Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Air Canada Evil

Not enough time to write about this last week in the middle of heading back to Montreal on Thursday night and leaving for camp on Friday afternoon, but what follows is an account of Wednesday night's adventure with my sister's trip to Dubai.
I left work early on Wednesday to see her and the little angels off, along with my parents. We packed into the van (6 people and 9 huge pieces of luggage, plus hand bags, so when I say packed I really mean it) and drove to the Ottawa airport. By the time we got there, there was a torrential downpour that lasted for about 20 minutes.
My sister's flight was at 6 p.m. This was at 3:30. Her itinerary was essentially Ottawa-TO, TO-Dubai. After getting her bags through and saying some VERY VERY VERY tearful goodbyes, my sister and the little angels went through security, and my parents and I headed back up to the top floor where we could watch her gate until she boarded. This was at 5.
(An aside: Little Angela and I's conversation as I hugged her at security.
  • Her: Nonno, why are you so sad?
  • Me (with tears streaming down my face and a total wreck: I'm not sad, honey, I'm just a bit emotional because I won't see you again until next summer.
  • Her (with a quizzical look on her face): okay.
  • Me: Can I get a kiss?
  • She kisses my right cheek
  • Me: and another one
  • She kisses my left cheek
  • Me: now let me kiss you.
  • And as I do, with the little puddles of tears that have gathered over my lips, she waits politely and then wipes my kisses away with the back of her hands...)

Here is the Cole's Notes version of the story: At 6:45, a plane leaves from my sister's gate and she doesn't get on it. We check the screens with the flight information. It says this is my sisters' plane that's just departed. We don't understand. Her flight was supposed to be at 6 but she won't get on this flight. At 7:15 a second flight leaves and again she doesn't board. We page her and have her call us. She explains that the plane that left at 6:45 was the 4 p.m. plane and that they won't let her take a different plane because her baggage is already checked to the 6 p.m. flight which is now seriously late and may not make it in time for the connection.
At 7:50 they finally go through the gate and disappear onto the plane. We watch the plane take off at 8. We go home. I start crying all over again while I pick up my Little Angela's blocks from the floor and start putting them away. We won't be playing with these again before next summer. We pray our sunset prayer. We sit and chat. The phone rings. It's my sister. The Dubai flight is gone without her. The next one isn't until Friday night.
And what does Air Canada offer her in the meantime? A hotel, maybe, for the next two days? No. How about a place to store her luggage in the airport for the next two days? Also no. Okay, okay, well at least they're going to send someone down with her to the luggage carousel to help carry her 9 BAGS, seeing as how she has the Little Angels with her and they're not exactly Little Angels at 10 p.m. after being strapped into strollers/car seats/plane seats since 2:30 in the afternoon, right? No. They won't be doing that either.
We call my parents-in-law who live in TO. They are wonderful and leave for the airport immediately to pick her up. She stays with them for the next two days, and on Friday night, while we're at camp, she boards her Dubai flight.
She's safely in her new house now. The kids are happy, and they're all together again. It just took an extra two days, that's all.


- K said...

So happy for their safety, al hamd li Allah.

But yes, Air Canada is evil. I once had to get on a car from Kingston to Toronto to just barely catch a flight to Saint John, all because they canceled the flight from Kingston about an hour before it was due to leave.

VioletSky said...

Oh what an ordeal.
It's so much worse when you have few other options.

noha said...

K, that's awful... These guys are unbelievable, really. What I can't believe in my sister's flight was that the 4 p.m. flight being late delayed ALL the other flights that were following. Like, they couldn't find another gate to take off from?
VioletSky, thanks for the sympathy. I'm not sure if she was allowed to take WestJet, but I'm pretty sure that Emirate Airlines works with Air Canada, so she had to go with them.

Frogdancer said...

That's incredible. A bit like 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' but with small chidren instead of Steve Martin and John Candy.
How lucky that your parents-in-law live nearby...

Jazz said...

Haven't you heard Air Canada's new motto?

"Air Canada, we aren't happy until you aren't happy."

noha said...

Frogdancer, yeah, I'm really relieved my in-laws were there. They are unbelievably awesome for just swooping in and saving her. You know, I find myself pondering a lot lately how funny it is, after growing up the daughter of immigrants to Canada and not having "blood" family nearby how we're suddenly surrounded by family. There's been an influx of cousins moving here for me, and then now that all my sisters have gotten married, our families have grown exponentially through that. It's strange but beautiful.
Jazz, I love it. We should make them publish it officially. Write it onto the side of the planes...