Northern airlines trim passenger service to the basics

Only bottled water is now available on Canadian North, Calm Air, Air Inuit

Taking off on Canadian North? Don’t forget to eat before you leave: no more meals or snacks will be provided on flights. The same goes for Calm Air and Air Inuit (Photo courtesy of Canadian North)

By Jane George

If you’re travelling in Nunavut and Nunavik, be ready to eat before you board or bring along a snack of your own.

As of this week, northern airlines are only handing out bottled water to passengers.

Hot meals, alcoholic beverages and other treats have been gone for weeks. First, the airlines cut the hot meal service. Then they switched to cold meals and snacks and bottled drinks, before the most recent decision to offer only water.

Canadian North said on Tuesday, March 31, that it had temporarily suspended meal and snack service on all its flights “to safeguard the well-being of our passengers, employees and the communities we serve by limiting onboard interaction.”

“Thank you for your patience and understanding as we support the efforts of public health authorities to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by encouraging physical distancing wherever we can.”

On Calm Air flights, only water will be served as of April 2. (Photo courtesy of Calm Air)

Calm Air, which serves Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, is also temporarily discontinuing its in-flight beverage and snack services, including meals, effective Thursday, April 2.

“We will continue to provide each passenger with bottled water. This change is to avoid any non-essential personal contact and encourage social distancing on board our aircraft,” the airline said in an online message.

Air Inuit has also taken similar measures, which mean meals and snacks will no longer be served.

“Beverages service is discontinued. Only on-demand individual water bottles will be served when needed,” the airline said on Tuesday on social media.

With respect to aircraft cleaning and sanitization, Air Inuit said it has been implementing even more measures intended to minimize the risk for employees and passengers.

Two weeks ago, Nunavik’s regional airline stepped up measures to prevent the new coronavirus from spreading, and then last week, only days ahead of the announcement of the first confirmed COVID-19 case, the region introduced new mandatory screening for air travellers.

Air travel to Nunavik is restricted to residents heading home post-quarantine and those working in essential services such as police officers, health-care workers and maintenance crews.

Scheduled cargo shipments to most communities continue, as does travel for medical appointments.

But in Salluit, where the airport was shut down after the region’s first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the community, officials say no personal cargo is coming in until further notice.

Meanwhile, Air Inuit has reduced its aircraft passenger capacity by about 50 per cent to allow for employee-passenger distancing.

And flight attendants, as well as pilots of open-cabin small aircraft, will wear masks as a precautionary measure.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by No more intoxicated going to town on

    Wonderful. No more beer and wine guzzling happy to the gills flying to Montreal to party, wonderful.

  2. Posted by King djoser on

    They probabky bought the cheapest water ever or they get it from taps. Some of the worse food ever are from these airlines. How much is paid to fly and they feed us garbage. Sometimes all they give is damn crackers or dry as heck pretzels. SHOULD BE A HOT MEAL ON EVERY FLIGHT. These airlines should be charged for the garbage they feed people especially the foods from winnipeg to the north. CALM AIR HAS THE WORSE FOOD GOING UP NORTH FROM WINNIPEG. Who in their right minds would allow soggy fries and potatoe wedges as meals. With the amount they rip you off for tickets youd think the food would be better. Grossest food ever made in the history of airline flights.

    • Posted by The Old Trapper on

      You do realize that Calm Air does not actually make the meals themselves right?. It’s not like Calm Air, or Canadian North has short order cooks that they hire themselves.
      Meals are usually prepared by companies the look after most of the airlines, Cara Operations, Lufthansa, etc.
      I do agree that most airline food is crap, but some airlines do try harder than others.

    • Posted by Food complaints on

      So you seriously take for granted that airlines have to feed you? Open your mind, no other airlines provide you with food for free, with the exception of pretzels, or a meal on long haul flights. If you don’t like the quality of the water or snacks, just buy some at the airport and take it on the plane. Just as mentioned by Old Trapper, the airlines don’t cook or prepare the food themselves, they relay on the catering services for the airlines.
      It’s so easy to complain, isn’t it?

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