Traveling the Arctic Skies

West and Jeff were scheduled to fly out on Friday, August 26 at 9:30 am.  They had requested I look for an earlier flight because, despite the hospitality shown to them in Arctic Bay, they were bored and ready to get home.

If you have never attempted to navigate the Canadian North website, I suggest you don’t.  It is definitely not user-friendly and it skips months in advance, suggesting there are no flights available for months, despite the contrary.  In the past, when this expedition started, called the “customer service” (hahahaha-seriously) phone number.

There is a permanent recording stating they are experiencing high call volumes and, instead of waiting on hold, leave your number and they will call you back.  (Hahahaha-seriously)  The ONLY way I have ever had the opportunity to communicate with anyone at Canadian North Airlines is by sending an email, and even that is “iffy”.  So, with that being said, I emailed CN and, lo and behold, they responded.  The best they could do is get the boys on a stand-by list for Wednesday, August 24, 2022.  Great!  They’ll be there that morning at 8:30 am and they were.  It wasn’t meant to be.  Flights were booked.  They waited until their flight out on Friday at 9:30 am.

On Friday, they arrived at the airport at 8:30 am in anticipation of their flight.  And they waited.  And waited.  Then, waited some more.  About 2:30 pm, there was finally an employee there to ask where the plane was?  The standard answer was, “I don’t know”.  Do you know if it has left yet?  I don’t know.  What is the hold-up?  I don’t know.  Are we going to miss our connecting flight?  I don’t know.  At some point, the information was shared that the plane will not layover in Pond Inlet, as scheduled.  It was going straight to Iqaluit, where we originally had a 4.5 hour layover.  It was clear they were not going to make the plane out of Iqaluit to Ottawa.  CN DID the right thing and put the guys up at a nice hotel in Iqaluit and gave them food vouchers.  They each had their own room.  West had a room/voucher for one night.  Jeff had a room/voucher for two nights.  Uh oh.  West was rebooked on a flight for Saturday and Jeff rebooked for Sunday.  Emails were answered one time but the information was very vague and open-ended.   Now, the rush was on to reschedule flights to Texas.  They were supposed to leave Ottawa at 2:00 pm on Saturday.  Now they are leaving at 5:25 am on Monday.  Hotel rooms were canceled for Friday night and rebooked for Saturday night and Sunday night.  Guess what…there is a convention in Ottawa right now and all hotels near the airport are completely booked.  We found one for Saturday and a different one for Sunday.  Fingers crossed there will be no more changes.

While in Iqaluit, they met up with Sarah McNair-Landry for coffee, in an actual coffee shop.  Sarah is a Polar Adventurer who grew up near the Arctic Ocean.  She is the youngest person to travel to the North & South Poles.  She has traversed the Greenland Ice Cap five times, among other amazing adventures.  After coffee, she was headed out to a seal hunt.  She is certainly a bad-ass and an amazing person to know.  You can see more about Sarah here. 

Iqaluit is the largest and northernmost city in the Nunavut Region.  In fact, it’s the only “city”.  Other communities are known as “hamlets”.  It was originally called Frobisher Bay.  In 1987, it was changed to Iqaluit, its traditional Inuit name.  The average monthly temperatures are below freezing, 8 months out of the year.  This is a larger community with about 8000 people.  Most of the buildings look clean and fresh and new.  There is more commercial business there as opposed to Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay.  The Frobisher Inn, where Jeff & West are staying, is very up-to-date, nice and has full amenities.    In the pictures West sent, the tide is out.  WAY out.  He offered other information about the tide but I cannot recall.  Sorry about that.  Lots of information in a short amount of time.

–Barbara Edington

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