Technically, it took me, but one would expect nothing less from the city that never sleeps, right?
Especially when you consider it’s my existence we’re talking about. The adventure began long before my Canadian feet ever touched US soil, but again, it’s me so…
My family rose at three am, after an all-too brief and restless collective sleep. (This trip has consumed our lives for two months.) Our ride to Pearson International Airport was a few minutes late but thrust me, you’ll consider that a win when you get through this travel misadventure, kids.
We arrived at Pearson just before seven am and despite numerous warning about the possible wait time, whizzed through US Customs in record time. (My daughter’s right ankle set off the body scanner but nothing appeared amiss so we avoided an international incident. Guess it’s a good thing I didn’t answer, “Do you have anything to declare?” with “Only my contempt for your new leader), right?)
So we cleared Customs, located our WestJet podium and waited. Our flight was scheduled to leave at nine-thirty and arrive at LaGuardia at eleven, but…
Our flight was cancelled.
My daughter’s face dropped when she heard the announcement; this trip meant everything to her, but we waited patiently as a rather cold WestJet manager we nicknamed “Eyebrows” (they looked like two dead tarantulas) took his time getting us a new flight.
That was scheduled to leave three hours later.
Which was soon rescheduled to leave an hour after that.
In the meantime, they gave us food vouchers for fifteen dollars each, which as anyone who has ever spent any time in a airport can tell you, buys diddly squat. Seriously, I’m pretty sure they’ll be charging travelers to breathe airport air soon.
Along the way we ran into the usual airport suspects: the corporate sales drones (who were drinking their corporate blues away at eight in the morning) the horny millennials who can’t keep it in their pants long enough to wait to join the mile high club and dozens of others. They were a motley crew to say the least, but they were entertaining and so they kept my kid distracted.
Until they didn’t. This trip was supposed to be a dream realized and fulfilled and it was in danger of crashing and burning.
I couldn’t sit idly by and watch my kid’s face grow more despondent so I did what any modern dad would do when faced with such a challenge.
I took to social media to complain to anyone who would respond.
Lucky for me, Meghan from WestJet responded in minutes. She issued a genuine apology and promised compensation in the coming week – then I told her that we had been delayed yet again….
So she went above and beyond.
Meghan secured us two seats on an American Airlines flight, which unfortunately for us was leaving with twenty minutes of the issuing tweet – and which was leaving from a bay at another terminal. None of this would have been a problem were it not for my progeny’s asthma, but my kid sucked it up and ran like a Kardashian chasing a camera that wasn’t pointed at them. My daughter made an astute observation as we ran through Pearson:
“This is Hookey’s Law, isn’t it?”
You’re damn right it was, kid.
And it continued from there; an empty WestJet podium made it appear as though we missed the flight but the plane was a little behind. (A recurring thread that ran through our entire trip.) We finally made our flight but at first it looked like I was going to have to squeeze a bowling ball though the eye of a needle, that’s how small the boarding entrance was. The seats were ripped and uncomfortable, I couldn’t convince anyone to switch seats so my child and I could enjoy/endure our first flight simultaneously, and the aisle was so narrow I couldn’t get back to my seat after I got my kid situated.
Hookey’s Law, indeed.
But then, five minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a gentleman sitting across from my daughter’s seat informed he was willing to switch with me – after he had strong-armed the guy sitting beside my daughter to switch. Sure enough, I made my way to my daughter and the first thing she said?
“That guy’s not too happy with us!”
So be it. If it’s a choice between pissing off a stranger and sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience with my progeny, I’ll piss that stranger off all day long. Besides, pissing off strangers is my specialty. Seat switching aside, the flight went smooth – after I got over the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that appeared when I finally realized we were about to soar above the clouds in a tiny metal box. But all went well.
Until the plane landed.
No, “We’re making our final approach, ladies and gentleman.” from the pilot. Nit even a “Hang onto your hats, folks, we’re about to hit terra firma!”
We just landed.
Nevertheless, we were in New York and the adventure was about to truly begin. But I think that’s enough for now, don’t you? It’s been a few days and I’m still knackered!
See you in the lobby, kids…