A Travellerspoint blog

Getaway Day: North to Alaska with Vancouver in between

Travel is such fun

73 °F
View Silver Seas Cruise on paulej4's travel map.

Delta flight 3604 to Salt Lake City departs Kansas City International Airport at 6:00 and arrives in Utah at 7:35 having gained an hour from Central Daylight time to Mountain Daylight Time. It was overbooked by one and a lady quickly took the first offer of $500, one night's lodging and dinner plus a promise to get out tomorrow morning. Had she held out, someone else might have taken it. But, had nobody stepped up that $500 offer would have grown and grown. Life's a gamble.

We have checked two gargantuan bags. I never check a bag but for this journey that is simply not an option. For Alaska, we have down jackets and hats and neck gators and even lightweight gloves to be ready for chilly temperatures on shore excursions. For Silversea we have suits and ties and dresses. The Silver Shadow will have one formal night, two semi-formal nights and four casual nights. I love dressing up but I don't much care for packing all that is required to bring that to fruition.

Flight 3604 is a "Delta Connection" flight operated by 2,000-employee Compass Airlines which flies feeders for American and Delta. Compass is hiring pilots right now and advertises about pilot careers on its web site this way: "We know that you have big goals. At Compass Airlines, you’ll get the training and experience you need to achieve them. Our pilots were hired by some of the most respected airlines in the country. Pilots spend an average of just under three years at Compass before moving on to a major carrier.​​​" This is the first employer I've ever seen whose pitch to prospective employees is: "You won't have to work for us very long." To sum up, I have a lot more experience flying than does anybody who works here.

The aircraft is a 76-seat, 20-row, Embraer ERJ-175 with a non-functioning galley and a non-functioning lavatory sink. large_IMG_6121.jpgI've never seen this before; at least they have sani-wipes and they were kind enough to say "please." The flight attendant, Penny, is taking it all in stride and is quite delightful. I have a pair of vodka tonics and a cold lunch thingy that was left over. B4 is deep into her book. We arrive right on time.

At SLC, we connect at 8:30 to Delta Connection Flight 5834--there are three open seats on this one--headed for a 9:54pm arrival at Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, gaining one more hour to Pacific Daylight Time. Same aircraft type, same inexperienced flight crew; just different faces; our FA is Joyce. The forward lavatory on this aircraft is off limits (only to passengers; I saw the Captain use it) because the smoke detector isn't working. In other words, we are on a pair of Compass Airlines flight neither of which is catered properly and neither of which has a fully functioning front lavatory. We're in first class and I am absolutely certain that Delta will contact us with a substantial refund of a part of the fare we paid as a way of making up for not giving us what we paid for. Or not.

The front cabin where we are situated is five rows with one seat on the left side and a pair of seats on the right side. In the remainder of the aircraft, it is two seats on the left and two on the right. On both flights, a part of the safety announcement includes the warning that "Passengers are not permitted to consume their own alcohol while on board."

The gate agent warns us that there was "a catering problem" on this second flight but "please don't take it out on your flight attendants." He suggests that we go to Delta.com to complain.

At Vancouver, using the CanBorder eDeclaration app that we downloaded onto our iPhones, we have completed our customs declaration in advance and been given QR codes which we can scan at a primary inspection kiosk before appearing before a CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) officer. It is supposed to save time.

Doing my research prior to the trip, I learned that once through customs and immigration and retrieving our checked baggage, we, of course, would be off to the Four Seasons Vancouver Hotel. It lies in the heart of Vancouver's financial and business district and is a twenty-five minute, fourteen-stop Canada Line Skytrain ride from Vancouver International Airport's Link Building to Vancouver City Center. It's a "Two Zone Fare" for the train: $4.20 Canadian per person which is the equivalent right now of $3.19 U.S. There is a bus called the Whistler-Skylynx (47 minutes with stops) which is $7.00 Canadian per person. You can take a taxi for $40.00 Canadian plus tip. Of course, there are Uber and Lyft as well. For each of those options, you must wrangle your luggage and know where you're going to find your car or bus or train.

On the web, I learn that you can pre-book online with a site called Blacklane and they will pick you up in a "Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac STS or similar" for $100.02 U.S., tip included. But, when I tried to book, I made a mistake and went back a page, and the rate somehow increased by $10.00. That put me off a bit so I decided to simply download and use their app. There the rate went up by $24.00 U.S. You input your flight number, allowing your driver to track your flight and therefore be on time to meet you at bag claim. They will wait for up to an hour, giving you ample time to process through customs, before taking you onward into the city of Vancouver and your hotel. But when you try to book for the 24th, the site automatically reverts you to the 23rd. Never mind, Blacklane. I deleted the app and decided to try something else.

That something else is to simply ask the hotel to send a car to collect you. I did that. Of course, it is more expensive: $157.66 Canadian which is $119.18 U.S. And there is a 5% fuel surcharge on top of that and if you want to simply put it on your hotel bill there is an additional 10% fee. But at least someone is accountable and that helps.

The front desk folks are welcoming and the room is lovely and we are tired. But we are here; our holiday has officially begun.

Posted by paulej4 23:15 Archived in Canada Tagged vancouver seasons four

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Looks like a great start! That is the same ship and cruise we were on several years ago with Bob and Doris. It was the best ever for me....enjoy and keep blogging! PS plates installed by Oscar.

by Chuckc9969

Looks fabulous. Keep the pictures coming. Have a great time.


by Nygirl56

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.