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Aeroplan's Best Kept Secret: award flights into Iqaluit

Aeroplan's Best Kept Secret: award flights into Iqaluit

Old Jan 15, 18, 9:40 pm
  #16  
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Originally Posted by jerry305 View Post
Very good summary, thank you.
But... is there something worse than getting attacked by polar bears?
Yes there is, itís being stranded in that climate for days on end and suffering a slow painful death as hypothermia eventually sets in.

Switching gears for a moment, I thought Iíd also point out that any *A benefits donít apply for these bookings (I.e. priority boarding or lounge access). I tried to go into the MLL in YOW showing my boarding pass and UA Gold card and was told that Canadian North passengers canít access the lounge (I suspect its the same for the others). Unsure if it would be different if I was flying into YOW on AC.

safe travels,

James
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:45 pm
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I was thinking of Resolute though. Iqaluit just isn't far enough north
My father was in the north in the late 60's and early 70's and for them Resolute was the jumping off point for the north. He's been as far north as you can be and still be on land. Lots of interesting tales of flying up there, mostly on single and twin otters and helicopters. It's amazing how good he is at hearing a helicopter to this day, as they would drop you off with your tent and supplies and come back a week later and get you - you hope! Assuming it wasn't fogged in at Resolute or Grise Fiord and could actually come and get you! Bush piloting at it's best, as compasses don't work and this was well before GPS, so it was all dead reckoning locating. It's beautiful country though, well worth seeing if you can.

Typically you wouldn't see polar bears as far north as Resolute or Rea Point, they live further south.

I didn't know AP points worked for going up there, thanks for mentioning it.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:48 pm
  #18  
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Originally Posted by j2simpso View Post


Yes there is, itís being stranded in that climate for days on end and suffering a slow painful death as hypothermia eventually sets in.

Switching gears for a moment, I thought Iíd also point out that any *A benefits donít apply for these bookings (I.e. priority boarding or lounge access). I tried to go into the MLL in YOW showing my boarding pass and UA Gold card and was told that Canadian North passengers canít access the lounge (I suspect its the same for the others). Unsure if it would be different if I was flying into YOW on AC.

safe travels,

James
Arrival lounge access is granted for AC E50K+ on an inbound AC flight. Actually, given the amazing lounge-access-scanner, I suspect I could just hand over a previous day's boarding pass and still have it flash green

I don't know how I'll survive without priority boarding though
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:59 pm
  #19  
 
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Churchill, MB

Ditto for flights from YWG to Churchhill. Book by calling AP, then pay the surtaxes when you check in for your flight!
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Old Jan 15, 18, 10:01 pm
  #20  
 
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Thanks OP for bringing this topic up.

I've been to Qikiqtarjuaq (YVM) on points to hike in Auyuittuq National Park. Managed to get a group of four up there, all on awards, by staggering our arrivals a bit (and using both carriers - 7F and 5T).

I can recommend Qik, Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet all as destinations that would be nice for a casual visitor who isn't necessarily going to do "serious" outdoor stuff like backpacking, overnight kayaking or mountaineering. There's basic tourist facilities (hostel-ish place for $250 or so per night, but many northern communities have nothing), tour operators who can take you out in a boat for the day to see the scenery and a beautiful natural setting.

Pond Inlet is also a nice destination for those who want to get as far north as possible but still actually have something to see/do when they get there.

Pangnirtung from above


Looking up the fjord from Pangnirtung


Qik
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Last edited by eigenvector; Jan 15, 18 at 10:12 pm
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Old Jan 15, 18, 10:08 pm
  #21  
 
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I've been wanting to head up north for a while, but it's surprisingly hard to find someone to accompany me, even when I'm paying for the flight

I was thinking of Resolute though. Iqaluit just isn't far enough north
5 EYW folks from the CRJ J cabin photo were just discussing wanting to do a similar nothern trip (at what could have been a Cabos micro DO)

Difficulty will obviously be finding enough seats.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 10:16 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by eigenvector View Post
Thanks OP for bringing this topic up.

I've been to Qikiqtarjuaq (YVM) on points to hike in Auyuittuq National Park. Managed to get a group of four up there, all on awards, by staggering our arrivals a bit (and using both carriers - 7F and 5T).

I can recommend Qik, Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet all as destinations that would be nice for a casual visitor who isn't necessarily going to do "serious" outdoor stuff like backpacking, overnight kayaking or mountaineering. There's basic tourist facilities (hostel-ish place for $250 or so per night, but many northern communities have nothing), tour operators who can take you out in a boat for the day to see the scenery and a beautiful natural setting.

Pond Inlet is also a nice destination for those who want to get as far north as possible but still actually have something to see/do when they get there.
Churchill obviously isn't as far north as those places but it's quite well equipped in terms of tourist infrastructure with tours, accommodations and restaurants all available. I've heard that circumstances are a bit tougher now that rail service is suspended, but certainly when the trains were running it was an easy place to spend a few days and not run out of things to do.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 10:28 pm
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by heraclitus View Post
Churchill obviously isn't as far north as those places but it's quite well equipped in terms of tourist infrastructure with tours, accommodations and restaurants all available. I've heard that circumstances are a bit tougher now that rail service is suspended, but certainly when the trains were running it was an easy place to spend a few days and not run out of things to do.
More stress on the locals, certainly. Not a lot of impact for tourists who are flying in.
I recommend both snorkeling with belugas and canoeing with belugas (in the summer, that is).
Dogsledding is great both winter and summer (when it's on wheels).

