Flying During Covid - AC 8051 Flight Report
27 Sep 2021
(Vancouver - Victoria)

Normally, people would take the ferry or even a seaplane between Vancouver and Victoria, but my complicated itinerary from Hong Kong to Toronto with an overnight stop in Vancouver would require hopping over to Victoria by plane today to connect to a 2nd flight to Toronto.

Happily rested after a day of sightseeing amidst the rain, I took the first hotel shuttle of the day ay 6:30am to reach the airport 1.5 hours ahead of departure. Since my bags were tagged all the way to Toronto (even had I gone straight through, I still need to haul them out to go through Canadian customs in Vancouver), I asked an agent whether those barcodes were still valid. The agent took a look and directed me straight to the drop-off belt, bypassing the machines and I didn't need to print a bag tag again.

The typical check-in experience would be to use a machine to print the boarding pass and bag tags, affix it yourself, then haul it to the belt to manually drop off. I noticed a different type of machine for hand baggage.

Hand sanitizer was readily available around the terminal.

Outside, the sun was struggling to peek out again while there was a steady stream of passengers coming into the domestic section of the terminal.

I didn't want to go airside so quickly, so walked to the adjacent international and transborder (US) check-in sections to see how empty it was. What a contrast to the domestic part of the airport.

I headed back to the domestic security entrance and noticed a few explanation boards on residential schools, a scandal that broke out earlier in 2021 when indigenuous children were found buried in unmarked graves at one site in Kamloops, BC.

Domestic travel seems to have resumed some sense of normalcy with a decent crowd at this early hour. There were plenty of jets parked at the terminal, but my gate would be in the extreme narrowbody pier where we descend to the ground level for the doors.

As I sat by the window noticing remnants of people's breakfasts littered around, a Jetz plane pulled in. This is the higher class charter aircraft for the airline that offers premium seats and is used for sports teams, corporate overlords, and other higher-end passengers.

Boarding was timely and I kept my camera busy taking photos of this walk-up boarding. I haven't flown a turboprop for a long time!

Each row has 2 seats on each side which were very comfortable. The overhead compartments were too small for the standard carry-on, which I had expected they would gate check. But the crew recommended me to put it down sideways underneath the seat. I wasn't so fussy about my obstructed legroom as this would be only a 12 minute flight, my shortest ever.

Loading was very light as I would expect a normal passenger to take the ferry over.

We pushed back slightly early and the crew went through the standard safety briefing, including a reminder to wear a mask throughout the flight. The cockpit crew announced it may get bumpy as we would be flying low at 4000 feet for this short hop to Victoria.

We powered up and lifted off quite quickly out of cloudy Vancouver. The force was quite incredible as I was pushed into my seat, something I have never experienced on a widebody before. The sun poked out a little during the ascent in incredible fashion.

The large ferries that can carry cars leave from the 2nd bridge in the distance for Victoria.

Magically, blue skies appeared in a twist of irony as my only day in Vancouver was quite rainy.

Luckily, the flight was not as bumpy as warned. The weather was decent as we descended to Victoria.

Victoria's airport is quite small with many general aviation planes. There were few planes parked at the main terminal.

We parked just off the edge of the terminal and got off the plane by stairs once again.

The terminal is nicely designed with lots of wood colours, plenty of light thanks to a sunny sky, and a more intimate atmosphere. With my bag tagged to Toronto, I didn't need to retrieve my bag and went straight out the door.

With 3 hours to my next flight to Toronto, it was too tight to head into town for sightseeing. I asked the information centre about the aviation museum, but it was a long walk down and opened late so in the end I just enjoyed the airport's parking lot and the quiet observation lounge upstairs, a recommendation from the friendly gentleman at the centre.

There were some fall colours around the parking lot already.

This would be a pleasant start to my long trip to Toronto. Victoria's airport is great and I would be inclined to fly here directly from elsewhere in Canada rather than do a day trip out of Vancouver by ferry.

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