Trip Introduction: A Trip to Canada’s Bread Basket in Killarney, Manitoba via Air Canada Business Class

This post is one chapter on our trip to Killarney Manitoba, Canada. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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Trip Introduction: A Trip to Canada’s Bread Basket in Killarney Manitoba via Air Canada Business Class

We had an overseas trip to Portugal and a trip to New Orleans in the United States of America fully cancelled as a result of the global pandemic’s wave across the world. With several cancelled flights, we had a ton of credits that were sitting around unused with a two year expiry date ticking away on them. Thanks to MrsWT73’s mom having a birthday, a plan was developed in order to travel to meet her at her home town in rural Manitoba. We would end up travelling outbound together, but MrsWT73 would end up staying on for an extra three days to visit with her Aunts’ and Cousins in the neighbouring province of Kenora Ontario. 

For once, thanks to depressed demand, domestic business class fares were reasonable so we fully used up our credits and ticketed ourselves in Business Class. Thanks to a lack of competition, business class fares within Canada are typically almost double what they are in the United States where there are several carriers often competing on the same routes. Since we used credits, the reservation agent was unwilling (or unable) to apply a 15% off promotion code that I had from an earlier flight with a broken video screen. 

Air Canada Promotions:

At the time of our booking, Aeroplan had a Summer Miles Offer on which offered an additional 150% Redeemable Qualifying Miles for flights booked in business class upon registering and purchasing during the qualifying period. The qualifying period was a very thin 9 day window “Book by August 4, 2020 and travel by Sept 30, 2020”. It seemed like a great deal and since we had several hundred dollars, worth of credits just sitting there, it was an ideal opportunity to use up the leftovers. 

“Eligible Scheduled Flights must be the subject of a new booking, created for the first time during the Offer Period, with a new booking reference number. Any booking made prior to the start of the Offer Period that is subsequently changed to include travel dates within the Travel Period will not be considered a new booking that is eligible for the Offer.”

Aeroplan Summer Miles Offer – Summer 2020

As with every promotion, I usually go through the fine print. The above caption seemed to be okay for a newly purchased ticket. Our tickets were re-booked under new ticket numbers but, for some reason despite no relevance or relation in destination, the same booking reference number. Of course, you wouldn’t think this would happen, given that both of our cancelled tickets were international and to entirely different destinations as compared to a domestic one.

Unfortunately, we never got any bonus Aeroplan miles credit for this flight. It seems that Air Canada Aeroplan didn’t want to incentivize travellers to use up their credits, only to book new credits or spend. It’s certainly frustrating for travellers who expect to be part of these promotions to have to read through ambiguous fine print and then later learn they don’t qualify because the airline decides, at their own choosing, to use outstanding credits by issuing an old booking reference number.

Trying to navigate airline schedule changes in today’s pandemic travel environment:

About two weeks later, we had another taste of trying to plan travel during the pandemic. I woke up to an automated email bumping us off our outbound mid-afternoon flight and onto the late night one. It seemed that about 45 days prior to travel Air Canada decided that the demand just wasn’t there in order to operate Vancouver to Winnipeg 3x daily and downgraded it to 2x daily. We had an opportunity to change for free to another flight or take a connection; which would add about 2 hours to the trip. We opted for the non stop later flight. 

We’re sorry but a part of your journey has changed due to Government travel advisory and we have automatically rebooked you on an alternative flight.

Original Flight(s):
AC292 operated by Air Canada
Departing Vancouver, International (YVR) on September 26, 2020 @ 13:10
Arriving in Winnipeg, J A Richardson Intl (YWG) on September 26, 2020 @ 17:49

Revised Itinerary:
AC296 operated by Air Canada
Departing Vancouver, International (YVR) on September 26, 2020 @ 16:55
Arriving in Winnipeg, J A Richardson Intl (YWG) on September 26, 2020 @ 21:34

If there are any other changes to your flights, you’ll receive a separate email from us about getting your travel plans back on track as soon as possible.

About 7 days prior to travel, MrsWT73 got another taste of the Air Canada schedule mockery. Her evening non stop return from Winnipeg to Vancouver was cancelled outright. It seems that Air Canada decided that there wasn’t enough demand at all for a non stop flight Winnipeg to Vancouver on a weekend Saturday night. The only remaining non stop option was a 6 AM departure. While she had an opportunity to route back via Toronto on a Boeing 787 and their Signature Suites, there was also the chance (given that we’d had two changes in less than 30 days) that the nicer widebody would evaporate as well. She ended up routing back on a CRJ and an Airbus through Calgary. 

While any decision to travel for personal (or business) reasons at the moment is a personal one, I was certainly comfortable setting out travelling during this trip. At the time of our trip, the province of British Columbia had 8,641 cases (out of 4 million population) and the province of Manitoba had 1,829 cases (out of hundred thousand population) with some one hundred and thirty thousand cases in Canada. Both of us had no major health conditions nor complications from any surgery and were in the “better” 45 – 55 age bracket – too old to be millennial spreaders and young enough not to be in the hazardous range. 

Our medium haul Canadian flight route

I hope you will enjoy following along on our pandemic edition adventure.

3 Comments on “Trip Introduction: A Trip to Canada’s Bread Basket in Killarney, Manitoba via Air Canada Business Class

  1. Pingback: Trip Introduction: A Trip to Canada’s Bread Basket in Killarney, Manitoba via Air Canada Business Class — World Traveler 73 – Downtown Toronto Rentals

  2. Air travel options have been greatly reduced during the pandemic and I am sure schedule changes are unavoidable these days. Air Canada is struggling as are most airlines. That being said, you are braver than me. It will be a long time before I set foot in an airport again. Too many spreader risks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading kagould17.

      It was a pretty empty experience (as you saw). While I’d be more comfortable on a larger plane, I’d be less comfortable taking a large plane overseas for a longer period of time. The other risk is getting stuck at your destination and having to isolate or perhaps the provincial authorities changing the rules mid trip.

      Hopefully, we are more than halfway through the pandemic and we’ll all be back to travels soon.

      Liked by 1 person

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