To start, my flight out to Vancouver went less than smoothly, but I was still ok with Air Canada. My flight out was permanently grounded, with a hushed comment about there being a mechanical problem with the wings. But they rerouted me on US.Air, and granted I had a 2 hour layover at O’Hare that I wasn’t expecting, and got to Vancouver about 3 hours later than I had planned, I was ok.
The flight home is a different story. In theory, I was supposed to fly out at about 23:30 Saturday night. But when the flight crew doesn’t show up until 23:23, you know you’re in for a late departure. I wasn’t worried yet. I’m a fool. We didn’t finally taxi onto the runway until almost midnight, at which point we had to sit for another 40 minutes because due to the delays, our flight had been canceled in the air traffic control computers. At almost 00:30 we finally took off, an hour late, but if all went smoothly I would just barely be able to make my connection in Montreal and be home with my girls, who I missed more than imaginable, in the morning. We landed at 08:03, and I booked it down what must be a mile long set of corridors from one end of the building to the other. I made it through security. I made it through customs. I made it to my terminal at 08:26 with less than 4 minutes until my plane was scheduled to shut the doors. All set, right? No. Seems Air Canada decided we wouldn’t make it in time and sold our seats to standby passengers. So I had to sit there, ticket in hand, and watch as they waited an extra 5 minutes for the stand by’s that had taken our seats and then didn’t bother to show up.
And so I was trapped in Montreal. A lot of pleading and kavetching got me a 14:00 flight out on a wannabe plane who’s only sense of security was that most of the passengers were pilots, and the theory that they wouldn’t let a plane full of their own pilots go down. I think the worst part was the rude, abrasive way we were treated when we attempted to make our connection, not knowing that Air Canada had decided to sell our seats and not inform us (like they did for other folks making connections at Montreal).
To boot, Air Canada must serve only the smallest, dwarfed population of pygmies. I confess – I’m not a small guy, not by a long shot, but even were I to be an emaciated whiff I would have problems in those seats – my shoulders alone were a good 6-8 inches wider than the seat back. That coupled with the quarter inch left between my knees and the seats in front of me before it was reclined into my lap for 5 hours just makes me love thinking of that experience.