Wednesday, March 02, 2011

More Learning about Travel

Today I learned about getting bumped off a flight.
I was suppose to get on a 6:30 am flight to Ottawa to go visit my sister, her husband, and most importantly, my new nephew!
Early morning travel means getting up early. Did that. I was at the airport in plenty of time. Did the whole check the baggage thing and was directed to go here and there for various security checks. Had my bag swabbed. I think it may have been the combination of a bunch of batteries, loose change, puffers, and the metal coils on my yaktracks that had my bag looking suspicious. He almost seemed surprised when the swab came out clean. I asked him what he was looking for and he said "explosives". He then let me through and I proceeded to wait for my boarding call. The flight ahead of us was delayed a bit and so were we. Fine, no worries.
After the Toronto flight left, the fellow came on the intercom and said that our flight was over weight and he needed 5 people to take a later flight. None of the luggage was going on and it was still too heavy. Apparently the problem was in Ottawa. It was the "weather" and the pilot wanted to ensure that he had enough fuel to circle the airport for hours or land somewhere else. I talked to my sister after I got home and she said that the weather was a few tiny flakes of snow now and again. "I wouldn't even call the flurries!"
In any case, no one volunteered to go later (big surprise) and they started boarding people. When I got there, he looked at my ticket and said, "stand over there please" And so I waited as he let more people on board and told a couple of other people to wait also. Wondering why, I asked a few questions. One woman suggested that it was because we didn't "reserve" our seats. Maybe it was because I didn't "check in" on-line the day before. Any one have any other explanation why me? Or ideas to ensure that it doesn't happen again?
In any case the next available flight would have been this evening and about 8:30ish. And it was going through Toronto. Not being a seasoned traveler, I didn't want to have to deal with transferring in Toronto. I have heard that it is a nightmare and didn't really want to experience it first hand. The next direct flight (there being only one a day from Fredericton to Ottawa) was next week. So I am delayed a week. Having told my story to several people, they all agree that Toronto is a great place to avoid as far as transfers go, but Montreal is fine. I did get a $200 travel voucher to use against the cost of the next flight that I want to take. Next time I will endeavour to be more adventuress and go via Montreal. But I hope to never be bumped again.


Julia said...

I feel sorry that you've been bumped off the flight and that your plans were ruined for a nice week of visiting Christine , James and Joe.

Just chalk it off as experience. You now have some experience and next time you will be that more experience and let someone else be bumped off.

I'm some glad that it didn't happened to me when I flew to Ottawa because Christine and Joe would have had a hard time catching up on their sleep.

I hope that next week goes better. Hugs, Mamoo

tanita davis said...

It's all very well to be adventurous, but I would be THOROUGHLY cheesed off if I'd made arrangements for a week for my household to be without me, and then had to RE-arrange those arrangements.

I know that airlines constantly overbook, but for direct flights that happen only once a week -- that's just uncool.

Dani said...

Sadly, it happens a lot. In my experience, when you book your flight make sure you have a reserved seat. Also check in the night before if you can. And make sure you have an airline points card - sounds weird, but it can make a difference.

And I would say the opposite about the airports. I HATE the airport in Montreal. I have unexpectedly slept over twice in Montreal because of screw ups at that airport. And the Air Canada staff that I dealt with there were truly abysmal.

If you ever get stuck in Toronto - I know tons of people you can stay with! :) Sorry your plans are messed up, I hope you enjoy your week next week doubly as much

mira's papa said...

Bummer that you got bumped from the flight. Not to argue with the other commenters, but I much prefer the Montreal airport to the Toronto one. But since people watching in airports is one of those things I've always liked to do, and I've been through both TO and MTL many, many times, I'd be okay with either one.

All that said, however, since you got bumped from your flight, you can stay with me until the one next Wednesday. :-) The week will slip away fast enough.