Delta Air Lines gave guests an unexpected look at Whitehorse

Delta Air Lines paid the Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport a surprise visit on Saturday night. Their Boeing 757 N6713Y had to make a precautionary landing after the emergency oxygen supply dropped below 50%. It had over 200 passengers and crew on board.

Every now and then, Whitehorse receives an emergency landing of note. The 2 most exciting have been the two Korean Boeing 747s that were diverted here on September 11, 2001, and a Nippon Cargo Boeing 747-8F that landed here on May 23rd, 2013, after a fire warning.

On Sunday morning, I got a phone call from a friend telling me that a Delta Air Lines plane was at the gate, and Cathy and I and the dogs were out the door a few minutes later. We arrived at the very quiet airport at 10:25 to find this scene.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
A check of the registration on my phone revealed that N6713Y is a Boeing 757-232(WL), and that it had been bound for Anchorage from Minneapolis/St Paul with flight 1088. It landed at Whitehorse at about 8:40 pm on Saturday, and another Delta Air Lines Boeing 757-200 had arrived at 05:53 Sunday from Seattle, picked up the passengers, and left soon after for Anchorage.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
A mechanic had been flown up from Seattle to fix the oxygen problem.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon

We learned that many of the passengers didn’t have passports, so everyone had to spend the night in the in-transit lounge. Air North brought in about 50 pizzas for a late snack, and all the luggage was unloaded. Some people needed medications from the plane, and others wanted strollers for their youngsters. Before they boarded the new plane on Sunday morning, Air North served up a Continental breakfast of fresh muffins and coffee for everyone. All of this was done by airport, Air North, and Canada Border Services Agency employees called in for the emergency.

A broader view of the airport.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
At 10:56, everything was stowed, the captain had a look around, and then he boarded the aircraft.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
Air North’s de-icing truck is seen at 11:03.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
The fuel truck arrived a minute later. Calculating that we had a bit of time to spare, we went back home to get binoculars and my aircraft radio, then returned to the airport.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
Almost finished the de-icing, right at noon.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
At -23°C, it takes a minute to get things warmed up enough for jet fuel to burn efficiently, so the engine start-ups are quite ugly.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
Starting to taxi at 12:07. Having the aircraft radio paid off here, as I was able to hear the control tower close the main runway so the 757 could use it to taxi to the south end of the runway, as the normal taxiway is too small for it.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon
At 12:15, N6713Y was on its way back to Minneapolis/St Paul, empty.

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon

Delta Air Lines Boeing 757 at Whitehorse, Yukon

It was great to soon see a comment on Air North’s Facebook page: “A huge THANK YOU to the gentlemen of Air North when Delta flight 1088 had to divert to Whitehorse on 3-4-17. Your kindness is greatly appreciated. Many of us had been traveling all day and though many were not happy with the situation the Air North guys went out of their way to provide food, water, coffee and a warm place to wait for a new plane.”

After the plane left, we went into town for lunch, and finally got home 3½ hours after we’d left. Seeing Yukoners helping out like that really is a nice way to start a day. And I’m also very thankful to have a network of friends who help me get stories like this ๐Ÿ™‚

UPDATE: On March 16, full details of the incident were posted at the Aviation Herald:

A Delta Airlines Boeing 757-200, registration N6713Y performing flight DL-1088 from Minneapolis, MN to Anchorage, AK with 206 people on board, was enroute at FL360 about 50nm westnorthwest of Whitehorse, YT when the crew received a low pressure indication for the crew oxygen system. The captain tested his oxygen mask and found it was not working. The crew worked the related checklist and initiated a diversion to Whitehorse. The aircraft landed safely in Whitehorse.

A replacement Boeing 757-200 registration N538US was dispatched to Whitehorse and reached Anchorage with a delay of 21 hours.

The Canadian TSB reported maintenance observed a leak on the captain’s oxygen mask hose connection and replaced the mask and storage box. In addition the crew oxygen regulator was replaced, too.

The occurrence aircraft was able to position back to Minneapolis about 15 hours after landing.


Delta Air Lines gave guests an unexpected look at Whitehorse — 24 Comments

  1. …and this is why Air North is without doubt a truly great airlines. Not only in the skies are they one of the best but they show exemplary care even on the ground for those in need.

    WELL DONE AIR NORTH – you make all Yukoner’s proud – thank you.

