This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
For my recent visit from Calgary to Vancouver for work, I decided to try out Canada's "ultra-affordable" airline Lynx Air.
The airline was launched earlier this year and I had flown with them on one of their more-than-decent inaugural flights. But 'affordable' services usually lose sheen after the initial honeymoon phase, so I wanted to see if Lynx still measured up to its first impressions.
And when I found a date and time that worked for me, I was ready with my reviewer's hat to get on board the discounted airline.
Booking experience: 4/5
Booking on the Lynx Air website was super simple and the final price ended up being cheaper than I'd planned.
Lynx nearly always has discount codes available on base fares, so make sure you check the very top of their website. A return ticket between Calgary and Vancouver only cost $128. The option for the best fare calendar is also available, in case your dates are flexible.
As you continue through the booking process, some things come with an extra cost -- like choosing a seat, check-in baggage or bringing a carry-on bag (base fare only includes "one personal item"). I didn't need any extras, so I went with the most basic rate.
Check-in & boarding: 4/5
A queue to check in at the Calgary airport. Charlie Hart | Narcity
I received an email with a link to check in, and other relevant information, a day before the trip. At this point, I was asked again if I wanted to pay to choose my seat or for extra baggage, but I was able to skip through all of this and get the boarding pass sent to me via email.
When I arrived at the airport, there was a fairly long queue at the Lynx Air check-in desk at the YYC Airport. For an anxious traveller like me, this would have definitely been a source of stress, but luckily I didn't have any bags to check in so I was able to head straight to security.
Security lines were also super long at Calgary that morning, but pretty well managed. In a pre-flight email the day before I flew, Lynx recommended arriving at least three hours before departure time; and although that's way earlier than I'd usually prefer to arrive, it really helped prevent extra stress.
Boarding began about 40 minutes before scheduled departure and it went pretty smooth.
My return flight, in the evening, was delayed by about 30 minutes though and I don't think that was communicated particularly well. I was pretty tired and ready to be home by that point, so some updates would have been nice.
Seats on the Lynx Air flight.Charlie Hart | Narcity
One thing that I really do like about Lynx is that the seats are pretty comfortable, especially for a low-cost airline. They feel roomier than others I've tried; and although I'm not that tall, I found decent amount of leg room, even with a bag stored under the chair in front.
I lucked out with my morning flight, as it was only half full, and I ended up with an entire row to myself. On the way back, the flight was packed, but even with a full row, it didn't feel too cramped.
However, the one (pretty big) negative was that the seats don't have USB ports. In Lynx's defence, they do inform passengers about it in their pre-flight information email, but it is slightly frustrating. I'd forgotten to charge my Airpods for the return flight, so I was quite bored. Just make sure to charge up everything before you fly!
Food & Drink: 1/5
So here’s the thing with Lynx Air… if you want any food and drink on board, you’re out of luck. The airline doesn’t offer anything. According to them, this helps keep the costs down for passengers and it probably keeps costs down for the airline too.
Again, they do give plenty of warning (in that crucial pre-flight email), so if you’re a hungry traveller (or someone with a medical condition that requires readily available food), make sure to carry snacks and drinks with you.
They did however hand out glasses of water and since it was a short flight, that was fine by me.
Service & Entertainment: 3/5
View from the window seat.Charlie Hart | Narcity
As the flight between YYC and Vancouver is just over an hour, there's not too much service offered. On the first flight, I was given a glass of water but on the way back, drinks weren't handed out, because turbulence was expected during the flight.
However, the staff were friendly and accommodating on both flights.
Another place where Lynx Air cuts costs is its lack of in-flight entertainment. My flight was super short, so I was good with a podcast and a nap. But you might want to download TV shows or movies or bring a book. If you’re on a long flight, the boredom will set in pretty quickly.
Overall: 3.2/5 or 16/25
I do think Lynx Air has a lot of great things going for it. It can't be beaten for price, comfort or service, especially for shorter flights, where you don't need to pack heavy.
I didn't have to pay for additional luggage and with such a short flight time, I was happy to skip out on the little luxuries like watching a movie or being able to buy a glass of wine on board.
The seats are really comfortable and clean, and the service from the staff was perfectly fine.
But I do think that if I had to fly further afield, I'd be disappointed.
Lynx Air positions itself as an "ultra-affordable" airline and it's very clear about what it does and doesn't offer, both on its website and through the pre-flight email (DO NOT miss out on reading this).
Not being able to buy drinks or food on board, the lack of inflight entertainment and charging points is all fine for a flight time of less than 90 minutes. But I feel like if I was flying somewhere like Toronto from Calgary, those things would be really missed.