Traveling north toward Akshayuk Pass is hit and miss at best. When arranging your flights allow some extra time between flights for weather and mechanical delays. Be flexible and prepare to go with the flow.
Pack Your Sense of Humor
First Air and Canadian North deal with delays daily and will work with you to reach your destination. Pack your sense of humor. You may be sitting in Iqaluit under clear skies while in Pangnirtung the winds or fog may be keeping your plane on the ground. Delays can last for days so make the best of it and get out into the hamlet where you’re waiting and enjoy the culture of the people of the north.
Dealing With Delays
Each town has an interpretive center where you can learn about the Inuit culture and enjoy some of the artwork of the fantastic artists of the north. In Pangnirtung you can meet some of the elders three days a week and the stories they are very willing to share are totally enthralling. Keep your camera with you at all times as well.
The Arctic is unlike anything we, the people from south, have seen. In my case, I traveled from Halifax, NS to Ottawa, ON with Air Canada then Ottawa to Iqaluit on Air Canada Jazz, a new route they just added to their routes. From Iqaluit to Pangnirtung I flew First Air. After a substantial delay in Iqaluit we flew into Pang in weather I was not aware a plane could fly in.
Available Air Travel
First Air has truly the best pilots on earth. The plane I flew in was a Hawker 748 built in the 1950's. I’m not sure any modern day aircraft would have made the trip.
On my return flight the planes had not flown out of Pang for 4 days due to weather and breakdowns. Luckily on the day I left they finally got a plane out, albeit late so I missed two other flights due to the delay.
To my extreme surprise a young lady named Charlee got me the last seat on a Canadian North flight out of Iqaluit. She contacted Air Canada for me and told them about the delays and missed flights. They arranged new flights for me at no charge.
If this had happened in the south I would have been out of pocket a tidy sum of money for new flights. Like I mentioned before, the airlines of the north deal with this daily and truly take great care of their passengers.
Canadian North has fantastic meals served on board as well, included in the price of a ticket, something not seen on major carriers anymore. So bare in mind some of the complications that may arise during northern travel and embrace it with an open mind and enjoy it to the fullest.