    • Hats off to Air North.. Always reminding us Yukoners that left home the friendly hospitality we left behind

  2. Kudos to Air North and Yukoners! They are the best. Hopefully many of those passengers will return for a visit.

  3. Way to go Air North, you’ve made Canada proud. I had the pleasure to fly your Airline last year, a thoroughly enjoyable experience…. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž

  4. Once again great Canadian hospitality! Great job by Air North and the people of Whitehorse. You make us all proud!

  5. Great work Air North. I believe Yukoners are all that great. My first trip to the Yukon, while in Dawson, I entered a small coffee shop to check my emails and send a few to friends; that was in 2001 when internet was not easily accessible. Julie, who greeted me told me to take a chair and use her own computer while she went to get some muffins for both of us…..she left for the muffins and when she came back, I had checked my emails and had coffee with her and she never ever wanted me to pay for anything, muffins, coffee or the use of her computer. That’s just the way you people are and why I keep going back. Don’t ever change !

  6. I found this blog through the Air North Facebook page and I am the person who commented on the wonderful guys at Air North. I was one of the few silent travelers who had already known there was nothing I could do to change the situation. It reminded me of when I was in basic training. Suck it up; they’ll get it taken care of. There were several others who were not so cool about things. A few individuals were rather rude and persistently nagging the Air North guys. I was certainly embarrassed as a US citizen to see the kindness of our neighbors to the north being spat on. I might have slept 20 minutes in the in-transit lounge for the 12 hours we were there. I saw everything, heard everything. I tracked the incoming replacement aircraft while listening to people complain that we’d be stuck there longer than we were being told. I kept quiet. I had a passport. Several of us did. I’ve been to Whitehorse three times before and found it to be a nice place. I follow the Yukon Quest-it is my favorite mushing race of all. The guys at Air North did an outstanding job considering the circumstances. Yes it was uncomfortable for us and understandably we were not very happy. I was and am forever grateful for the hospitality of Air North. For the pizza, the water, coffee, snacks, Tim Hortons muffins, and their professionalism. They never once got ugly with anyone. Even when a fellow traveler was non stop nagging about who he was and how he didn’t think he should have to stay there, etc. People like that make us all look bad. I wanted to shake every Air North person’s hand that morning as we left but I wasn’t able to. You all should be super proud of those guys. They were awesome!

    • Huge thanks, Kari, for giving an even cleaner picture of how wonderful the folks at “Air North, Yukon’s Airline” are. I hope that you get to return to Whitehorse under better circumstances, perhaps to watch the Yukon Quest start some year ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. This is exactly the hospitality visitors of Yukon can expect, where a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. I travel all over Canada to do my work and my favorite flying experience is Air North Always. Congratulations to Air North staff who are always great hosts.

  8. My hats off to Air North for pulling out the stops and helping us out in a time of need! Thank you all so much!
    (Bud – mechanic flown up from Seattle)

  9. I was a passenger on the flight diverted to Whitehorse. Hats off to the men and women of North Air who came to our rescue, offered us a warm place out of the cold and good food in our bellies. North Air you guys are wonderful and helped make a bad situation better through your kindness and generosity. I hope that Delta can reimburse you the costs you incurred while we were stranded at the airport. Thank you North Air- You Rock!!

  10. I have traveled to Whitehorse several times with Air North from Vancouver.
    Air North is truly a great airlines, and it’s definately the best airlines I have flown with.

  11. Wow…This was a great read… Congrats to all the helpers๐Ÿ˜†sounds like our Yukon secret of being AWESOME has leaked out. Good Job Air North Company and their awesome Staff!

  12. I was Chief of security for Whitehorse international in 1984 when air north was a small bud. I hadn’t flown in over 30 years and last year let Air North take me for a ride. As a lowly passenger that I now am, they were fantastic as most of you know. I never forget the man at the top, his vision, class and grace filters down thru the ranks. I hear he was raised around the Regina Hotel but not sure although in that part of town you would surely receive the traits of a true Yukoner and one of those traits is to spread that genuine supreme humility inherited by wonderful people from a wonderful land in the great white north. YUKON. Congratulations on a job well done. I feel proud to call myself a Yukoner. Thank you Joe.

  13. What a great read.. including the comments.
    There are always people who believe their needs are greater than others but fortunately they are in the minority. The greater good more often prevails !
    My wife has been keenly watching advertising for holidaying in Canada, if my body was willing !! (46 years since my last visit) which is also why I love reading your postings Murray.
    Applause to Air North and company from the land down under.