Whitehorse Daily Star

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Air North president Joe Sparling

Delta Airlines passengers had to spend night in air terminal

The unscheduled stop of a Delta Airlines flight in Whitehorse on Saturday night saw 199 passengers stuck at the airport terminal all night.

By Stephanie Waddell on March 7, 2017

The unscheduled stop of a Delta Airlines flight in Whitehorse on Saturday night saw 199 passengers stuck at the airport terminal all night.

Staff from the Canadian Border Services Agency, Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport and Air North helped deal with the situation.

That involved everything from assisting with the landing and directing passengers off the plane into the airport, to delivering pizzas to those stranded at the airport.

Air North president Joe Sparling said this morning airports have protocols for unscheduled flights to land in cases of emergencies or as precautionary measures.

In this case, there was an issue with the oxygen system on Delta’s Boeing 757, which had been on its way to Anchorage from Minneapolis.

Saturday night happens to be the one night of the week when Air North doesn’t have a flight coming into or leaving Whitehorse.

While there were a few staff there when the call came in that the Delta flight would be landing, about a half dozen had to be called in, including ramp, counter and operations staff.

Given that the flight had not been scheduled to land in Canada, many passengers did not have a passport so couldn’t leave the airport to check in at hotels and motels.

“They were confined to the lounge,” Sparling noted.

That had Air North staff like Ed Peart putting in an order that saw 50 pizzas delivered to the American travellers.

That treat was followed by a “coffee and donut” run in the morning by Air North COO Rick Nielsen.

Since the travellers were stuck overnight at an airport with nothing to eat, Sparling said, it only made sense to get something for them.

At around 5:53 a.m. Sunday, a Delta flight from Seattle arrived to get the passengers to their destination. On board was a mechanic to work on the Boeing 757 with the mechanical problem.

Air North assisted with refuelling and de-icing the plane before it took off.

Comments (22)

Up 13 Down 0

Dean Larue on Mar 10, 2017 at 2:19 pm

Joe - Joe - Joe SparlingO
we want you on our side !

(in my best Brooklyn accent)

Up 19 Down 0

Kari Rayson on Mar 10, 2017 at 2:17 pm

I was also one of the passengers from flight 1088 that diverted to Whitehorse. I've been through Whitehorse three times before and I do have a passport (I live in AK). It was a rough night for most, completely unexpected but the kindness shown by the Air North guys was above and beyond any expectation! Whitehorse, you have some awesome citizens and we were shown just how awesome they are that night! I'm very grateful!

Up 21 Down 0

Graham MacCannell on Mar 9, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Just another reason that I'm an Air North traveler !

Up 22 Down 0

Alice Cyr on Mar 9, 2017 at 6:11 pm

Joe Sparling, a boy with Yukon roots, running an airline that makes the Yukon proud.

Up 28 Down 0

Tracie Harris on Mar 9, 2017 at 2:16 pm

So proud of being a small shareholder with Air North Yukon's Airline. Joe Sparling went the extra mile, treated the visitors to Yukon hospitality.

Up 34 Down 0

jc on Mar 9, 2017 at 11:58 am

Thats why I fly Air North.

Up 32 Down 0

Judy Matechuk on Mar 8, 2017 at 3:28 pm

Thanks Air North, Border Services and all! You did us proud again!

Up 81 Down 0

Cari Sherris on Mar 8, 2017 at 10:35 am

I was one of the passengers on the diverted Delta Flight 1088. I want to personally thank all the employees and staff at Air North and Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport for their outstanding care and concern for the comfort and needs of every passenger. They are truly remarkable individuals.
Thank you for the show of Canadian hospitality.

Up 47 Down 1

Heather Saggers on Mar 8, 2017 at 10:31 am

I am so proud to "ALWAYS RECCOMEND AIR NORTH" . I am so grateful for your assistance when family needed a break during the sickness and tragic loss of a family member 5 years ago and the many top notch flights since. Please keep the standards up and continue to show-them how its done. THANK-YOU.
The Crowther Family

Up 46 Down 0

Cath on Mar 8, 2017 at 7:48 am

I was wondering why they couldn't have been put up in a hotel. Now, I know - no passports. Once again, Air North impresses with its service. Also, many thanks to YXY staff and Canadian Border Services staff for their kindness to strangers.

Up 33 Down 4

BnR on Mar 8, 2017 at 6:50 am

Air Joe!
Sad though that since 9/11, border requirements have progressed to a point where we can't allow our neighbors to come into town and check into hotels, although that could have been challenging given the numbers.
Waddya do. Welcome to the new Millenium.

Up 44 Down 0

Angela on Mar 8, 2017 at 6:50 am

Flown air north several times: staff is wonderful, accommodating and super friendly: proven once again by their actions here = above and beyond!! Thanks...

Up 27 Down 0

Michelle coles on Mar 8, 2017 at 5:06 am

I would love to see when you have deals - I was born there and my family is still there .

Up 41 Down 0

Ferone Kronstein on Mar 7, 2017 at 11:18 pm

Hi there, my family the Hakonson's are Dawson people and many years ago my sister told me to "fly" Air North and I just have to say that Joe, your airline is one of the best and you truly do have great employees that make everyone feel good. It was only fitting that you and your staff would be so accommodating to fellow flyers.....Air North is Tops!!! It made me feel proud of you all....

Up 43 Down 0

Lenore Calnan on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Air North, you are the best!

Up 36 Down 0

Kathy Horrelt on Mar 7, 2017 at 10:04 pm

Joe, you have grown so much. I have heard so many wonderful remarks about your airline. I remember when I did your books and T-4's. I am now in Grande Prairie, AB. Kevin and Amy and grandchildren are here. You take care. Kathy

Up 37 Down 0

drum on Mar 7, 2017 at 6:44 pm

Air North is the best

Up 33 Down 0

Theresa Muir on Mar 7, 2017 at 6:24 pm

Cheers Air North, hope Delta Pays on back

Up 29 Down 0

It's Not Air North, It's Air Exceptional! on Mar 7, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Kudos to Air North, going well above and beyond is the usual MO for you! On a different subject have the ATR 42s such as shown in the background of the picture gone into service yet, or when will they?

Up 42 Down 0

Susan Burton on Mar 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm

Way to go, Air North! This company always goes the extra mile to show the true Yukon spirit! I am proud to have once worked for them!

Up 119 Down 6

Mr M on Mar 7, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Way to go Air North and Employees of Air North as well as Border Services. Yukon Hospitality at its Best. Air North Yukon's only Airline.

Up 128 Down 3

Al on Mar 7, 2017 at 3:36 pm

To the folks at Air North - once again you have shown what a great company and asset you are to our community. Your act of kindness is great to see. With exemplary service in the air and on the ground no wonder the majority of Yukoners' want to fly with you. Thanks and hats off to those involved...

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