Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Hell of a Trip

Well – we’re finally back home. It feels like we’ve been away for months, and I think we did enough traveling to be comparable!

Our flight from Ontario to BC was relatively smooth, although, at the time, we thought we go the short end of the stick! On a five-hour flight we were in the very last row, beside the bathrooms and just in front of the steward area. It was loud, the stewards wouldn’t stop bitching about everything and anything (mostly their co-workers), and the movie choices sucked. If we had known what was coming, we would have relished that time.

It had been snowing in BC – a relatively rare phenomenon where we were staying. We thought we were going to be lucky though, since it snowed the day before we were flying out, but not on the actual day. In fact, the sun was shining!

Then we got to the airport. The line to check in took one-and-a-half hours to get through, and when we got to the front our flight was canceled. The only option they could give us was standby on ONE flight (the rest were full already – even for standby), and we were told that there was not a good chance we would get on.

So, we had the bright idea of renting a car and driving from BC to Alberta (normally about a 10 hour drive). We ran to the rental car booths, but no one would do a one-way rental. We grabbed a cab and went to the bus/train depot to see what we could do there (at this point we felt very much like contestants on the Amazing Race). No dice – there were no trains to Calgary OR Edmonton the next two days. The buses were full.

We saw a Hertz counter, and ask if we can rent a car to go one-way to Alberta. Absolutely! For $600. BAH!!

After a few minutes of contemplation, we decided to go for it. We figured we wouldn’t get out of BC in at least a couple of days if we didn’t (thank goodness we were right – we probably would have been stuck there for 4-5 days). The drive wasn’t perfect, but we got to Alberta after 15 hours of driving and a pit-stop in Revelstoke for a $120 nap.

The weather was fine in Alberta and we had a wonderful Christmas. We managed to change our flight to a day later so we could make up for the lost time we took while driving. The day of our flight was beautiful – warm, partly cloudy skies – should be no problem for flying, right?

Nope. The flight was delayed coming in. Our gate changed three times. Once the plane DID arrive the gate couldn’t attach to the plane properly, delaying the flight even longer. We were getting antsy at this time because we had a two-hour lay-over before the last leg home, and at this point it was shaved down to 30 minutes. Short, but still enough time to make it.

Once we boarded the plane though, it took the baggage handlers 45 minutes to load the plane. 45 MINUTES!! We took off at 5:30pm MST, and the flight was supposed to arrive in 3 hours and 36 minutes – just after 11pm EST. Our connecting flight left at 11:10pm EST.

After running to the gate we managed to make it on the plane with about 30 seconds to spare. Our luggage, of course, did not make the trip. So, we are now without four bags, and are just praying our luck kicks back in and we actually receive it before the new year (or at all).

Next Christmas, we’re staying right here!!!