On July 16, 2020 Air Canada invited a select group of travel advisors, media and corporate clients to experience first hand the new Clean Care protocols in place by travelling from Vancouver (YVR) to Edmonton (YEG) and returning same day.
After self parking at YVR (valet parking is not available at the airport terminal, however ParkNFly is open), I donned my mask and entered YVR via the Graham Clarke Atrium which is located on the departure level between the domestic and international check in counters.The domestic terminal is closed at the moment so entry is not permitted via those doors. All check ins take place in the International/Transborder counters.
I had checked in online 24 hours prior to departure and downloaded my boarding pass to my cell phone so I did not need to speak to an airline agent or use a check in kiosk. As we all strive to minimize contact with people/surfaces, I cannot recommend strongly enough taking advantage of the online check in and downloadable boarding pass options. I did not have any baggage for this one day trip, but Touch Free Bag Check is now offered in Toronto (Pearson), Montreal and Ottawa.
All airport personnel and travellers were wearing masks as they are mandatory. A touchless temperature check was conducted as I entered security.
Although the Maple Leaf Lounge at YVR is currently closed, Air Canada had arranged for lounge to be open for the group and are now starting to reopen some of the MLL with enhanced biosafety measures in place. Detailed info on the new protocols can be found here.
After a presentation by AC personnel regarding the new aircraft cleaning systems and HEPA filters on board which was quite reassuring, we proceeded to our gate to board one of AC’s new A220 aircraft.
The two class cabin features 12 business class seats in a 2x2 configuration and 125 economy seats in a 2x3 layout. The plane was spotless with very comfortable seating and an excellent entertainment on board system.
Each passenger is given a Clean Care kit which includes:30ml hand sanitizer, 2 antiseptic wipes, disposable gloves, mask (non-surgical), 250 ml water bottle.
Masks are mandatory on board the flight and can only be removed while eating and drinking. I noticed that the flight attendant cleaned the lavatory after each use.
Although food and beverage service is limited at this time in order to reduce interaction between flight attendants and passengers,we were served with a prepackaged meal which was tasty and had surprisingly generous portions.Because meal service is limited, we recommend bringing your own food on board, particularly if you have special dietary requirements as it is unlikely they will be able to be accommodated by the airline.
In YEG we walked to the Renaissance hotel located in the terminal for a brief presentation from the Edmonton International Airport authority reps along with those from Edmonton Tourism.We did not tour the rooms at the Renaissance – just the lobby and ballroom areas but it looked like a very good option if you need to overnight near YEG.
Back through security we went for our return flight. Temperature checks in YEG are conducted at the gate.
We had a different boxed meal on our return flight.Again, palatable and generous portion size.
All in all I was pleasantly surprised at how comfortable an experience the trip was from start to finish. Wearing a mask at all times does take a bit of getting used to, but it is a small inconvenience overall.
As long as we all follow the personal hygiene (hand washing), physical distancing (where possible) and mask wearing guidelines, I would definitely be comfortable travelling.