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Morning Flight out of Calgary

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St. Augustine...
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Morning Flight out of Calgary

We have a 10:25 AM flight on a Sunday this September. Can we leave Banff at 6 AM safely drive to Calgary, return the rental car and make the flight easily, or should we plan to stay overnight in Calgary?

We travel frequently in the states but have never flown to Canada, so we aren't familiar with Canadian airport procedures. Thanks for your help. Looking forward to visiting this beautiful area.

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Lake Louise
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1. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Yes, it's an easy drive. At the Calgary Airport - if you're flying to the States you clear US Customs in Calgary. Two full hours is recommended. I might suggest getting started even earlier, just to avoid a stressful journey and to give yourself a little extra buffer. Don't forget you're also going to be arriving in Calgary during rush hour. Take Stoney Trail (#201) it's the easiest and most direct road to the airport. It takes you around the city, sort of a ring road - direct to Deerfoot Trail and the Aiport Road. Get a map and get good directions. It's an easy drive.

St. Augustine...
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2. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Thanks for your quick response. I thought about rush hour, but i t's a Saturday - sorry, I said Sunday before. Is rush hour bad on the weekend? How early would you start, and what time does it get light in mid-September?

Is the rental car return convenient to the gates?

Banff, Canada
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for Banff, Banff National Park
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3. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

No rush hour on a Saturday. Six is a good time to start - you'll be at the airport by 8, return your car, and still be in line by the required 8:25.

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

There should be no problem.

Canada
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5. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Just a note about preclearing US Customs at YYC.

There have been reports on the news lately that Calgary airport officials are warning that the staffing level issue with US Border Services is causing some significant problems with passengers having enough time to clear US customs and make their flights.

This is despite the airport management's efforts to expedite the process and alleviate the lineups by only allowing passengers to enter the US Customs area no earlier than 2 hours prior to their flight times. This is apparently no longer working. Passengers have missed their flights recently, according to the news reports last week.

Perhaps it would be prudent to ensure that you are checked in with your airline, boarding pass in hand, luggage checked in if necessary, and being admitted to the US Customs area exactly at the two hour mark prior to flight time. Or earlier if they will let you in!

I personally have seen passengers running to gates, being paged by airlines as last call. I recognized one of the running passengers as a person who was checking in/checking luggage at the same time as I. (I am enrolled in NEXUS so that expedited my pre-clearance time.)

Just a heads up. When the spokesperson for the Calgary Airport Authority calls it an issue, I think that it might be.

.

Calgary, Canada
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6. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Thanks, Love2Vacation - hadn't heard about that!

St. Augustine...
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7. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Yes, thanks Love2Vacation and everyone for your responses. I certainly agree that since they acknowledge a problem, there must, indeed, be one!

Canada
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8. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Newsclip (and a preview of YYC): http://tinyurl.com/73shwbq

And yes, to the previous question regarding car rental returns: Right across the roadway from the terminal, in the parkade (Western Canadian term for multi-level parking lot!). Easy access with good signage as you are driving in and free luggage carts in various locations throughout.

Edited: 15 February 2012, 17:11
San Antonio, Texas
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9. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

Save yourself the headache. Stay at the Delta Airport, turn the car in the night before and walk accross the street and get in line. You will need every bit of that 2 hours for a morning flight back to the USA.

St. Augustine...
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10. Re: Morning Flight out of Calgary

After reading the posts regarding the long delays in getting through customs, we did make the decision to stay at the airport the night before. Alas, we lose a night in Banff, but our nerves won't be frazzled! Thanks to all for your help. I'm sure we'll have more questions as our planning progresses.