I flew to Winnipeg on WestJet Encore yesterday. It was the first time I had ever flown on the Bombardier Q400 NextGen airplane before. Basically it is an improved Bombardier Dash-8. The main difference that I noticed was that I didn’t think the plane was about to shake apart when we took off and at no time during the flight did I think it was going to fall from the air. A friend told me once while flying on one that he noticed fluids that looked like oil coming from the engine. When he pointed it out to the stewardess, she said, “It does that once in a while”. My favourite Dash 8 story was while flying on Air Canada after 9/11 and reading about how the doors on all planes were now fortified, the shaking from the Dash 8 was so intense that the cabin door and several overhead bins popped open.
In my defence I was flying out at 6:00 a.m. so at 4:30ish when I was checking in, I looked at my seat and never registered that it was right beside the engine. Despite that it wasn’t that noisy and the flight is less than 90 minutes. If I remember correctly, the Q400 series is quite a bit faster than the older Dash-8s. It was noticeable. Of course the flight was packed. Good for WestJet, not so good for me.
When I woke up at 3:45a, my Yahoo! Weather app was showing temperatures in Fahrenheit and not Celsius. It also showed it snowing in Winnipeg. I thought the entire app was working oddly. I was wrong. It was snowing in Winnipeg. Not some light fluffy snow like the movies. Bitter arctic snow that is designed to freeze Anaheim Ducks and take away their will to win a hockey game (it almost worked).
Getting into Winnipeg’s amazing airport was nice and then it was off to work. Most of my impressions of Winnipeg come from seven years of Bryan Scott’s blog Winnipeg Love Hate and the writing of Bartley Kives in the Winnipeg Free Press. Driving from the airport I couldn’t help but recognize so much of Winnipeg from seven years of Scott’s photography and from reading Kives over the years.
After spending some quality time in Winnipeg, it was time to fly home. I had some time to kill in the airport and it was recommended that I try Gondola Pizza. I did and it was so good that it is worth the flight to Winnipeg just to try.
I wasn’t the only one that thought so. As I was waiting to depart, Calm Air’s flight was leaving for Thompson and it kept paging this customer over and over and over again. Finally he sauntered up to the exasperated flight attendant and says, “I had to wait till they finished my pizza”. Yes, a guy made his plane wait for about 10 minutes while he waited for his Gondola Pizza and he admitted to it. Don’t get me wrong, it was incredible pizza but I don’t think I would risk my flight for anything, even a really good pizza.
The flight home was packed as well but it was only 90 minutes and again, I had an engine seat. The Bose headphones drowned out most of the noise and it was a fairly relaxing flight home. Now if only someone would open a Gondola Pizza here in Saskatoon.