our flight home

My brother in law got married last weekend, to a gal from Old’s Alberta. Naturally, we were invited. My wife was asked to stand in the bridal party. At first, I was reluctant to go, partially due to my lack of travel experience, and due to the cost. We went.

At 52 years old, I hate to admit, but I have never left the island. Nor have I ever flown. At first, I was a bit afraid of the flight, but my worries were soon put to rest. I loved it. My wife, not so much.

Upon our arrival, we were treated like royalty. The bride’s family, a long standing family of German-Russian heritage, were kind and gracious. The bride’s father, Gerry, works as an Oil consultant to some of the biggest oil companies in Canada, and in his spare time, runs a ‘hobby farm’ consisting of over 180 acres, over 30 head of cattle, a few pigs, and horses. I joked that if one bragged he had 180 acres in Newfoundland, he would be talking about Newfoundland itself.

We traveled to all the local sights and even hit some of the bigger stores, such as Costco, before heading home to Newfoundland. I was actually anxious to fly home.

This was until we began our flight. We got up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, and headed to the airport in Calgary, where we just made it to the gate. Our seats sucked, my wife some three seats ahead of me, and my seat between two strangers. That being said, I lucked out with my seat companions. One was a lady from Prince Edward Island, her husband sitting across the aisle across from her. We both waited for the window seat person to arrive, and he did, just in time for the plane to take flight.

The guy was a smallish person, who was quite silent at first, but I am not a silent person. I am a Newfie. “Hows she going” I asked him. Startled, he answered “you talking to me? You do know I am Pakistani, don’t you?”

I said “I don’t care if you are from Mars, if you are nice you are nice. now how ‘she going?”

With that, he began to tell me about his four daughters, how he and his wife tried for a boy, got a girl, tried for a boy again, another girl, and then tried once more and got twin girls. He showed me pictures of his family, which he displayed proudly. I cannot understand how people can be racist and judge people just from where they come from or by the colour of their skin.

Our conversation was nice, our flight was not. We hit about twenty minutes of solid turbulence and received an announcement that we would be at least 45 minutes late for our connecting flight at the Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Apparently the plane needed some repairs, and this is what delayed us. When we arrived, our flight from Toronto to Deer Lake, Newfoundland had already left…without us.

We were told to visit customer service. After an hour in a lineup, we spoke to the Representative from Air Canada, and he (after first suggesting we wait until 1:00 a.m. and fly from Toronto to Halifax and then to Deer Lake) found us a flight to Deer Lake (some two hours from Stephenville) which was leaving at 7:00. This wasn’t too bad, and we accepted. He guaranteed (ha!) our luggage would be on the same flight as we were.

We had from 12:30 until 7:00 to kill, stuck in an airport. What a great way to spend a day. The airport graciously (HA!) provided us a meal voucher (After we demanded it) of $10 each…you can really eat well for ten dollars…HA! two slices of stale pizza which we threw out.

While we were there, we watched as two Air Canada pilots were arrested by RCMP, after it was discovered that both of them flew over 250 people in from Scotland while the pilots were drunk to the gills.

The 7:00 flight was then delayed until 9, and although our tickets read Gate D43, they were really supposed to read D26, which was on the other side of the airport. An elderly gentleman, who chatted to us for awhile, informed us that our tickets were incorrect. After running the length of the airport to catch our seven o’clock flight, we were greeted by an Air Canada employee, correcting himself and apologizing. The gate was indeed D26. Oh, and the flight was delayed again, this time until 9:00.

We sat in the airport until 10:30, (two more delays), and arrived in Deer Lake at 2 a.m. in the morning. Our luggage wasn’t on the carousel and if it wasn’t for an airport employee, we would never have discovered that our luggage had arrived on time, with our original 1:30 flight, and were put in an office for safe keeping.

When we arrived in the parking lot (we left our car in the lot where it was ‘safe’ (HA!)) we found that we had a flat tire. The air must have been left out as a prank, because I filled the tire that night and this is Saturday and it is still filled with air. We were charged $40 dollars for our use of the parking lot, and attempted to head home.

Our back brakes were seized and the car wouldn’t move. Ever watch the Twilight Zone and see an episode where two travellers are not permitted to leave an airport, and even time works against them to ensure they never make it home? Me either, but they certainly could make this an episode!

Another few hours picking at the car and we are heading home. We walked into the house at 5:30, daylight. Our dogs were anxious to eat breakfast and play ball in the backyard. This was four nights ago and I am still tired. …I just set up a travel account with the bank. We are planning a trip for next summer….with hopefully another airline. not impressed with Air Canada!



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