It’s been almost two weeks since I arrived back home to On-terrible (Ontario) from a recent trip to British Columbia. Like Colorado, I wish I lived there, everything is gorgeous, even when it’s foggy, cloudy, and cold, but not cold enough to snow. As you’d probably expect, I took Horo along with me for some photos, what you might not have expected was I brought along her new friend Alice. Whom I’ve yet to post about as she arrived shortly before I left for the trip, but more on her in another post I suppose.
The trip itself wasn’t planned, I’d been thinking about going to British Columbia and visiting some family and friends out there, but I wasn’t sure when I’d go. Two weeks prior to the trip I received a phone call from my mother asking me if I wanted to go to British Columbia with her and my sister, and more or less while on the phone I booked my ticket. That’s about as much planning as there was. The ticket price wasn’t bad and I even had a friend who gave me a discount which helped out.
On the day of the trip I arrived at the airport an hour and 20 minutes before my flight, I’d checked in online and chosen my seat, all I needed to do was get my boarding pass and baggage tags. I walked up to one of the self-serve kiosks, scanned the barcode displayed on my phones screen, and requested it print my boarding pass and baggage tags. It only printed the boarding pass. Confused, I tried another kiosk thinking perhaps the first one was just out of baggage tags, and then another, now I had three boarding passes and still no baggage tags. Quickly I looked around and tried to find a representative to talk to, but there wasn’t one. So I jumped a line and quickly asked someone at the desk and they told me they were international and I was looking for domestic and that sometimes the machines don’t print tags for everyone. This was reasonably unhelpful. Finally I found someone over in domestic but unfortunately they couldn’t help me either because they were special needs assistance not assistance for the kiosks. Super frustrated at this point and my flight getting nearer and nearer, I start scanning around the airport and realize I’m not the only one experiencing this issue. Lots of people are trying to get their baggage tags and there’s no one helping anyone.
By this point about 20 minutes had passed meaning I had 60 minutes until my flight, this sounds like plenty of time, however luggage has to be checked 45 minutes prior to the departure time, this meant I had 15 minutes to resolve my issue. Finally a representative for the airline showed up and we all rushed her asking questions. She essentially says we’ve all missed our flights and it’s too late, and that we should just line up in this line and wait to talk to the woman at the counter to get booked on another flight. We ask if we can skip to the front of the line because we’re going to miss our flights and she informs us most of the line is in the same predicament. She requests over her radio for more reps at the counter since there was only ONE and sure enough a couple more reps arrived, 20 minutes later and 5 minutes past last call for baggage. There were now 40 minutes until my flight departed, I’d accepted that I’d missed it and that the few plans I did make were out the window, so I texted my friend in British Columbia, who was still asleep at this time, telling him that I wouldn’t be able to meet him for lunch as I’d missed my flight.
After I’d waited in the line for what seemed like forever, I reach the counter and the rep doesn’t say much. I say that I’ve missed my flight, she takes my boarding pass and says she’ll put me on standby for the next flight and assures me that I’ll get a seat. I checked my luggage and made my way through security and towards my new gate. All this happens quite quickly and I arrive in time to have caught my original flight, except my baggage wouldn’t have been with me. So I continued on to my new gate and asked the rep at the gate about my standby ticket, he assured me that he’d call me up and that I should sit down and wait, so I do. They never called me up. After almost all the passengers had boarded I walked up and asked once again and they now told me that there were no available seats and that I would have to go and talk to the service desk, all the way at the other side of the terminal.
I made my way towards the service desk, seemingly miles away from the gate I was just at and approach the rep behind the desk. I told her about my situation and she asked me if they booked me standby on the next flight. Of course they hadn’t. So the rep started looking up the available flights to see what she could do for me, as it would turn out, and it should have been obvious given the number of people who had also had my same problem, each flight to Vancouver had like 20 people waiting standby already and there was no way I’d be getting on any flights in the next couple hours. The only way I was going to get a flight was to commit to a seat much later in the day, so I did, a flight four hours from then. The rep starts punching in the information and then says to me, the seat she had had already been booked during our short conversation, but she could offer me a flight two hours later than that, so six hours now. I accepted. Then the rep asked for my checked baggage ticket, I didn’t have it. The very first rep I’d spoken to had stuck it on my boarding pass, which the gate rep took and replaced with another boarding pass without transferring the little sticker. The rep then quickly went to call the gate and her phone rang first, she answered, it was the gate with my baggage ticket. I was a little bit relieved my luggage wasn’t lost, maybe.
