Why Air North is the best airline you’ve never heard of

Air North airlines reviewWhen a survey analyzed the sentiment of tweets mentioning airlines, familiar names like Air New Zealand, Air France and Icelandair popped up on the “most loved by travellers” list. But it was number two overall that had many people asking—“who?”

That’s right: Air North, the little Canadian airline that could, was found to be one of the world’s best when it comes to customer satisfaction. Chances are you’ve never even heard of the company which links remote spots in Canada’s northern territories like Dawson City, Inuvik and Old Crow to cities including Ottawa, Vancouver and Calgary. I have to admit I hadn’t (despite living in Calgary) until I found myself booked on a flight with them to Whitehorse one summer, and was a bit wary about what to expect. Well, the entire experience ended up being so wonderful that I was not one bit surprised to learn they’re being internationally recognized for their customer service. Here are a few reasons why Air North is the best airline you’ve never heard of.

No baggage fees

Let’s start with the one thing that pisses every traveller off: getting nickel and dimed. Fortunately Air North bucks this trend and has kept the experience as it was in the “golden days” of air travel, and doesn’t hit passengers with that pesky baggage fee. This is particularly helpful when taking into consideration the destinations they serve, as most people heading to Canada’s north need to pack lots of outerwear no matter what season they’re visiting in.luggage and baggage

The staff

One thing that immediately struck me as soon as I checked-in for my first Air North flight was how friendly the staff are. Welcoming guests with big smiles, easily accommodating seating requests and not being anal about baggage sizes are sadly things that travellers don’t come across too often anymore, but at Air North that seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

It’s also clear that Air North has lots of frequent flyers, as flight crew greeted many of my fellow passengers by name and were cracking jokes with them before takeoff. The service was great during the flight, and when we landed the entire crew including the pilots were at the front to say goodbye as we exited the plane.

The food

In another nod to the golden days of air travel, Air North also has meal service. That’s right folks, even when your flight is less than two hours the crew still comes around multiple times for drink service, and you’ll also get fed (usually something like a sandwich with crackers, or a hot meal on their longer routes). Canadian wines and beer from the Yukon Brewing Company are available for purchase, for about $5 per glass.
Air North airlines reviewBut that’s not even the best part. My favourite memory from my first Air North flight was when the heavenly smell of chocolate chip cookies wafted out from the crew area, and lo and behold a fresh-baked, warm cookie appeared on my tray a few minutes later. Yes you read that right—fresh baked chocolate chip cookies! Needless to say I was impressed, and only slightly disappointed when I was served a scrumptious slice of raspberry cheesecake the next time I flew with them. Cheesecake doesn’t trump cookies, but sure comes close!
Air North airlines review

The airplanes

Finally, while they’re no Dreamliners (my favourite jet), Air North also wins points for its planes thanks to one important feature: space. Their fleet mostly consists of Boeings with a fair amount of leg room, and as they don’t serve major routes Air North flights aren’t usually full. So on top of that extra leg room, chances are you’ll also get the whole row to spread out in. While there aren’t TVs in the seatbacks, there’s plenty of space on the tray table for a laptop, leaving one to beg the question—why can’t all airlines be like Air North?
Air North airlines review Have you ever flown Air North? What was your experience like? Share your review in the comments below!

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34 Responses

  1. jodyR says:

    After taking my first flight with Air North, I have to agree. How do they manage to offer all these perks and yet the other airlines can’t? Not that I care. I loved every second of my flight.

  2. Cindy says:

    I always fly airnorth. My most memorable experience with Air North was on an evening flight from Vancouver to Whitehorse. I fell asleep on the plane and when I woke up I was covered with a blanket. Now that’s impressive. The service is top notch and the food is divine. If you are flying to Whitehorse make sure you book at flyairnorth.com. You’ll have a great experience!

  3. Debbie says:

    Air North is by far the most awesome flight experience. Everything in that article is correct. The longest journey across our nation… from Whitehorse Yukon to Halifax Nova Scotia is daunting no matter how you book it.
    But we always begin the trek with Air North.
    Now that they offer the flight from Whitehorse to Ottawa, our trip time has been cut by less than half and our pleasure has been multiplied!
    It’s only a quick jaunt with Porter Air on to Halifax.
    I am so proud of Yukon’s Airline!

  4. Carol Boyko says:

    In Whitehorse, I had fallen on the ice early in the day, banging my knee so that I limped a little. While getting to my seat, one of the cabin crew asked if I needed transportation assistance in Vancouver airport. I told him what had happened and that I ‘d be fine, but thanked him for his concern. Just before take off he came to my seat, bringing a bag of ice wrapped in a towel and told me it was okay to change my mind in flight if I felt I did need transport help on landing…Air North not only consistently meets my expectations..but shows it wants exceed it with thoughtful actions like this

  5. Janet says:

    Air North has been huge part of air transportation within the Yukon as well as outside of the Yukon for four decades. They are the best airline anywhere and make us Yukoners so proud. Thank you Air North for such great service and hospitality on flights as well as upon check-in.

