First Air, Canadian North codeshare changes, reversals perplex passengers
Iqaluit-Ottawa flights have reverted to old doubled-up schedule
The codeshare agreement between the two major airlines flying in Nunavut continues to perplex passengers, with the latest point of contention being a quiet reversal of changes to the Iqaluit-Ottawa flight schedule.
Canadian North and First Air announced in May they would begin "codesharing" some routes this summer, selling seats and cargo space on the other airline's flights.
As one of a number of schedule changes, the airlines separated their Iqaluit-Ottawa departure times so their flights would no longer be leaving within minutes of each other on that route.
First Air was to keep its flights leaving Ottawa at 9:15 a.m. and Iqaluit at 1:45 p.m., while Canadian North would move its flights to leave Ottawa at 12:45 p.m. and Iqaluit at 5 p.m.
But on Tuesday, they went back to the old doubled-up schedules.
Joslyn Couture, who works throughout Nunavut, says he is confused by the whole codeshare agreement.
"I was booked with First Air, then I was supposed to take Friday afternoon late, then I'm back with Canadian North and I was reading about the codesharing on the plane. It's confusing."
This summer, both airlines also introduced new fees on beneficiary fares, which are special reduced rates for beneficiaries of land claim agreements of the Inuit groups that own each airline.
Iqaluit resident Joanna Awa says she bought a Pivut fare ticket from Canadian North. When she tried to change the departure date she was told she could only re-book on that airline, even though she was scheduled to leave on First Air.
Awa did eventually persuade Canadian North to refund her normally non-refundable ticket. but she says she worries others won't be so lucky.
"If there are going to be so many limitations placed on Pivut fares or beneficiary fares there needs to be at least some kind of public education," she says, "because if I didn't take action I don't think it would have been resolved."
First Air refused an interview about codeshare concerns, saying customers with complaints should come to them. A representative from Canadian North was not immediately available for comment.