The happier side of flight.
First Air, unlike UA and AA, provided excellent service evocative of a more romantic and adventurous era of flight: complimentary food and drink, friendly staff, and airports of, um, character. Nanisivik Airport, for example, may be a metal hut on the north end of Baffin Island (thanks for the pics, Ryan), but I'd rather be there sipping hot chocolate than at yet another Chili's in O'Hare.
Our first leg was a three hour flight to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. At the south end of Baffin, it's not exactly a major metropolis, but it is the hub of activity in these parts. The girl sitting next to me on the flight was returning from a shopping trip to Ottawa, but was disappointed with what she found: "It was all pastels, capris and strappy sandals. Not really Iqaluit, you know?"
Although in the south-eastern corner of Nunavut, Iqaluit was already impressively Arctic: bare of trees, covered in snow and cold as hell. Then, four hours north to Nanisivik, and another hour or so to Resolute. Here we're about 2000 miles north of Ottawa, and about 4300 miles north of Hawaii. We're north of everything here - only about 200 kilometres from the magnetic North Pole!