Plan vs Reality

The plan was to fly from St John’s to Halifax to Montreal to Newark. After nearly three hours, take Amtrak to DC and then subway and bus it home.

The reality was different.

Flights to Halifax and Montreal were fine. For some reason you go through US customs in Montreal. We got yelled at by one woman. “Where are you coming from?” I thought for a moment because I wasn’t sure if St John’s or Halifax was the best answer. Before I could reply she screamed again, “Where are you coming from?”

Shut up.

We got through the first customs officer and then got pulled for a secondary inspection. I thought once I showed him what we’d bought (a necklace, candy) that we’d be fine, but I was asked twice how many international trips we’d taken in the last twelve months. (Three: Sweden, Korea, Canada.)

Cleared that hurdle only to find that our 2:00 pm flight was canceled and there was nobody at the gate to talk to. No signs. Not even a map to figure out where Air Canada’s office was.

We wandered around until I found a manned gate. The agent said, “Nobody told you go to customer service?”

I thought, What a weird question. Who would tell us? Nobody has talked to us. If someone had told us, why would I be asking you when you’re manning a gate for flights to LA?

We went to customer service as she directed. I hate dealing with canceled flights not because of the hassle, but because of the pompous people who use their cell phones to call everyone they know to try and find flights, all while bitching about the Very Important Meeting they have with a client.

Look, dude, I know you think you’re really important. But when you look at the departures board and every flight from every airline to Philadelphia, Boston, and New York is canceled, it’s the weather. Nobody is going to change the weather for you, no matter how important you think you are.

I bitched to Good Man in Korean about the people around us and he said, “You know, even if I don’t speak Korean, I know what you’re saying because of your face.”

I nodded, “I am like an actress, I am so expressive. But none of them are listening to me.”

When it finally came to our turn at 2:30, I quietly said to the agent, “Look, our final destination is not Newark. It’s Washington, DC. Can you reroute us there?”

I figured she’d say no because it was a more expensive ticket, it wasn’t the original one, there were limitations, etc. Instead she asked if we had luggage. When we said no, she laughed and said, “That really helps! I want to get you out of here because if I don’t get you out of here tonight the flights will be really messed up tomorrow!”

We were scheduled to get out at 3:00 pm, in DC before 5. Hey, we’d be getting home ~6 hours earlier than expected! I called Amtrak and although our tickets weren’t nonrefundable, we could cancel the reservation, keep the tickets, and have twelve months to transfer the face value of the tickets to a new purchase. Great, done, and we’re set.

And then! There was a cracked windshield on the 3:00 plane. Rescheduled for 7:00 and we got meal vouchers.

After wandering around the American-only-departures part of the airport, it finally draws closer to leaving time. The only problem? Good Man had a boarding pass, but he didn’t have a seat. (I did.)

Around 6:40, Good Man and Someone Else got called up to get seats. I walked up and said, “[Totally Mispronounced Last Name That My Husband Didn’t Even Recognize as His Own] is my husband.”

The agent took my boarding pass and gave us seats as close together as he could. I went back to show Good Man and realized I had Someone Else’s boarding pass. I walked back up the gate agent.

“This isn’t me. This is Someone Else.”

“Oh my! I’m so sorry! OK, well, you can just use your original boarding pass.”

“You took my boarding pass and put it in the trash.”

The gate agent looked horrified. “OK, wait, leave that here and I’ll take care of it.”

We got two seats two rows apart and he said the person sitting next to both of us appeared to be a singleton. No problem. (Although, really, why not just give me Someone Else’s seat and give her mine?)

The plane was a puddle jumper so small that even our well-within regulation carry-ons were too big and we checked them plane-side. Fine, whatever.

When we finally got on the plane, I asked Person Next to Good Man if she’d be willing to switch seats. I had a bulkhead row seat (more leg room) and figured it’s be easier for me to move than Person Next to Me. She agreed and everything was fine.

So I thought.

Right before take off the flight attendant approached us and said, “She wanted to sit there because her two friends are sitting behind you.”

Well. OK. How do you react to that? She said yes. I just stared at the attendant. Lady, it’s not my fault you can’t say “no.”

Since we flew into Dulles we Super Shuttled it home.

Still ended up getting home about an hour earlier than we planned.

Ugh. I love traveling. I generally hate getting to the travel locations.