Canada’s national airline, Air Canada (888/247-2262, www.aircanada.com) is one of the world’s largest airlines. It offers direct flights to Calgary from all major Canadian cities, as well as from Los Angeles; San Francisco; Las Vegas; Denver; Phoenix; Houston; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Dallas/Fort Worth; New York; and Orlando. Direct flights to Edmonton originate in all major Canadian cities west of Montreal, while flights from the U.S. cities noted above are routed through Calgary.
From Europe, Air Canada flies directly from London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt to Calgary, and from other major European cities via Toronto. From the South Pacific, Air Canada operates flights directly to Vancouver from Sydney and in alliance with Air New Zealand from Auckland and other South Pacific islands to Vancouver and Los Angeles, where passengers change to planes for the flight to Calgary. Asian cities served by direct Air Canada flights to Vancouver include Beijing, Nagoya, Osaka, Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei, and Tokyo. Air Canada’s flights originating in the South American cities of Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Lima, and Bogotá are routed through Toronto, where you’ll need to change planes for either Calgary or Edmonton.
Similar in concept to Southwest Airlines in the United States, WestJet (604/606-5525 or 800/538-5696, www.westjet.com) has daily flights to its Calgary hub, as well as to Edmonton from the following Canadian cities: Victoria, Vancouver, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Halifax, and as far east as St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Air Canada offers flights into Alberta from the United States, but either Calgary or Edmonton or both of the cities are also served by the following U.S. carriers: Alaska Airlines (800/252-7522, www.alaskaair.com) from Anchorage and Los Angeles; American Airlines (800/433-7300, www.aa.com) from Chicago and Dallas; Continental Airlines (800/231-0856, www.continental.com) from its Houston hub and New York (Newark); Delta (800/221-1212, www.delta.com), with summer-only flights from Atlanta and Salt Lake City; Frontier Airlines (800/432-1359, www.frontierairlines.com) from Denver; Harmony Airways (866/868-6789, www.harmonyairways.com) from Honolulu, Kauai, and Los Angeles; Horizon Air (800/547-9308, www.horizonair.com) from Seattle; Northwest Airlines (800/225-2525, www.nwa.com) from Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, and Minneapolis; and finally United Airlines (800/241-6522, www.united.com) from Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Aside from the direct London and Frankfurt flights, Air Canada flights between continental Europe and Calgary are routed through Toronto. For all flights from the South Pacific, connections must be made in Los Angeles or Vancouver to either Calgary or Edmonton. Use your travel agent or the websites given in this section to find the best fares and connections. Qantas (800/227-4500, www.qantas.com.au) flies to Vancouver from Sydney, while flights originating in Melbourne and Brisbane are routed through Los Angeles. Air New Zealand (800/663-5494, www.nzair.com) operates in alliance with Air Canada for flights to Calgary, with a variety of interesting options, including stops in South Pacific destinations like Nandi (Fiji).
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition