Kangiqsujuaq day 1 - travel
Well, we had a sitcom kind of day. We showed up at 8am for our 10am flight with Air Inuit and the flight was changed to 8am due to weather! So we missed our flight! ACK! Then we learned from the Air Inuit check in counter that the flight was actually with First Air and the check in counter was closed and we had to go to the airport INFO counter to get a First Air representative to talk to us. We decided to divide and conquer: Lisa to see if Air Inuit could help us rebook the flight (they couldn’t - since the flight was with First Air, even though the tickets were purchased online with Air Inuit), while Courtney and Glenn were talking to A First Air representative, a charming 30 year employee of First Air. He told us that he could for sure get us on the Montreal to Kuujjuaq flight at 3pm this same day, but that we needed to talk to Air Inuit to get the next connection and he was dubious this was possible. That said he couldn’t book the new First Air flight - we would have to do that ourselves calling the 1-800 number....which didn’t work until 9am.
Then we went back to Air Inuit with this new info to try to book the second leg of the flight: Kuujjuaq to Kangiqsujuaq but he said he also couldn’t help us and we would have to phone the Air Inuit 1-800 number to do that, and, you guessed it, that number also wouldn’t work until they opened at 9am.
Now at this point it was about 8:15 so we got ourselves a Jamba Juice and considered our options. Apparently there was a storm brewing in the north so this was affecting the flights, what if we got to Kuujjuaq but then couldn’t get to Kangiqsujuaq? Then we would be spending money for no reason. We would need to make sure we could get to Kangiqsujuaq at the latest on Monday afternoon, missing 2 workshop days but still having Tuesday through Saturday - still giving us 5 days. If not, we would need to find out about refunds (which we already knew was NOT their policies) OR an ability to transfer the tickets for a another time.
At 9am Courtney called Air Inuit and Lisa called First Air. They each at first blamed the other airlines - First Air changed the flight time so screwed us up… but Air Inuit was the company we ultimately booked the tickets with so they were responsible...after chatting for over one hour, we learned that Air Inuit flights were full and we may not be able to fly until Tuesday all the way to Kangiqsujuaq. Too late for our workshops, as far as we were concerned. We were hesitant to stay over in Kuujjuaq with only ‘stand by’ status for Sunday flight since Hotels are super expensive in the north and if we couldn’t get to Kangiqsujuaq until Tuesday (the only flight that could be guaranteed) then it wasn't a long enough film workshop for the community. THEN there also would be a FEE that Air Inuit wanted to charge 1. a ticket change fee AND 2. an additional fee for Courtney and Glenn's ticket since they were purchased at a special price. Wait a minute! Why is this our fault? We showed up EARLY for our flight, it was changed due to weather but we weren't informed! Courtney sent proof of the check in time, and the First Air person said we should NOT have to pay anything extra... First Air had her supervisor sitting beside her so she suggested that the Air inuit person get their own supervisor but there is no supervisor there until Monday. ... UGH. At this point we were considering cancelling since we didn’t want to spend so much money for a 4 day workshop plus have to pay for a hotel in Kuujjuaq....but then the First Air rep suggested she get into the system, stopping Air Inuit from trying to book anything, which she was having trouble doing anyway without incurring more costs to us....so then First Air booked us on the 3pm First Air flight out of Montreal to Kuujjuaq and then a 2:15 flight to Kangiqsujuaq the next day! GREAT! SO Glenn called Michelle Smith (Journeys Coordinator, First Peoples Initiative at Dawson College) to make sure we could book a hotel....we had 3 people on 3 phones working it! We needed to make sure we had flights confirmed AND hotel rooms in Kuujjuaq....so when the e-tickets came through and Michelle booked two rooms we hung up the phone....it was only 10:30am and we already had a full day!
At 12:30 we went back to the First Air check in counter but no one showed up...we lingered until we saw some red jacketed folks, apparently the airport didn’t know there was a First Air flight at 3pm....so more confusion ensued. Finally a checkin desk was assigned and we were checked in with no overweight baggage charges!
We travel on a virtually empty plane, we all get window seats and we are served free food and drinks !!! Then we arrive in Kuujjuaq and get shuttled to the hotel - nice. We are happy to be on our way and we go for a walk to check out the town.
More confusion with email confirmations and mentors being double booked on different flights but suffice to say, there is nothing that can be done until morning…