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REVIEW: The truth about Lynx Air, Canada’s budget carrier based in Calgary, Alberta

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One of my good friends, John F., came across this special on Lynx Air and he shared with Daddy Travels Miles and Points Facebook. As of this writing, this offer is now EXPIRED.

Lynx Air, an ultra low-cost Canadian air carrier have round trip airfares travelling from Los Angeles (LAX) to Calgary Alberta Canada (YYC) for $131, nonstop when you apply the promotional code listed below. These ultra low airfares will only allow you to have a personal item onboard for free. There is no seat selection, no carry-on bag and no changes. If you are travelling with kids under 12 years of age, you may select seats ahead of time, free of charge.

Travel Availability:

Departs LAX: May 1-2, 4, 8-9, 11, 16, 18
Returns: May 8, 16, 23

Without hesitation, I booked the two tickets. Why?
  • It was dirt cheap at $131 roundtrip.
  • It was nonstop.
  • It will give us an opportunity to visit friends and family.
  • Plus, a chance to finally visit Banff

But, I had never heard of Lynx Air

So I did a bit of research. There had to be a catch somehow. For $131 round trip per person, we were only allowed to bring a personal item:

Max size: 15cm x 33cm x 43cm (6” x 13” x 17”) – Purses, laptop bags, briefcases, small backpacks, tote bags

We’re no strangers to packing less and packing light. But I don’t think we’ve ever traveled with just a backpack. We had the option to bring a carryon or a checked luggage. But to do so would defeat the purpose of paying less. It could cost between $60 to $100 CAD. So the challenge was on….bring less by using a backpack.

As expected, there were mix reviews about Lynx, but I didn’t mind. I took my chances and chose to give Lynx a try. I figured what have I got to lose at $131 round trip?

Straight up reminder from Lynx Air

I received this email which reminded me to check-in online, and about the things to expect. Here’s what they said:

A few reminders before you fly:

  • Be honest: were you really looking forward to the food on the airplane? Neither were we, so Lynx does not sell any food or drink on board. Pack a snack, or purchase something in the terminal after passing through security.
  • If you have not purchased a carry-on bag or checked bag and plan to bring one, you should do that online now. You’ll save time and money rather than doing it at the airport.
  • You can bring a personal item free of charge. Max size is: 15cm x 33cm x 43cm or 6” x 13” x 17”— about the size of a purse or small laptop bag.

Here are some things you could fit in there:

  • A refillable water bottle.
  • An e-reader, tablet, small laptop or a book — remember, Lynx has no onboard entertainment or wifi so download anything you want to watch before you fly.
  • Lynx does not have in-seat power outlets so make sure your devices are fully charged.
  • A small snack like apple slices or a granola bar.
  • Your wallet, ID and boarding pass

It could not get any clearer than that.

What did Jason and Nancy pack

Read this “personal item” guideline from Lynx Air Max size: 15cm x 33cm x 43cm (6” x 13” x 17”) – Purses, laptop bags, briefcases, small backpacks, tote bags

If you noticed or if you didn’t notice, there was no mention of a weight limit. So in my mind, as long as my personal items fit inside the backpack and under the seat, then I was good to go.

So what did we pack? I shared this on my Instagram account:

Here’s what Nancy packed – yes, everything in her backpack. She also had 1 Lululemon crossbody bag where she stored our passports and all personal necessities. She packed:
  • Light scarf
  • Toiletry bag (travel sized items) – toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, cologne, wipes, makeup
  • Two pants – jeans, two black pants
  • One leggings
  • Nautica with hoodie Reversible puff jacket
  • Patagonia jacket
  • Nike running shoes
  • Skechers flat shoes
  • Dark blue long sleeves, black shirt, argyle sweater
  • 2-3 layers undershirt from 32 degrees
  • Undies
  • 1 thick wool socks
  • 3 ankle socks
  • Bathing suit
  • Shorts
  • Light sleeveless tops – really light
  • iPhone wall charger and cable
  • Pocket calendar
  • Airpod

To fit all of these inside the backpacks, our go-to favorite were our eBags packing cubes. That helped keep us organized, and for the items to be squished inside the bag.

