Yesterday was a long day. It started out perfectly normal… I checked out of my hotel in Ottawa with my 2 bags, took the shuttle to the airport and checked in. That’s when the first thing went kind of crazy… I was ‘red-stickered’ there was a bad weather report for Iqaluit, and the landing was subject to weather. I didn’t think much about this…because jets-almost-always land in Iqaluit, but little did I know.
I boarded my jet at about 8:45am…it was a sunny hot day in Ottawa. The plane was really full… like 49 people full (only 2 empty seats). I was sitting in the back row, on an aisle. Once everyone got settled then we took off as normal.
Here’s my view of the inside of the plane… the jet is split in 1/2 on the top so that passengers sit in the tail, and frieght goes in the centre of the aircraft and pilots in the front! There’s a shot of the “red-sticker”…landing subject to weather… and the airline is not going to pay for any hotels or meals if I am OVER or UNDER carried. LIving in Pang I get a lot of these stickers.. and about 1 in 3 times we land, other times we end up back in Iqaluit. It’s just part of flying in the north… I really didn’t think anything of it!
For the next part of the story I wanted to include this map of Canada. The RED line is the original flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit… (then I should have taken a flight just 1 more hour north to Pang (the black star). The BLUE line is the first diverison to Kuujjuaq, Quebec… Then the BROWN line is our flight to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut… then the final leg in RED again from Rankin to Yellowknife, NWT.
So we get a message from the Captain just before we start landing how the weather had ‘closed-in’ around the airstrip in Iqaluit but they were going to attempt a landing. They did this 2 times..but no dice. We were diverted to Kuujjuaq for refuelling… we land about 1:45pm! We aren’t allowed off the plane, because there is no security inside the airport.. so that means we’d go from a ‘secure’ place into ‘unsecure’ and there was no way to make us secure again before we jumped back on the aircraft. So we waited for about 2 1/2 hours for refuelling and a new flight plane.
Here’s the other key piece to this story. Normally the flights just go from Ottawa to Iqaluit and then return. But since it was Wednesday the airline had a different flight plan it has a “cross-over” flight… so it goes from Ottawa-Iqaliut-Rankin Inlet-Yellowknife-Edmonton and then another aircraft goes in reverse. That meant when we left Kuujjuaq we con’t on the regular flight plan and went to Rankin Inlet.
Here again is the view of in the inside of the plane… and my delightful 9 year old seat companion. Seriously this kid was an amazing flyer… was so easy going about the flights! I couldn’t have asked for a better seat partner.
While waiting in Kuujjuaq I was able to take a few photos through the open door… it was a really windy day…gusting about 40kms/hr…but felt nice to get some fresh air!
Then we landed in Rankin Inlet.. the weather was -15C +wind.. it was so cold! (compared to Ottawa) BUT we were so excited to get off the plane… it was about 6:05pm EST when we got off!!!
My friend Tara met me in the airport… with a bag filled with FOOD! You see the airline does feed us…BUT they only had 18 people scheduled from Iqaluit to Rankin to Yellowknife…that means that they only had 18 dinners but had 49 people on board. The flight attendants were amazing! They pulled apart the meals.. and gave everyone ‘pieces’ of the meal. (a small salad, crackers & a piece of cheese)… but it was just a ‘snack’. Once I got inside the airport…the small snack bar sold out of sandwiches and hot dogs really fast… so Tara came to the rescue. It was so great to catch up with her too… last I saw her was last year when she was living in Kugluktuk. Thanks again Tara!!! 🙂
Here’s a new friend I made on the flight…she sat on the other side of the aisle.. and her little puppy was a trooper on the plane too!
Here we are getting ready to board the plane…
Finally we got off the plane in YELLOWKNIFE! it was a gorgeous night… it was +6C and sunny! The next available flight back to Iqaluit is on Friday…then I’ll fly to Pang on Saturday morning. So that means I get to visit my friends Kim, Jason and Katie (they live in Yellowknife!)
I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing flight crew!!! Angela and Joey our flight attendants were amazing. Throughout the whole day they did their best to make everyone on the flight comfortable. They started off their day with a 14hour shift across the country but then the extra delays made it an even longer day. They were so professional, friendly and so awesome…in a day like yesterday just what was needed. Their quick thinking on ‘conserving’ beverages and splitting up food boxes really was amazing! I hope after your shift you enjoy a bottle of wine, you guys deserve one after your day!
Sometimes when you fly in the north you don’t end up in the destination you think… you might end up visiting 2 provinces and 2 territories in Canada over a 13hour period! It’s all just part of the adventure…