Wednesday, 27 August 2008

not so fast

The Vancouver airport is often a bit of a nightmare and today was no exception. When I got the airport, the line to drop off a bag was looooooong. It wound around all the little Canadiana souvenir and chocolate shops almost to the security gate. I arrived at 11:30 and it took me until 12:24 to get my bag tagged by an Air Canada agent and then I had to get in another line to drop my bag on the conveyor belt. There were no agents helping people in the line and so some people -- people who gave themselves only the required 60 minutes -- missed their flights. I made it through security and dashed down the hall to get to gate 52 in time for the 12:35 boarding time only to find that there was no gate 52 and my flight had been cancelled. Don't you think it was a little odd that at 12:24 the agent did not know that the flight was cancelled and checked my bags on to a flight that did not exist?

Anyway, a sort of harried woman was trying to get people who had to be in Toronto in time for another flight onto the next plane and the rest of us had to stand around and listen to her sputter and and tutt. Then Steve showed up all testy and full of self-importance and proceeded to redo all that she had done and yell at people and dash back in forth in a futile attempt to exert some control over us all. He got 12 people on the flight and then put 70 of us on standby for a flight leaving later in the afternoon. The gate for that flight was near a Starbucks so I got one of their horrible coffees settled in for the wait. It turned out that the flight was full. I went to a very nice unflappable AC agent and asked that if I could stay overnight, would it be better just to try again tomorrow. She said that that was exactly what she would recommend. She looked me up in the computer and it turned out that I was already booked on a flight for the 8:00 the next morning but Steve had neglected to mention that. Ms. Unflappable booked me on a later flight and got me a seat by the emergency exit with "14 feet of leg room -- the best seat on the plane." She offered me a hotel but I refused and asked for cab fare. She agreed. And I headed off to get a cab chit and reclaim my luggage. The baggage guy called the handlers and they told him that my luggage had been loaded onto the standby flight and could not be recovered. I was given an overnight kit of a t-shirt, deodorant, a razor and a toothbrush and told I could get my bag in Toronto the next day.

I grabbed a cab (not one cab driver nor the cab assignment guy knew about the chits so I paid and got a receipt in full confidence that AC would honour it -- a misplaced confidence as it turned out) to head down to meet Suz and Paul. We went to Steamworks for a well-deserved beer and plate of food. And then home to sleep in my new t-shirt.

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