today, I had my choice of both Starbucks and Tim’s for coffee, Burger King for lunch, or a sleek bar serving Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs – albeit NOT in carry-on friendly containers. Plan to to eat your messy Coney Island dog sitting down. There’s also a couple of the oft-seen magazine and snack stands to grab your last minute ‘I want that!’s from.

At the gate, there’s selection of the usual banks of seats, as well as cushier armchairs primed to people watch in the halls, or gaze out the window at the apron. Announcements come through clear at the Calgary Airport, and there’s a smattering of USB and 120V charging stations, and best of all, FREE WI-FI!

Stay tuned for the next installment of my flight adventure, along with some airline reviews, next week!

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