Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Well, Thanks For Clearing That Up

Perhaps First Air reads my blog, perhaps even my most recent rant about the insane air fares here. Okay I humor myself. Anyhow, after firing off a letter to my MLA and then a strongly worded email to First Air, I did get a heads up from Clare that there was a seat sale on. So I decided to check it out. Apparently, if I wait just two more weeks, that whopping coronary-inducing $4565.75 fare I mentioned earlier gets knocked down to a mere $3800 and change. Wow! On bended knee, I thank you First Air!

After a couple days though, First Air DID respond to my e-mail. Apparently some of the money they gouge off its paying customers does find its way back into "Customer Service" afterall. (I guess should be glad I heavily edited my original draft, removing several colourful words.) Here was their response:

Dear Mr. Steele,

We received your comments in our office and we thank you for taking the
time to write to us. We forwarded your email to our Marketing & Sales
department and we were informed that the price quoted was a function of
advance booking and seats already sold. Some flexibility with travel
dates can reduce the price of tickets.

The cost structure in the north is very expensive: fuel, staff costs,
flying more flights than necessary due to weather. Nanisivik and
Resolute Bay are the two highest cost routes in our system. It is not a
function of mileage/cost, it is a function of the market size (revenue
customers) and costs to operate at those bases.

We hope this clarifies your concerns and that you can understand our


Indira K. Barthelemy
Customer Relations & Baggage Claims
First Air

No, it doesn't clear up my concerns and I certainly do not understand your position. If everything is just so gosh darn expensive, how on Earth did First Air come up with a whopping $1.5 million in bonuses last fall?


Kiggavik said...

Not to mention that a big part of the reason things are so expensive up here are, hmmm... Travel costs - which impact every aspect of our lives here.

Jason said...

I read the linked article. The guys says that it is normal for executives to get bonuses when a company turns a profit. What I wonder is how much those profits were. I'm sure they would have to be VERY substatial if they gave 1.5mil in bonuses alone.

In Iqaluit said...

I just read your letter to the editor in Nunatsiaq News (

Well done for talking about this publicly. I especially like the last line.

Way Way Up said...

I did see the online version earlier in the day. I probably could and should have made a better case other than just stewing but I wasn't in the best of moods - but writing it did make me feel a bit Interestingly enough, I'm actually flying out tomorrow to Ottawa. Guess I'll see if I get the back of the plane and a partly frozen meal or something better.....or