Here We Go Again...

Trip Start Jan 03, 2012
Trip End May 02, 2013

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Flag of Canada  , Ontario,
Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Unable to check in online the day before, we thought arriving at the airport two and a half hours early was enough, but our July 31 flight to South America was overbooked by 24 so we ended up with two aisle seats. Our backpacks weighed 11.6 and 13.6 kg for Sylvia and Jason, respectively.  We couldn't be bothered to weigh our secondary bags.

We proceeded to the gate smoothly and started planning the days ahead.  Then we found out the bad news... our flight was delayed by three hours, meaning that we would miss our connection from Bogota to Lima.  Jason inquired about this and the attendant said we would get on a later connecting flight and arrive in Lima around 10:30 pm.  That meant we would no longer be able to leave the Lima airport on foot in search of cheaper transport to our guesthouse.  As compensation, Air Canada offered us $10 worth of free food.  After getting up at 3:30 am and paying $19 each for the Airport Express bus instead of under $3 for the subway, it just wasn't enough to ease the pain.

We boarded our 8:00 am flight at 12:45 pm.  The skies immediately darkened and flashes of electric lightning preceded rumbling thunder.  The captain announced that we were on red alert due to the weather and that there was another maintenance problem with the aircraft.  We sat and waited.

It was decided that since the repairs would likely take a while it would be best for everyone to deplane and wait for the green light in comfort with a complimentary lunch.  We followed the herd and wolfed down more airport food.

The second boarding call came around 2:30 and we got on around 3:00.  Several more announcements were made, promising imminent departure and finally the engines fired up.  Shortly thereafter the cabin smelled of gas, a normal occurrence according to the captain's later announcement which also terminated all hope of leaving as the flight had been officially cancelled.  Everyone groaned and began preparing for another night in Toronto.

Despite some initial inequity in their offers to out of town versus local clients, Air Canada did provide us with a hotel room for the night and a dinner voucher.  We then proceeded to pick up our checked bags.  Jason was very unimpressed to find his backpack soaking wet, inside and out, no doubt from being carelessly left exposed to the storm.  He reported it to the baggage agent who filed a report but offered no compensation.

The Sandman Signature hotel turned out to be much nicer than expected.  We had a room on the penthouse floor, overlooking the flooded Royal Woodbine golf course.  Jason spread his wet clothes and gear all over the room hoping it would dry overnight.  We went for dinner then off to bed five hours before our 3:30 wake up call.

A bleary eyed rising confirmed that Jason's things were not yet dry so they had to be packed damp.  Sylvia's slow start meant that we missed the first shuttle back to the airport.  On arrival there was much confusion among the Air Canada staff.  Since we had no guarantee of a connection from Bogota to Lima, Sylvia called the reservations office to see what they could do for us.  They offered us a switch to a direct flight from Toronto to Lima later the same day.  We accepted and made our way to the customer service desk for confirmation.  The staff was flustered but they managed to get us boarding passes for the direct flight and pull our backpacks off of the one to Bogota.

We ate breakfast, then went to retrieve our bags. They took a while, but eventually showed up.  We then took a limousine downtown to our home, dried our damp clothng and took a long midday nap.  Another complimentary limo ride back to the airport revealed the place was in utter chaos.  Apparently we weren't the only flight affected by the weather the day before as we were told over 10,000 passengers had suffered similar fates.  The lineup was neverending.

As our departure time approached, Jason started asking questions.  The Air Canada agents didn't have our flight on the list they were using to pull priority passengers so we alerted them and established some order based on scheduled departure times.

After almost two hours we finally reached the front of the line, dropped off our bags and ran to the gate.  It felt surreal to actually sit in our seats in preparation for takeoff again.  We left an hour late and flew off into the night headed for a new continent.
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Audrey on

Wow. I'm glad you finally made it! What a day!

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