Calm Air Aeroplan Redemptions

After the last post I’m hoping all of you have your tickets to Rankin Inlet and Norman Wells booked already 😉 – so let’s move a little to the south to Calm Air. Like Canadian North, Calm Air is also an Aeroplan partner for both earning and redeeming, and also like Canadian North, their revenue fares are a little… reflective of the monopolistic markets in which they operate.

Routes

Calm Air operate a more point-to-point network in Manitoba and southern Nunavut from their main “southern” base in Winnipeg.

Calm Air route map

Again, many of these consist of same-flight number service with intermediate stops, which do count as one segment for the purpose of booking award travel.

Aircraft and Service

Alongside the more “conventional” Saab and ATR turboprops plying the smaller northern cities, Calm Air also operate the Dornier 328JET aircraft. This is the rare jet-powered derivative of the Dornier 328, a small turboprop once popular with many regional carriers including the likes of United Express. While not as uncommon in the world as the Boeing 737-200 Combi, the only other major operators of the Dornier 328JET are Hainan Airlines in China, or Sun Air (a British Airways regional partner) between the UK and Scandinavia. So North American avgeeks, this is likely your best chance to tick off a new aircraft type 😉

Cabin service on Calm Air is in the true northern style… which means kind of a throwback to the glory days (or Singapore Airlines, as I called it). Vio from airliners.net has a great trip report on Calm Air from Rankin Inlet to Winnipeg (even more so if you’re as much of an appreciator of scenery as I am).

Booking Award Travel on Calm Air

Unlike the other Aeroplan partners, Calm Air awards cannot be combined with any other carrier – including Air Canada. This means award pricing is quite simple for Calm Air:

  • 7,500 Aeroplan miles one way for flights within Manitoba or Nunavut
  • 12,500 Aeroplan miles each way for flights between Manitoba and Nunavut

There is no way to search Calm Air award space online, so your only option is to call the Aeroplan Service Centre to book award travel on Calm Air.

Conclusion

Truth be told, this isn’t quite a great deal as Canadian North, especially because unless you are originating in one of these two provinces, you will need to book a separate award to Winnipeg. I would not recommend booking Calm Air to Nunavut in most circumstances, as First Air offer superior service and pricing to the same cities – however, Calm Air is still the best option for award travel within Manitoba.

The American Express AeroPlus Gold Card offers 30,000 Aeroplan miles after after $500 spend within the first three months and the first year’s annual fee waived – which is enough for two free round-trip awards on Calm Air for routes within Manitoba.

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Comments

  1. The best use of Calm Air is to get to Churchill (YYQ), which is otherwise prohibitively expensive (YWG-YYQ fares are usually $1,100 roundtrip or more). There are a number of tour operators and lodges in and around Churchill that specialize in Polar Bear and Beluga watching.

    Also, even though MO offers a through morning flight back to YWG from YYQ that has a brief fuel stop in YRT (same flight number, no more than 30 minutes on the ground at YRT), it is impossible to book that option as a reward ticket, as we discovered to our disappointment (it was perfectly timed). They also don’t sell that flight as a single flight. It requires repricing as a multi-city itinerary, which jacks up the cost of a ticket into insane territory.

  2. I know this is late to the game, but I have found you can use Airmiles to check award availability if you want to figure it out before calling Aeroplan.

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