Air North flight issues world’s most northern boarding passes

Emma Pike's photo of her boarding pass for a flight from Ottawa to Yellowknife in December 2018
Emma Pike's photo of her boarding pass for a flight from Ottawa to Yellowknife in December 2018.

Northerners are used to some of the world’s more relaxed air travel.

Flights within the Northwest Territories don’t require security screening and tend to operate far less formally than air travellers might expect in some of the world’s busier hubs.

However, Air North achieved a new level of northern-ness on Friday when the airline resorted to issuing handwritten notes as boarding passes following a technical malfunction in Ottawa.

Emma Pike, a Yellowknife resident on board the flight, shared a photo of her hastily scribbled boarding pass with friends on Facebook.



“This looks totally legit, right?” Pike wrote on Facebook on being handed the handwritten boarding pass, which a gate agent had tried hard to create in the spirit of an ordinary, printed one.

Pike told Cabin Radio she believed many other passengers had received their boarding passes in handwriting, too.

“Security just laughed but let me through,” she added. “Northern airlines, still making it work even with a computer shutdown.”

Old school

One friend noted the handwritten pass would probably attract attention if submitted as an expense claim.



Air North spokesperson Debra Ryan said, while the airline’s head office wasn’t aware of the specific incident, such failures were “very rare.”

“We’re very old-school,” Ryan added. “If a calculator breaks, we can do math out of our head. We can do loads, weight, and balance the old-school way. Hats off to everybody.”

Around a month remains for Air North’s twice-weekly service between Yellowknife and Ottawa before the route is severely cut back.

The airline says financial pressures are responsible for the move, which will see the service dropped from January until the summer of 2019.