Online Check-in process

I received an email the day before our flight to remind me to check-in. I followed the prompts, took note of my booking reference #. There was a portion where it asked for passport information, and seat preference, and the costs of booking your seats ahead of time. I chose NOT to select our seats. At the end of the checkout process, we were assigned our seats right next to each other (window and aisle) – this was at no charge.

The confirmation also mentioned that we could not print our own boarding passes, and I didn’t see an option to add the boarding pass to my Apple Wallet. There was an option to get the boarding passes emailed to me, but after a few tries, nothing was sent to my email. No big deal. I planned to just go directly to the ticket counter before the flight.

Ticket counter check-in process

First of all, this was my experience at Los Angeles International Airport. I needed to find out which terminal to go to. Lynx Air operates out of Terminal 1 (same Terminal as Southwest). We had our shuttle driver drop us off, and proceeded to the ticket counter. The area was empty. I did see 3 Lynx agents and I was assisted quickly. I provided our passports, and after two minutes we were given our boarding passes. We did not have any carry on luggage with us, and we weren’t ask to measure or weigh our backpacks.

While the check-in was in Terminal 1, we were advised to go through security upstairs, and from there, to board a bus to Tom Bradley International Airport (Terminal B). It worked out perfectly because we wanted to go the Centurion Lounge located in Terminal B. After waiting for shuttle bus, the drive to Terminal B was less than 5 minutes. We had time to get to the Centurion Lounge and we availed using one of those complimentary golf carts that drove us from one section to another.

Time to board

I looked around our gate and there was not a whole lot of travelers waiting to board Lynx Air to Calgary which was scheduled to leave at 7:55pm. Boarding began about 7:20pm. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was uneventful. The gate agent asked for our boarding passes and passports, scanned them, and we were cleared to enter the aircraft.

Upon entering the aircraft, it did not look any different – very similar to many budget carriers. We placed our backpacks under our seats, but we also knew that the flight was not full at all. Maybe it was 30% to 40% capacity. I took our backpacks and placed them in the overhead compartment which then gave us a bit more room to stretch our legs.

The Lynx flight itself

The 3-hour flight to Calgary went smoothly. There were lots of empty rows, and Nancy and I used two different rows and we were able to sleep during the flight. As expected:

  • No beverage or food service
  • No charging ports
  • No monitor or TV
  • No Wi-Fi
  • The seats did not recline (I was not expecting this, but it was a non-issue for us)
  • The restrooms were clean
  • The flight crew was warm and friendly

Lynx got us to Calgary ahead of schedule

Our flight was scheduled to arrive at 12:14am, and we landed around 11:47pm. Again, it was uneventful. When you expect less, you get more. Since we had no reason to go to baggage claim, I couldn’t tell you about the wait time.

The flight back to Los Angeles

Fast forward 4 days later, we had a scheduled flight out of Calgary to LAX at 4:15pm. We arrived at the airport with the same backpacks (1 for each of us). We didn’t have any souvenirs or gifts to bring home. We saw a little market on our way to our gate and Nancy bought 4-5 bags of Old Dutch Ketchup Chips. This means that she had her backpack plus another bag to carry. We wanted to know if this was going to be an issue by carrying “another” item on board.

One hour delay

Before boarding our 4:15pm flight back to Los Angeles, we were advised of a delay due to a lighting issue. At first it was only a half hour delay, but we ended up leaving at 5:15pm instead of 4:15pm. To be honest, it was no big deal for me. But for others, that could be costly.

All that and a bag of chips

Okay so it was time to finally board. Nancy carried her backpack plus a white bag of chips. Cleared…no issues. No one questioned me or her. No one asked to check or measure our personal items. Onto the flight back to Los Angeles – the aircraft had more passengers, perhaps 50%-60% full, but we still enjoyed having two rows to ourselves and we were able to sleep during the plane ride.


Who is Lynx Air for? Actually, who should fly budget-carriers? Simple. Those who are on a budget and do not mind a little bit of sacrifice. If you’re one who whines a lot, someone who needs Wi-Fi, needs all the legroom in the world, someone who needs to bring extra luggage – this budget lifestyle will not work for you. So manage your expectations.

I have flown many low-cost carriers. I do my homework. I play by the rules, and try not to push the envelope too much. For $131 round trip direct flight to and from Canada, I had nothing to lose but everything to gain. Would I fly Lynx Air again? You bet.

For a complete list of the credit cards that work with Flying Blue program, click here.


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Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.



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Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.