Currently, I am returning from Vancouver on a medical trip for my daughter. I was given a choice to fly Air North or Air Canada.
I chose Air North for several reasons, the primary one being that Air North is a model of a community-driven company.
For the record, I would like to state I am not a shareholder in Air North; nor am I a member of the frequent-flier corporate club. I am a single parent, of modest means and the sole income provider for my children.
I purchased a plane ticket for my son in October to return home for Christmas. The weather conditions were such that he missed the connecting flight. I called Air North and asked how much it would cost to accommodate the change and the response was, “We are not going to charge you, Linda; we are happy we can bring your son home for the holidays.”
Rain, sleet, snow and minus 40: during conditions when other air traffic grinds to a stop, Air North keeps flying.
Two years ago, my lovely niece suddenly passed away in Vancouver. Air North did not charge full rates for me, my older sister and four of our children to fly to Vancouver to help our youngest sister through this difficult time,
My mother, who was living in Toronto, was not granted such compassion. My mother was required to pay a full fair for WestJet. This is an example of the multinational success barometer – money as bottom line!
When I walk through the cabin doors of any Air North plane, I am greeted by friendly, happy local faces. Air North is a good company to work for. I make it my business to enquire among the people of my community what their employment conditions are like. In the 10 or 15 years I have been tracking Air North’s employee relations I can report, with certainty, it is a good company to work for. I have only heard positive feedback from their employees.
Air North pays fair wages and employs many local citizens. Its service is impeccable, the food wonderful, the pilots competent and the booking agents are courteous and friendly. It is, in every aspect, a very successful company. It upholds “best business practices” in customer relations and is a role model for emerging Yukon companies.
Success can be measured in many ways. However, as a businesswoman, I measure success by what individuals and companies give back to their communities. For all the propaganda and bureaucratic lip service around sustainable environments I would like to take off my hat to Joe Sparling and the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation and to their employees for being a company that Yukoners can be proud of.
This is not about getting cheaper air travel for myself; this is about supporting the integrity and hard work that have been the foundation of this truly amazing homegrown company.
I do not have any benefit package, nor a regular paycheque, and I have no pension plan. However, I am prepared to forego cheaper air travel by Air Canada and WestJet to support the Yukon’s Air North.
Linda Bonnefoy, president, Yukon Fair Trade Tourism Inc.