Monday, March 19

Toronto for my Birthday

For my birthday this year Air Canada got me the city of Toronto for 24hrs.  When booking my flight from Edmonton to "the Soo" I would have planned a day layover in "the centre of the universe" but, alas, did not know how to make that happen.  So on to the red eye I went Saturday night expecting to touch down for a brief 2 hours in my beloved urban centre.  At 6am (EST) - 4am my time - I alighted from the flight, turned on my phone, and received a text kindly informing me that my flight was canceled and rescheduled 36 HOURS LATER.  My first reaction was a bit of disbelief and then some frustration - no on likes to be told that their 7 hour trip has sudden become a two day affair.  With 40 flights canceled that day - fog, fire on a runway, Air Canada pilots calling in sick - the airport was inundated with frazzled travelers looking for answers (and baggage).  We were directed to a booth of white phones from the 90s and told to keep dialing a three digit code to get in touch with Air Canada.  After 45 minutes of not getting through the crowd gave up.  It began to dawn on me that a 5 hour layover a Pearson would be an annoying in convenience, 36 hours in Toronto could be a gift.

I called up my credit card company and checked my insurance.  So much love for my Avion card.  Booking with that card meant that all of my travel is covered for delays.  They offered me $250 a day while I was stranded so I decided to embrace the opportunity and book myself a hotel room at the schwanky Courtyard Marriott downtown.

Of course, there had to be a hitch.  At least, an almost-hitch.  They instructed everyone from a canceled flight to head down to baggage claims and wait.  Down there I was told repeatedly that the bags would come but it could be a few hours.  Great.  Back upstairs I waited on hold with AC and ate some over-priced breakfast.  Back downstairs to wait more and still nothing.  Finally, I approached the baggage desk again asking for an ETA and was informed "oh, they aren't sending the bags up anymore, they are going to just send them to destination".  Um....excuse me?  You give me a 36 hour layover and then you HOLD MY BAG HOSTAGE?!?  And if it weren't for Ron at the baggage desk I would never fly AC again*.  He took pity on me (perhaps smelled my breath and considered my need for a hair wash) and radioed the luggage room and worked his magic to get my solo blue roller bag sent up to me.  HERO!

The day was then filled with a cappucino at JSLPA's apartment (thanks drummerboy!), semi-hot-tubbing and krispy kreme eating with JSLPA, Hi-C and Jewlia, frisbee throwing followed by Ethiopian food with Hi-C, Barbie Doll drinks at Zelda's joined by Hi-C, RoRoW, and P-Bag, and lastly (but not leastly) a sleepover with MMM aka Bethaf.  On top of all of that I finally got in touch with Air Canada (after 1.25 hours on hold) to find out they could get me on the flight at noon the next day instead of midnight.  Score!

Thank you, Air Canada, for the unexpected birthday gift of time with friends and a quick trip to my favourite city.

Barbie Doll anyone?  They come with swords of gummy bears.  You can't say no.

I <3 Toronto (a view from the hotel)


*AC, you'll be getting an email from insisting you put him in charge of your company. Or consider a raise at least.

2 comments:

P-Baggerel said...

You've got some magic for ya, KV--sweet-talking your way into the Cal-Gary zoo, seducing a baggage clerk, bagging 85% of potential phone numbers... And it doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

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