  6. Betty Lou Linville says:

    Air North Rocks !! I have had occasion to accompany a young person to medical care in Vancouver. Air North absolutely offered to do EVERYTHING possible to make him more comfortable. Quite a few of my family members travel with sports teams, and they always appreciate Air North Staff and considerations. I wish you much success with your ongoing business

  7. Susanne & Stan says:

    We too wish you continued success, we are very proud that our territory has such a wonderful airline. We love Air North, you are always our first choice. As has already been posted, you totally rock!!
    Thank-you. Stan Lancaster and Susanne Nageli

  8. Elizabeth Gibbs says:

    As a frequent flyer from the UK to Europe I can confirm that my trips with Air North from Vancouver to Whitehorse have been far far better. Great service and comfortable seats. I’ll definitely use Air North whenever I’m in Canada

  9. Meghann says:

    Their Air Cargo services are amazing too!! Always fly Air North!

  10. Jacqui Miller says:

    In 2004 I’d moved to Whitehorse & was readying for my 1st flight with Air North. I’d had a death in my circle of dear friends 2 days b4. Upon checking in I was told due to over booking my seat would be way in the back. Fine with me as I thought I was being bumped! As I was waiting for boarding my name was paged, so back to the counter, where I was told they’d managed to get me a better seat; Great! As I boarded the plane, they asked me if I could just stand for a moment. Next thing I know, my new seat was now in 1st Class!! Air North, not only Rocks; you talk about no baggage fees; how about flying your Best 4-legged friend for FREE!! Keep it up Air North, you really are the Bestest as my grandkids say!!

  11. Grammom says:

    I wrote about my great experience on Air North in my Grammomsblog post called “Land of The Midnight Sun” https://grammomsblog.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/land-of-the-midnight-sun/
    They are the best airline! And the food is regional and SO delicious!

  12. Judy says:

    I frequently fly Air North from Calgary to Whitehorse. They are awesome. It spoils you when having to take another airline elsewhere. Makes you realize again how GREAT Air North is. And the chocolate chip cookies are wonderful

  13. Michael Wanner says:

    AIR NORTH is SIMPLY THE BEST anywhere anytime. I take Air North when ever I fly to the Yukon or in Western Canada. I remember a number of years ago one of my nephews died tragically when he was still a teenager. My daughters wanted to attend the funeral of thier cousin but we couldn’t get the finances together right away to send them. I telephoned the president of Air North at his home at breakfast time and he accepted my call although he really did not know me. I explained the situation to him and he told me not to be concerned about payment at the moment; just get the girls on the next flight to Calgary and he would take care of the arrangements.
    Well, he did that, and my daughters had absolutely no problems either on the trip down or on the return flight after the funeral. They were taken care of wonderfully. And if I remember correctly he even arranged for a bereavement discount for us. Now my daughters were young at the time and this was their first flight. We managed to pay the fares after a few days and everything was fine. This is something I have never forgot. I now live in Ecuador, South America and in my travels,I have not found any airline that even comes close to the quality of service that Air North gives. Thank you Joe S. and thank you Air North.

  14. Laurie says:

    I wish they flew everywhere!!! Maybe one day. For now I’m a faithful flyer to Vancouver and back!!!

  15. Susan Rogan says:

    We were headed to Cuba and took Air North to Calgary. My partner left his passport on the plane and did not notice until we had already been in our hotel in Calgary for an hour (where we were overnighting). I called Air North in Whitehorse, Yukon to see if there was any lost and found at the Calgary airport, and if maybe someone had found this passport. They put me on hold and got back to me several minutes later saying that one of the ground staff was still waiting at the Calgary Airport, JUST IN CASE we noticed and returned for the passport! She was still standing there when we arrived to pick it up.

    This is normal behaviour for the Air North staff. They are human beings who care.

  16. Sheila Farrell says:

    We flew Air North from Kelowna to Whitehorse for Rendezvous weekend. While the crew and flight were great, and the warm cookies amazing, the most outstanding memory came as we approached Whitehorse. The flight attendant presented us with a “welcome package” complete with maps, brochures, and local information. It also included a hand written note from Air North thanking us for choosing them and provided a contact number should we need any further information or services while we were in town. Now THAT is service!

  17. Fred says:

    There will also be some new fleet additions by this fall. An entirely new turboprop type and an additional B737.

  18. heidyenka says:

    I love it when there was a short lived attendant strike and they waited for us, as we were ready to go through security with $3 for us. Just in case they didnt serve us a beverage on that flight. They did have cabin service as usual but what stuck with me was their professionalism through and through. Air North should be in the No 1 position worldwide…so proud of them, I wont fly the other airelines down south!

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