Friday, October 1, 2010

adventures in airport

11:27 am

As a general rule, I like airports… There’s the “love actually” people watching moments, where you see the joyful hellos and the sorrow of goodbyes, and the broad spectrum of public displays of love.

There’s also the excitement of going to a difference place. I’ve always loved that about air travel… You get in, time passes, and when you get out you’re somewhere totally different.  You might see some clouds go by or the sun come up or go down… but unlike road or train travel, you don’t really see the transition from one place to the next. It’s kind of like magic.  You board the plane in the familiar, read your book and snooze a while, and suddenly the landscape has profoundly changed.

Then there is that satisfying sense of being almost home… of knowing that you’ll go out those doors and be back in the familiar once again. That sleeping in your own bed is just a short drive away. That when you get out of the shower you’ll have a whole wardrobe to choose from, and not just those three shirts to choose from.

But there are times when my fondness for airports can wear a little thin. Like the time I was flying across Canada to visit my family for the weekend.  Fly out Friday night, and back Sunday afternoon. Which meant that if all went well, I’d have one solid day of visiting, plus a melancholic morning of knowing I’d have to leave in a few hours… and two nights of not much sleep. Only to get half way across the country, land in the middle of a blizzard and get stuck in the Toronto airport for 18 hours… only to fly home without ever having made it the rest of the way. No visit with the family to make the long hours on the plane and even longer hours in the airport worthwhile.

Or right now. Can’t say that I’m loving the Dulles Airport at this very moment.

Between my volunteer driver oversleeping, and heavy rain that slowed traffic en route to the airport down to a frustrating crawl… I arrived 90 seconds too late to check in for my 6:25am flight. Less than two minutes, and they wouldn’t let me check my bag for the flight. If I’d had no luggage, they would have let me get on.

So, for a fee, they rebooked me on a later flight. One that would get me to my destination just two hours later than planned…That’s not so bad.  So I wrote an e-mail to my friend who was supposed to pick me up at the airport, had a coffee, called my sweetheart at work and chatted for a few minutes… and that hour and a half delay just flew by.

We boarded the plane only to have the airline staff tell us that the seal around the door was leaking water… and if it was leaking water, it may well also leak pressure (and air) while in flight… So they called maintenance to come take a look.

After a while, they told us that we could get off the plane, as they didn’t know how long it was going to take to repair. And then, as more time went by… they started rebooking people who were not going to make their connecting flights. I was one of those people.

By the time I got to the counter, any chance of booking me on an early-ish flight to Edmonton had already come and gone.  My luggage, meanwhile, went on to Cincinnati  (and ultimately, Edmonton) without me.

I’ve been here for five hours now, and have another four to go before I catch the first flight of my third attempt to get to Edmonton today. The muzak that was pleasant enough for 20 minutes while you wait to board is starting to rub my already somewhat frazzled nerves in the wrong direction… You know that feeling when you’ve been wearing a hat that’s a little too tight for a little too long and when you take it off your hair hurts? It’s like that…

12:23 pm

They’ve finally posted the gate for my next flight. It’s not at this terminal. Sigh.

1:47 pm

So, after a another train and a long walk down long and crowded corridors I finally found my gate. Only to be told that I had to go to customer service to get my boarding pass.  I arrived at customer service  mere moments after the crowd of people whose flight to San Francisco had been cancelled. Stood in line for an hour to get my boarding pass printed. And now (*insert  sound of angels here*), I am scheduled to board my flight in about 40 minutes. HUZZAH!!!

3:30 pm

Spoke too soon. Wouldn’t you know it.
Starting to lose my sense of humour now…..

3:50 pm

I’m getting on a plane., hoping it will actually take off. AND really hoping it lands in time for me to make my connecting flight.

Post Script... I arrived in Denver with ten minutes to dash through the airport to make my flight. And arrived in Edmonton 11 hours later than planned.  However, have had a lovely, short but sweet visit with my friend and her new baby... and am now on the bus (with free wi-fi!! a service the Dulles Airport can not match) to Calgary. I'm talking clear and cold outside, rolling farmland and golden fields, and the promise of mountains on the horizon.

Feels great.


  1. Ugh. I don't know what else to say. Airports suck it.

  2. Glad you made it! I already commented on this blog- the marshmallows and sweet potatoes. Did you read it? You never seem to put my comments up..... :(

  3. i'm a slacker... sometimes it takes me weeks to check back, or write a new blog. but i always post the comments as soon as i see them, believe it or not!