The Gander Airport blues

The bar at the Gander International Airport, 1969

The bar at the Gander International Airport – 1969

While Lorne and I were out in Newfoundland with CF-ODM, we would occasionally manage to sample the night life in the various towns we were in. After ending up in Gander, we hit the highlights and then proceeded to the bar in the Gander International Airport. If you had a ticket on an international flight, the airport bar was a welcome place, 24 hours a day. Otherwise, beyond normal operating hours, it was no ticket, no laundry.

Don’t ask me why we relocated to that deserted place, but obviously we felt it was necessary at the time. For some obscure reason, one of the locals had followed us out to the airport. Given our condition, I’m sure he had good reason for not taking kindly to mainlanders. Discretion being the better part of valour, we took it upon ourselves to find a way into the bar and hope to avoid a parking-lot melee before we ran out of expense account funds.

Lorne and I already knew that we couldn’t sit in the bar without an international ticket. After a lengthy discussion, it became up to me to venture out into the blackest night, wander across the tarmac to the helicopter and collect the journey log. Lorne remained behind to hold the fort in the departure lounge.

When I finally located the terminal building (there must have been a heavy fog that night), I let the bartender have a look at the log book. Accompanied by a convincing story about how we would be departing for Ireland in the next week, weather permitting, the barkeep graciously allowed us into seats at his most coveted bar. Need I add that both Lorne and I congratulated ourselves on the initiative we showed in coming up with that bit of blarney?

There was no way in hell that the local was going to be allowed into the bar. After cooling his heels in the departure area for what seemed like an eternity, he eventually got bored with himself and left.

For the remainder of the summer in Gander (and we returned many times), we were allowed to partake of the after-hour airport amenities, including bar service. Not once were we questioned about the practicality of crossing the north Atlantic in a Bell 47.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *