KENMORE, Wash. — The sun rises over Lake Washington on what looks like a typical day for Kenmore Air. But this day — April 1, 2022 — is anything but typical.
"The significance of today is that Canada just opened up for us,” said Allison Russell, Kenmore Air’s customer service manager.
"Today is our first trip back to Victoria, scheduled service, in over two years. We're pretty excited about it,” said Jay Todhunter, Kenmore Air’s chief pilot and the man flying the floatplane plane to Victoria today.
It's fitting that Sue Vandermorris, a Canadian, lands this distinction.
“I'm Victoria Passenger #1, which is incredible, yes, my first brush with celebrity,” said the Toronto resident who was visiting friends in Seattle and was able to book the flight to Victoria for a business trip when the schedule opened up.
She adds that she has seen Kenmore’s floatplanes many times, but had never been up in one, and was excited. Passenger #1 had the whole plane to herself for the first leg of the journey over to Seattle's Lake Union to pick up the rest of the passengers for this fully booked flight.
"With our passengers, there's been a lot of enthusiasm, we've been getting calls every day for months and months waiting for Victoria so everybody's really excited,” Todhunter said.
The flight takes thirty-five to forty minutes. And to travel by air to Victoria, or any place in Canada, you'll need a passport, proof of vaccination, and you'll need to enter your itinerary on the arriveCAN app. Plus — currently, a negative COVID test is required to get back into the states.
But it’s worth the extra effort.
"Victoria's a great place to go for the day or the weekend," Russell said. "Flying into the Inner Harbor it's hard to describe, it's something you have to experience."
For Kenmore Air and Victoria, it may be back to business as usual. But none of the passengers on board, in particular Victoria Passenger #1, are taking this flight for granted.
"It's my first trip since March 2020!” laughed Vandermorris.
Russell added the sentiment everyone who loves to travel is feeling right now.
“It just feels good, it feels like things are getting back to normal, and we're happy for our customers, we're happy for tourism, we're happy for the region, both regions and it's just really exciting.”