Trip Report: YYC-DEN-SEA-YYJ Rite Bros. Private Charter and United First

It’s nice having the rocky mountains a 30 minute drive away from home when you want to get your ski fix. But like any Canadian we tend to dream about summer far too often and during one of my daydreams I made the decision to buy another boat and make the most of our limited summer.

Now if you have ever bought a boat you know it stands for “Bring On Another Thousand.” Not only is this true but the best day in your life is the day you buy a boat and the day you finally sell your boat. Even though I’ve dished out numerous $1000+ bills from servicing my boat, I still decided to proceed in this expensive passion.

Since I live in Calgary, there isn’t an abundance of lakes close by so the used boat market is limited and overpriced. My boat search usually ends south of the border since they have more supply. After a few days of browsing craigslist, I found my new toy and she was in Port Angeles, Washington.

Since I had a few days off, I made arrangements with the seller to see the boat the following day. Once again I found myself searching for a last minute airfare. The best option was to fly into Victoria and take the ferry over but our national carriers were charging a handsome sum for this privilege. After some time on itasoftware I found a flight in First Class for a similar total and booked it. Flying through Denver to get to Seattle isn’t the most direct route but at least I accumulate miles to my frequent flyer account and get the first class bonus.

Check-in at YYC was smooth and customs was a good 30 minute wait (I’m getting NEXUS soon).

Last minute web surfing before boarding the flight

United Airlines #1122
Departure 8:17am
March 24th
Seat 1D

YYC-DEN

I was seated in 1D for this flight and the seat next to me remained open. Every other seat in First was taken and the load was about 90% in economy.

Required Legroom Shot

Westjet Boeing 737 bound for the USA also

Deicing our Airbus

Frosty outside

Breakfast was served about 30 minutes after departure. I ate the fruit and pecked at the rest. When I first laid eyes on this meal all I could see and smell was grease. I’m not sure it’s possible to put anything more disgusting in one’s mouth than this sausage. I’m Polish so I feel I’m qualified to state this considering I’ve probably ate over 1,500 sausages while I grew up.

It was too early for a Heineken 😉

United #339
March 24th
DEN-SEA
Seat 4A

My connection wasn’t tight so I spent some time people and plane spotting. Meanwhile I also got a call from my stock broker and time just flew since I managed to be one of the last to arrive at the gate. As I scanned my boarding pass just before getting on the jet way it got flagged. Right away the agent gave me a new boarding pass with a new seat 5A instead of my reassigned 1D. I didn’t find out why but my original seat stayed open during this flight and for another short hop I really didn’t care.

Since I was a little late I wasn’t offered any pre departure beverage or coat service but that’s understandable. Soon enough I was up in the air and looking forward to seeing the ocean and picking up my new toy.

Rocky Mountains over Colorado

The gentleman sitting beside me kept flashing his Rolex Submariner. It’s a very luxurious watch so I did compliment him on it though I did notice it was a service award since it had a Fortune 500 company logo on the face. Perhaps this was because as I took my seat initially I was still talking with my stock specialist and placed a few buys. I’m sure a few people thought I was that guy who you see too often blabbing very loud about his billion dollar deals.

Legroom on the Boeing 757

As meal orders were being taken I could hear almost everyone opted for the Salmon Salad so when the FA reached me I asked for the turkey sandwich. Perhaps everyone knew something I didn’t but I did take one bite of this sandwich and I don’t even think I finished it. The bun was stale and dry with two slices of turkey, unrecognizable pesto sauce, extra mayo and tasted like it was toasted at 150 degrees for 3 hours. If you want to try it for yourself that’s the best way to replicate this sandwich.

Lunch on SEA-DEN leg

Inflight Entertainment

I don’t recall what movie was being shown on the small TVs but I do remember noticing 90% of the cabin watching it which surprised me. Also there wasn’t a single female passenger in this cabin today which is a first considering the cabin was full besides my original seat 1C.

Boeing 757 Cabin

Since I used to live in Seattle I met up with a friend for lunch at the Metropolitan grill which is a great spot in case you find yourself here in the future. After a nice meal I continued north to Edmonds to embark on a 6 mile ferry ride to cross the Puget Sound. The drive up to Port Angeles was beautiful and after inspecting the boat I agreed to pick it up the following day since it was already around 4pm and I had no tow vehicle yet.

Stadiums for Mariners and Seahawks

I wasn’t really looking forward to a night in a motel in Port Angeles I decided to call a local charter flight company to see if I had any options to fly across to Victoria. I use to live in Victoria and still have a lot of friends there. Rite Bros was willing to help me out for $250 so I accepted gladly and headed to the Port Angeles airport.

Customs needs 2 hours notice before you cross any country lines so I arrived exactly 2 hours after I gave my passport info and booked the flight. I paid my fare with a credit card so at least I got a few points from this flight.

Rite Bros. Cessna 172
March 24th
Port Angeles – YYJ
Co Pilot Seat

Final flight of the day on this Cessna 172

My pilot informed me he just returned from Whistler and to expect a bit of turbulence. He also let me know not to talk during the takeoff and landing since this is a law. After a quick taxi we were up in the air for this short 10 minute flight back to Canada.

Lift off to 3,000 feet cruising altitude

I've flown one of these planes before in real life and many times on Flight Simulator

Unoffical co-pilot

About halfway through the flight the turbulence really hit. I tightened my seat belt and held the flap so it wouldn’t release at all. I had never really experienced turbulence this bad before and since the plane is so small and you can see it all, the huge changes in altitude are amplified. I actually got scared as we were flying over Victoria Harbour and was relieved when we touched down safely.

Pacific Ocean

Vancouver Island Approaching

Bear Mountain

Approach

Since I had never crossed a border on a charter flight I wasn’t expecting to be dropped off at an area far from the airport terminal. Once we stopped the pilot called customs and they told him I’m free to go on my way. I exited the Cessna 172 aircraft, the gate opened for me and I was back on Canadian soil without even having to speak to a customs officer.

Drop off point

I met up with a few friends and we enjoyed ourselves at a few pubs in downtown Victoria. The next morning I rented a truck with a hitch (US rental companies don’t offer this at the Seattle airport) and took the ferry over to Port Angeles to pick up the boat. The crossing was quite rough and the ship “MV Coho” isn’t anything to write home about either. The décor is straight out of the 70s and the cafeteria has very limited choices.

I picked up my new toy, headed back on the ferry to Victoria and put the boat in storage. Once the highways between Calgary and Victoria cleared up I drove out to pickup the toy.

Mission accomplished!

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About behindthecockpit

My passions are travel, food, golf and frequent flyer points which help my dreams turn into reality.
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