Monday, August 22, 2005

I'll Make It Anywhere!


I'm successfully settled in New York (actually Newport, Jersey City, where I'm staying with Mike and Lis), though it wasn't easy. When I booked a new flight for Saturday morning, the Air Canada agent told me that I should arrive early, since the backlog from the cancelled flights would make it very busy. I asked how early, and she suggested two hours. To be safe, I arrived two and half hours early, at 6:30. I then stood in line to check-in for...almost two and a half hours. The line was barely moving because, 15 minutes before each flight was scheduled to take off, they'd pull all its passengers out of the line and devote most or all of the agents to checking them in immediately. So, at around 8:45, they pulled me out of the line and checked me in. It was 9:10 by the time I cleared customs. Fortunately, there were another 20 people or so in line after me -- all the other people who couldn't do a self check-in, I guess (the kiosk refused to check me in, presumably because they'd just rebooked my flight the previous night, but there was no new ticket number). So, they held the plane for us. In fact, it didn't take off until after 10:00.

The flight was shorter than expected (about 75 minutes, instead of 90) and quite enjoyable, as they'd put me in executive class. After landing and deplaning, the experience again took a turn for the worse when they shut off the baggage carousel, leaving many of us empty handed. So, I had to wait in another very slow-moving line to file my lost baggage complaint. In the end, I finally got out of the airport at around 12:30, a full 6 hours after I arrived at Pearson for my 90 minute flight. Without any of my stuff.

After many calls, and much holding (well, at least they appreciate my patience), Air Canada finally revealed that my bag had arrived at Newark this evening. But, the fellow told me, since it had been checked late, I would be responsible for picking it up. I explained to him that that wouldn't work for me, since I had arrived two and half hours early for my flight, and the bag had been checked at that time only because of their inability to manage the line. I also explained that I'd need compensation, since I had to buy some clothes and toiletries yesterday. Well, he had to "cofirm" that, so he said he'd call me back. He never did, but Lis followed up for me with the main baggage office, and they finally did deliver at 12:20 this morning.

So, a mere 42 hours after arriving for my 90 minute flight, all is well. Thanks Air Canada; now I really see why you were voted North America's best airline. Nice. To be fair, we only have thunderstorms every other week in Toronto, I can see why it basically renders the airline useless for the next 48 hours.

Well, enough griping. I've also been having a great time here in the big apple. Karyn and Mike and Lis have been fabulous guides and hosts! Hopefully, I'll have time tommorrow to write about some of the fun things I've been up to.

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