Looking back, it would have been better for them to suggest I fly my original flight without my baggage, and that they would just send it on the next flight. It would have been better for everyone involved I think, as I would have been able to meet up with my friend for lunch in Vancouver, and then pick up my baggage when I went back to the airport to meet up with my family who’d be arriving three hours later than me. They would have had one more passenger on the plane at least helping fill what was probably a less than full 777-300. Instead due to all the inconveniences, they offered to reimburse me $400 , making my flight only $172, not that I’m complaining about that part in particular.
Looking on the bright side however, the airline essentially paid me $50/hr to sit in the airport. Time which I used to take photos of Horo and Alice while people watched me. Which did make me a little bit self-conscious and probably didn’t do the best job. But, $50/hr for it, must have been good enough, and we get some scenery you might not usually see with dolls. Win win right? Still, it was eight hours and stress…
That wasn’t the end of the troubles though. Initially I had been booked on a Boeing 777-300 with a window seat near the back of the plane, my preferred location. However I ended up on an aging Boeing 767-300 in the middle row in the middle seat over the wings. No window to look out and see city lights and even the windows I could see were just full of wing. Ok fine, it was night time at this point anyway so there’s not a lot I was going to see between cities but I would have liked to see the city lights as we left and as we landed. As soon as I sat down in my seat, the overhead light fell on me, this wass not a good sign and foreshadowed further issues I’d experience on the plane.
Once we’d taken off I plugged my charger into the outlet provided and started to charge my phone, or so I thought. My battery dropped to 20% pretty quickly reading manga, watching videos, and listening to podcasts. I tried the backup USB cable I’d brought and plugged that in. That pretty much broke the in seat entertainment unit. I’d been using it to watch the flight path but at this point it stopped updating or doing anything at all. I asked a flight attendant if they could fix it somehow and she said of course! and requested a reboot. The device rebooted but it was borked forever, I’d asked three different attendants and had it rebooted three times. Now I had no entertainment whatsoever, my phone would be dead and I needed what battery was left for phone calls when I arrived, the in-seat entertainment was dead, I had no window with which to try and see anything at all. I could only stare at the back of my seat or other peoples’ and watch their silent movies.
Through all of this I kept wondering if my luggage would even arrive in Vancouver, since I’d checked it hours and hours before my flight, they had plenty of time to lose it somewhere. As it would turn out, they’d sent my luggage on the first plane I’d waited standby on where they’d taken my tag, so it was waiting for me at the airport in Vancouver for 7 hours. Had I chosen to get a full refund and go home, they wouldn’t have been able to return my luggage to me, how derpy would that have been. “Sir, uh, we’ve actually sent your luggage to Vancouver already, yes, without you, when you could have made your initial flight.” Never the less, my luggage was there waiting for me, they of course did not tell me this. So I waited at the carousel until it was empty and there was no luggage left and mine wasn’t there and finally walked over to the lost luggage desk to find my luggage there already waiting…
Of course, arriving 8 hours later than intending my ride to my destination was long gone, they had of course told me about a bus service that would take me 3/4 of the way to my destination and that they’d pick me up there. The bus cost $60 and would take me to Whistler, and would take 3 hours for a 2 hour drive since it had to stop and pick up people at a hotel, and stop and drop off people at various places along the way. Being nighttime I missed all the great scenery on the way there, and again, having a mostly dead phone had no entertainment for 3 hours.
My vacation was not off to a great start. But at least my plane didn’t crash, nor the bus, and I did arrive safely at my destination 22 hours after waking up. It could only get better from here!