Nicholas Jones flies from Vancouver to Comox, on Air Canada AC8303

The plane:

A Q400 Bombardier — long and thin, with 78 seats in 20 rows in a 2 by 2 configuration.

Class: Economy (the only class on this flight).


Price: About $250 one-way for a late booking.

My seat: 16A, by the window.

On time? Yes, with the usual 42 minutes in the air cut back to 26.

Fellow passengers: Only a handful who seem to be mostly locals heading home, plus a group in Navy uniforms who, confusingly, looked about 16.

How full: About 20 per cent full.

The flight: A hop over to Vancouver Island, with views of Vancouver's suburbs on the way up. Cloud gives way to views of pine-covered islands with a road or two linking a few houses. I think it took longer to clear security than the flight itself — blessed relief after the 13 hours-plus from Auckland to Vancouver.

Entertainment: Old school (nothing — bring a book or newspaper).

Food and drink: Just a glass of water.


Service: The pouring of water was top notch.

Toilets: Up the front and down the back, but not needed on such a short journey.

Luggage: A CAN $31.50 ($36.50) fee for one checked bag.

Airport experience: Getting through domestic at Vancouver Airport is more intense than back home — long queues to drop bags and get through security. Survived a body scan and pat-down to make the flight.

The verdict: Over before you know it.

Need to know: Air Canada's direct Auckland to Vancouver service launches on December 14. The airline will be flying one of its 37 Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners on the route, with the service operating between December and March.