I got to say, while it's the most expensive haircut I've ever had, which is ironic given the amount of hair on my head these days, there is something nice about sitting down and have a chat with Scotty, the local barber.
Oh, and in case you're wondering, a hair cut is $25, and I always tip an extra $5 - so it's $30 for about 15-20 minutes work.
Previous discussions have been about vacations or politics, but today's topic was Westjet's decision to start flying from Edmonton to Yellowknife for a whopping $376 return, and that includes all taxes and surcharges. Not to be outdone, Canadian North and First Air promptly dropped their flights from about $600 return to $273 return.
Granted, Westjet is only flying to Yellowknife from the beginning of May to the end of October. Still, it's a big move and one that a lot of people in the north are watching closely. Even those of us who live in the Eastern Arctic.
I don't think anyone in Iqaluit would really be expecting a $375 return flight to Ottawa, but we could certainly go for a $800-$900 one, no problem. There's a lot of grumbling with the northern airline right now. Granted, people often tend to be crooked with them, but First Air did itself no big public relations favour by giving its board of directors a massive series of bonuses for no good reason.
People have a degree of understanding that it's expensive to operate in the north and will cut you some slack...right up to the moment you give yourself huge bonuses and appear to show no remorse over it. Then all bets, and loyalty, are off.
So with Westjet going into Yellowknife a lot of people around town seem to be hoping that they might find their way from Ottawa up here. And yes, the northern airlines are "threatening" to reevaluate the way they do business by giving "free" blankets, towels, meals, etc with this increased competition.
Look, it's a three hour flight from here to Ottawa. All I require from that plane is the following - that it leave on time, that it get to its destination safely and on time, that I have a bit of legroom and the seat be reasonably comfortable. That's it. The rest is nice, but hardly requiring a $1,800 ticket price. Oh yeah, prices don't seem to have dropped back much from when oil was $140 a barrel to where it is now, closer to $40. Funny how that works.
So yeah, I'd love to see Westjet give Iqaluit a try. I'd support them even when Canadian North and First Air would do the predictable - undercut them by $100 or so. Because they're hoping you do the greedy thing and go with the cheaper fare and drive away the new competitor. If the new guy gives up, well, you're back to $1,800 plane tickets again.
This is all speculation, of course. Westjet hasn't said they're coming here. But boy, there sure seems to be a lot of people hoping they give Iqaluit a try. Maybe I should go and drop them a line...just to give them a bit of encouragement.
1. The hardest part - Ryan Adams and the Cardinals*
2. Saint Simon - The Shins
3. Shame on you - Hot Hot Heat
4. Finest work song - REM
5. Neighbourhood #3 (Power out) - The Arcade Fire