Hello and welcome to another series of flight reports! This series will cover a trip I took this summer to Banff and Jasper National Parks in Alberta.
Washington, DC to Seattle, WA (IAD - SEA) | Alaska | 737-900ER [REPORT HERE] Seattle, WA to Calgary, AB (SEA - YYC) | Horizon | E175 Seattle, WA to Edmonton, AB (SEA - YEG) | Horizon | Q400 [THIS REPORT] Calgary, AB to Denver, CO (YYC - DEN) | United | A320 [REPORT HERE] Denver, CO to Washington, DC (DEN - IAD) | United | 737-900ER [REPORT HERE]
My flight from IAD arrived on time at gate C15, about 30 minutes prior to boarding for Edmonton was due to begin. I used that limited time to grab a meal from the Wolfgang Puck Express near the Horizon gates. While waiting for my order to be prepared (which took quite a long time, nearly 25 minutes), I noticed a 757 being towed past the terminal windows. Much to my surprise, the 757 was Hekla Aurora liveried plane from Icelandair, which I had seen in Minneapolis last year.
After quickly eating my meal, I made my way to gate C10E to board.
With my passport checked, boarding pass scanned, and Canadian arrival form in hand, I headed outside onto the large walkway heading down to the ramp.
Once at ramp level, I noticed that our Dash-8 wasn't in the standard livery …
… our flight up to Edmonton this evening would be operated by N403QX, which wears the colors of Montana State University.
I left my carry on on the bag cart near the ramp, then headed onboard. It's been a few years since I last flew on the Q400 flavor of Dash-8 (I've flown on its older siblings, the -100 (retro-livery report here) and -200 versions plenty of times), and remember it being slightly more roomy than a typical CRJ or older Dash-8 cabin. However, for whatever reason, when I reached my seat in row 4, I was surprised at how small it appeared – It basically looked identical to a CRJ-200 seat. Since I was quite tired and likely would not have a better chance, I went ahead and completed my Canadian arrival form before the boarding door was closed – it was quite difficult with the tight seating.
A quick look out the window.
The outside pane of the window was covered in condensation, so I didn't even try taking any pictures while on the ground. We left the stand right at scheduled time, and made our way to runway 16L for departure. A short takeoff run then commenced, with a left turn back to the northeast.
Shortly after depature, I was treated to a great view of Mount Rainier and the Cascade range, as well as a nearly-full moon.
The inflight service started about 15 minutes after departure. Long before this flight, I had read about how Horizon's service included complementary alcohol, so I had an inkling of what to expect. However, I was quite surprised when the flight attendants announced which beer was on special on this flight: 12th of Never from Lagunitas Brewing. Lagunitas is a favorite brewer of mine, so I was quite excited to try a new-to-me beer from them.
The beer was quite good, especially after a long evening of flying across the continent. I also really enjoyed the non-traditional airline snack of Cheez-Its.
Because Edmonton is so far north, and because this flight took place just after the summer solstice, most of the late-night flight across the Rocky Mountains was well lit. The other side of the plane received a stunning sunset horizon for the majority of the flight.
After a relatively long cruise, we started descent into the Edmonton area.
There was quite a lot of thunderstorm activity during our descent, unfortunately much beyond my phone-photography skills. We landed on runway 02 just after midnight, after exactly 90 minutes of flight time.
We then had quite a long taxi around to stand 86, at the far end of the terminal. We arrived next to an A319 which had arrived earlier from Denver.
Deplaning was pretty quick because I was in row four. However, because it was a Friday night, there was a trainee operating the jet bridge, and it took a few minutes to get it attached to the aircraft.
After retrieving my carry on bag inside the jetway, it was quite a long walk down a sterile corridor to immigration and customs – there was a very short line, however, once I got there. I was quickly through to meet my friend, who is a part of the Nexus program, who made it through even faster than I had.
A few pictures of Jasper and Banff National Parks coming in the next report!
Seattle - SEA
Edmonton - YEG
Once in flight, Horizon is quite good. Since they operate mainly shorter routes with the Dash-8, the tight seating is less of an issue -- the free alcohol is a huge plus. However, I can't overlook the fact that I was originally supposed to arrive into Calgary -- that flight was cancelled due to a schedule/pilot issue with which Horizon is currently plagued. It would have been better had that flight not been cancelled. However, Horizon was quite good on this 90-minute flight up to Alberta.
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