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Posted by on Mar 26, 2012 in Canada, North America

Chrystal’s Airport Fail

Chrystal’s Airport Fail

I generally do not enjoy passing through the Lester Pearson airport in Toronto, Canada. It is gigantic and the Thunder Bay flights are always at the far end of the airport in a secluded section; as if they do not want us to mingle with their other customers; or perhaps it is the tiny populous heading to Thunder Bay. Either way- it is a long hike to the dunce cap corner flights.

I should of known things were going to be a complete fail. I arrived on time like a well-organized human; this trait would soon deteriorate and I would turn into a bumbling, stumbling fool.

First thing to turn south was my difficulty with finding the Air Canada check in. How hard could that be? Well, for me, a well-seasoned traveler; way harder than it needed to be. As it turns out the Air Canada to Canada screens indicating I check-in at Section A are incorrect, as late evening (they hate Thunder Bay and flights do not depart until past 10pm) the Air Canada to Canada gate is altered to Section C. This could have been easy – I could of asked somebody at the desk. But Section A said super elite, and this deterred me; would they frown at me as I walk up knowing I am not of the super elite status? Shun me to the super-cheap I got this ticket on sale economy section? After walking back and forth confuzzled I eventually went up and was informed of the Section A to Section C late night alteration. Ok fine – small hurtle – completed.

 

Next up I head through security. I place my backpack in the designated box and remove my laptop knowing that is the question headed in my direction. The nice security lady smiles at me and asked for my boarding pass. I smile back, reach into my passport, and frown; it had flown the coup (see that pun in lieu of my flying? Sigh…I’m not funny). Where has it gone I JUST had it.  I search around, touching my stuff in vain hope I find it, as the screening lady;s smile turns from standard to questioning. I feel a tap on my shoulder and I turn around to find the security screening man smirking and giggling at my stupidity as he hands me my boarding pass. Which I dropped on the floor next to my feet. Did I look on the floor? Clearly not. I get through – dignity a little lower 4/5, I can take it, but wait – I have to cross the ACTUAL screening not only the smirking faces. Lets clarify something – I am wearing my alpaca fur over-sized sweater, black leggings and suede booties. I have no watch. Apparently my anemia has been solved and my iron levels shot up because I beeped as I walked through. They scan me, they pat me, and they question me. I’m just a silly girl heading to Northern Ontario – please let me pass. They do. Dignity drops to a 3/5.

I head to my trusted Tim Horton’s for a jalapeno and asiago bagel so I can scam a table without more leering faces. I have 1.5 hours to kill before I need to get to my gate, and there are screening doors that are closed until 45 minutes prior to departures. Like I said – Thunder Bay flights in the dark scary hidden corner of the Lester Pearson Airport. Well, 1.5 hours passes and I get up to pass through. Only those security gates are not open and there are about 50 people waiting. I have 40 minutes until my flight departs, and the boarding has already commenced. The walls are glass; we all gaze across at our gates wondering why they are so hateful of us small-town folk and won’t let us pass.

I figure, 40 minutes, I’ve got time. I was so wrong.

The crowd gets larger and the crowd gets ruder. A security guard shows up to try to help open the giant glass door of doom for us to let us pass to head to our gates but they cannot find the head security man. Great.

20 minutes remaining until flight departs.

The crowed is getting rowdy. They start to yell at the security lady asking why we cannot get through. There is an emergency door close by, why can we not just push through that? This IS an Emergency. 150 people not able to board their flight due to a glass gate of doom? That is a logistical nightmare for Air Canada. But I wait and hope. I held calm some people down, we all know the type, the type that think the world revolves around them and that only their problems exist.

5 minutes remaining.

I hear on the intercom “Paging passenger Chrystal McKay to gate D35, this is your last and final boarding call. Please head to gate D35 to catch your flight immediately”. Nooooo, I am dreading this moment, and am now my Buddha-like calm and patience had worn out, my stress levels rise, and I start tapping my foot. Yes, this is my I’m pissed off face. I’m in the airport, I arrived early, and I am going to miss my flight.

0 minutes remaining.

My flight departure time has passed and I am still waiting there. An Air Canada representative heads over to tell us to go to customer service. I figure I should since my flight has already left, no point in waiting at the gate and watching as mob mentality takes over. Don’t piss off people in transit. I head over, and I hand a nice representative my boarding pass saying my flight has departed. She looks at my ticket and says “No it hasn’t, they changed your gate, you’ve been waiting for that glass door of doom haven’t you? You’re at Gate D35, you better run!” (yes this is the gate number they called on the intercom, but my ticket listed D53, was I listening? Clearly Not). Huge Chrystal Fail.

Dignity 0/5.

I start running like a banshee across the airport, in my suede high heeled booties; across the moving sidewalks and screech to a halt, sweating and panting, in front of the agent. He gives me a stern look, insults me for not listening to the boarding calls, and lets me on. He tells me to run down the landing. I run my little butt off. Less than 1 metre from the door of the plane, I trip. Seriously? I ran across an entire airport in heels with no trouble but within sight of the door I trip and twist my ankle? I suppose that is karma at its best. I hobble on, to a smiling and laughing stewardess and into my 1F seat. I give a grand “I’m SO sorry to the plane” and the stewardess hands me a glass of water. I am SO thankful to her. But I made it. Horrah.

Now I wish I could say that was the end of my troubles. But no. This plane debacle hasn’t come to a close. After 15 minutes of waiting, sweating, and panting and scolding myself for being so out of shape, the intercom bleep bleeps on and the pilot announces “The Air Canada ground crew has taken job action and walked off. We are waiting to find out what the situation is. We may need to de-plane you, but we’ll wait to find out, I apologize for the inconvenience folks”.

Wow this plane must not like me. Had I arrived on time I wouldn’t of caused this – we could of left on time. Is it my fault? One redeeming factor, a Mr.Frogg (actual name) has ALSO not gotten himself to the plane, so I am not the biggest fail of tonight. 1 point for me.

1 Hour passes.

We are STILL on the ground. I look out my little window hoping to see little men moving with their pretty glowing sticks. I am left to stare in longing.

2 Hours Pass.

5 glasses of water and 3 bags of pretzels later. I worry we won’t leave and now I am battling having to pee and having dry cotton mouth from the salty pretzels.

2 Hours and 15 minutes pass.

 

I see pink lights glowing out my window. I see little men moving. My heart flutters with joy for the ground crew. They are slowly trickling back. But it doesn’t look like many of them. Turns out, it wasn’t, the managers all came in to help as many planes out as possible. Only the Managers. Props to the Managers. We get our bags loaded, our plane pushed back, and we finally take off.

Biggest Chrystal airport fail. In the end we took off. But not without injury. 1 redeeming factor of it all; free alcohol to drink away our airplane woes.

It works. I’m home – and a little buzzed.