For those who want to "go north" but think the far north will be a little too adventurous, Churchill is a great option.

Available on Air Miles; AP is new to me and I will check out more on that.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 11:16 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
I was thinking of Resolute though. Iqaluit just isn't far enough north
Don't joke about that one - it's technically possible per Aeroplan's reward chart. In fact depending on where you're located in Canada there's quite a few possibilities (i.e. if you're in Alberta the Yukon and Northwest Territories are open).

In fact I'm kind of wondering how far one could exploit this. For instance, could I do something like FRA -> YFB -> YRB -> YCB -> FRA on a single booking for 60,000 miles? Technically I can have up to 2 stopovers on an international Aeroplan reward (I've recently done that with my YYZ -> DXB -> CAI -> ZRH -> YYZ trip for 80,000 miles). I could then purchase a cheap positioning flight from Wow for ~$400. Alternatively, I could use the 1 free stop over privilege domestically to see more as well (i.e. YYZ -> YFB -> YRB -> YYZ).

On a side note, if you're an AV geek this is a must-do trip (aside from the famous Island Hopper on UA) for several reasons, namely due it being a 737 Combi. The front half of the cabin is for cargo (and has wide cargo doors that open from the fuselage) while the back half is people. Its surreal seeing those doors open and close and seeing cargo come in and out of the plane. Consequently you have to board the aircraft from the rear (no jet bridge here!) When you're inside the cabin you'll literally see a wall around row 20 to separate the cargo from the people! Before taking off the flight attendant will likely ask for volunteers to ride at the back of the plane to better distribute weight for take off. All instructions are given in three languages (English, French and Inuktituk). There's also a single class of service (most 737s in service have at least 2 classes of service on offer). I'm sure there are a lot of other differences between this aircraft/service and others in commercial service. The Iqaluit airport is interesting as it has two sets of gates. The first set (which go South to Ottawa and Montreal) require you to go through security before boarding your flight. The second set of gates (which go North to other arctic destinations) have no security. Hence, if you're flying to YXP you just go to the gate. I doubt there are few (if any) public commercial airports in North America that have this configuration.

BTW here are some photos from my Iqaluit trip for those thinking about taking the plunge:



Sunset in Iqaluit is early in the winter months (3 PM in early November)


Can't go too far without seeing one of these.


At Syliva Grinnell Park they have lodging areas throughout where you can easily put up a tent (unsure if you need a permit to go camping at the park).


The vast barren tundra that is purely Northern.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 11:51 pm
  #25  
 
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@j2simpso

Thanks for this very informative thread and info. Hopefully this encourages more tourism up north, as I'm certainly interested now! This is what FT the best of what FT has to offer.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 11:58 pm
  #26  
 
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What an incredible post OP, this is now def on the top of my to do list before 2020
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Old Jan 16, 18, 7:05 am
  #27  
 
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These pictures! Thanks OP & others for sharing - what an amazing way to start my day.

I went to Antarctica as a teen. The far north holds a siren's call for me. I've been to Norman Wells for work, which was a funny little place (we audited a small bush pilot outfit) but it had a few hotel options and restaurants.

I keep thinking about doing one of those Arctic expedition cruises sometime, like I did for Antarctica. It would be an amazing experience. But I keep looking at the Aeroplan rewards chart and always wondered about the 15,000 Iqaluit redemption option.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 3:05 pm
  #28  
 
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I wonder if they will keep this going once they switch away from Aeroplan. I did this trip in September 2016 and it was amazing. The first time ever that I saw northern lights, among other things. We camped out for 3 days and while I was worried about the polar bears, we didn't see any, which made me strangely disappointed.

Tundra surely is a unique place.



I have more on my blog if anyone wants to see and decide if they'd like to come visit it too. A Taste of Nunavut | Frisky Freeze Blog

I'm kind of hoping to come back and head up to Pangnirtung to hike through Auyuittuq National Park. But for that airfare is not even my biggest concern

Kind of hate for this to become too well known and for availability to drop off. That said, this is not a place for everyone. Many people I know would be bored out of their minds, not to mention the weather.
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Last edited by martzipan; Jan 16, 18 at 3:14 pm
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Old Jan 16, 18, 3:22 pm
  #29  
 
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Some of these photos remind me of South Georgia/Antarctica.

I was planning on a AP trip one day... Indeed have to see what AC offers us post 2020. 15/30k points is a lot more appealing than $2-3k per person even if it means flying mid week and booking 6 months out.

Still havenít gotten really decent northern lights.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 3:38 pm
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For those that are happy with camping I would highly recommend a trip down the Nahanni. It is unforgettable in all the right ways.
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