Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Flying Fiasco - Part 1

On Tuesday, March 6th, I flew from Montreal to Toronto to see Olya, my ex-counterpart from Canada World Youth. I hadn't seen her in three years, and I won't be able to see her much, considering that she lives in Ukraine and her being in Canada is extremely rare.

The idea was to meet her at her gate at the Toronto airport (she was arriving from Regina), and we were slated to spend the next couple hours together before she had to leave for Europe. I was to leave at around the same as her back to Montreal. Plans are always precarious when flying is involved, but we were both coming from flights within Canada, so we thought our plan to be relatively fool-proof. Because my plan to visit Olya in Ukraine was thwarted, there was no way on earth that this plan was allowed to fall apart.


The first omen of bad luck happened in the morning at the Montreal airport before I passed through security. I had forgotten to remove my Swiss Army Knife from my purse, so as soon as I got to security, they promptly whisked my beloved knife away from me. It is now gone forever, and if the security guards take my knife home with them, I hope they cut oranges with it, forget to clean it, and then all the blades will rust on them.

I arrived at my gate at the appropriate boarding time. For some reason, they started boarding us late, at the time that the plane was originally slated to leave. Alright, so maybe I'd be 20-30 minutes late. Olya was already going to be landing in Toronto earlier than I, but this would only be a minor setback.

So, I board the plane, and once all the passengers and flight attendants seem ready to go, the plane does not leave the gate. We wait about ten minutes, and then the captain comes crackling through the intercom:

"Uh, this is your captain speaking. As you have probably noticed, we have not yet moved. One of our engines seem to be frozen. We are currently waiting for our repairman. We should be ready to leave shortly."

Ah. So, we wait. Another ten or fifteen minutes has past, and we still haven't moved. The captain comes back on:

"You may have noticed that we still haven't moved. Due to the severely cold weather, we will be starting off our engines manually. We should be ready to leave shortly."

We wait twenty minutes or so, and finally, we creep up to our run-way and take off. In retrospect, perhaps I should have been worried about faulty engines during this cold spell, but, frankly, all I was thinking about was meeting Olya and how late I was going to be.

I arrived at the Toronto airport almost two hours too late. Right away, I ran to an Air Canada gate which didn't look too busy and asked them at which gate a certain flight from Regina came in. The flight attendant looked at me funny, asking me how a flight which came in over two hours ago could be helpful to me. I just asked her to tell me. She told me it was gate 35. I ran to that gate, and it was almost completely empty. They were going to board a flight to Fredericton, I believe, but still not for at least another few hours. Where on earth was she?

I looked wildly around the Toronto Pearson Airport. It was huge and looked terribly confusing. Weren't people always saying that Toronto was a horrible airport? Also, weren't there two other terminals? Olya could be anywhere! I started to panic. I started to run around the airport and soon started figuring things out. There was only a certain place that Olya could be without leaving the security area or without boarding her international flight to Vienna. I went up to where the international flights were boarding but obviously could not get in, considering I wasn't going anywhere. So besides the international flight area, she could only be around the area with the shops. Okay, she really can't be far, and looking as to where her flight was leaving from (I wasn't 100% sure of which number her flight was, but I had a pretty good idea), she wouldn't have left this terminal. So, where could she be? I went up to a booth and asked if they could page her in this area, as well as in the international flights area. I waited in a stupor of panic. I had flown to freakin' Toronto to see her, and I couldn't find her! I felt stupid for not getting a cell phone for this trip, like she had asked. I phoned my mother in a shaky voice, telling her of the disaster at hand. As mothers do so well, she told me not to panic and to wait until Olya is paged and then see what happens. She also told me that if Olya still did not show after being paged, I should go to Austrian Airlines and ask of her there. In the meantime, Mom told me to eat something. Good advice.
As I sat at Tim Horton's, munching slowly (due to my newly lack of wisdom teeth sore mouth) on a chicken salad wrap, I kept on scanning the airport's centre, where all the paths of shops came together. When I finished, I got up slowly and decided to trudge around the airport for a bit, now feeling more disappointed and sad instead of on a panicky edge. I decided to stroll by the international flights TVs, to see if her Vienna flight had changed, and lo and behold, who was staring up at the said TVs? A bunch of tired looking Ukrainians!

Needless to say, we were overjoyed to have finally found each other! It turned out that her flight was extraordinarily late, and they had just arrived in Toronto. I met her group, and after sending off her group, the two of us went to a coffee shop for some much needed talking and reminiscing.


Anonymous said...

I am glad you found her

Paula B said...

WOW Miranda, that's quite the epic hehe, i'm sure all that trouble made seeing her that much more awesome! Sooo happy you found her and were able to catch up on things :).
Miranda, we gotta plan our trip to Ukraine again. I'm graduating next year, and i'll be doing some traveling during the summer, Ukraine is definitely in my plans.

Anonymous said...

Alanna: Wow, what a crappy airline - who fly's with AC anyway - GARBAGE. (shit, I think I just got fired...)