Sunday, June 22, 2008

travel war stories

There are many reasons why I don't like to fly Air Canada... and the only reason I did was because I was flying to Seattle. On my way back today, here is a quick snapshot to reinforce why I don't like to.

Air Canada - self-tagging. Defeats the purpose of pre-printing your boarding pass since you have to re-print it before they allow you to print your luggage tag. Plus the chaos of everyone asking whether they can go drop off their bags since they already pre-printed their pass (no, they still have to print their tags).

Standing in line at a kiosk for self-tagging to have one Air Canada employee assisting a passenger with getting the tag on. I asked her if she was done and she said no. Well, maybe not done sticking the tag on the bag, but perhaps move out of the way so you're not holding up traffic?

One central baggage scale. The guy in front of me was already annoyed at the mess and was not a happy camper when he tossed his bag on and the machine started blinking red, beeping, and telling him he had to see a service agent at the counter because his bag was overweight. It was (by 3 kilos maybe) and he was told he could either take something out, or pay a $50 surcharge. He was so mad he said, "I don't care!" and handed over his credit card. I followed by tossing my underweight bag on afterwards. The girl behind me mentioned that now she knows why she flies Westjet. I concurred.

Checking in at the gate. Apparently we were assigned a different aircraft so my seat no longer matched what it said when I checked in. I had an exit aisle seat but now I was just in an ordinary seat. And others were scrambling to be reassigned a proper seat since they lost theirs.

Doing a false takeoff. I'd never experienced this. Shut my eyes when we started taxi-ing on the runway and then was thrown forward when the plane suddenly braked. A window in the flight deck area had popped out. I don't know how that happened but I was glad it was on the ground when it did happen.

Waiting another 15 min. for the brakes to cool off and then another 30 min to get in line again to take off.

Watching the movie on a shared screen. People walking up and down the aisle, a guy in a few rows ahead who loved to hold his newspaper high enough for everyone behind him to read, and also at the same time blocking the screen.

Landing in a thunderstorm. Getting to the carousel to be told the airport was on red alert. No one allowed on the tarmac. Had to wait 45 min for the storm to pass, and another 30 before my bag came out.

Getting in a taxi outside and watching the chaos/commotion - someone had been struck by a cab and was lying outside on the road. Police cruiser was flashing and on standby.

12 hour non-work day. A day that started with me leaving my house at 5:45am and arriving in Toronto to my apartment at 5:50pm.