Of Swan Dives and Sudden Stops

This was a commute for the record books. It started with an earlier than normal trip to the airport. I had a feeling things would go badly… photos of Calgary snow started to appear on Twitter and Facebook and I wanted to see if I could get on the standby list for an earlier flight before the YYC airport closed.

Ixnay to the tandbysay istlay. I made it all the way through the last check of security when the nice security lady stopped me and said, ummm, your flight was just cancelled. I must have happened in the 20-seconds it took me to walk from the entrance ticket check to the security line. Still, I was better off than the woman behind me who somehow managed to lose her boarding pass in that 20-second walk.

This is when the chaos started… and fortuitously, I was at the front of the customer service line when the mass of people from other cancelled flights started to rush over with their passive-aggressive sighs and frantic phone calls. Seconds later, the lady who was helping me suddenly exclaimed, oh shit and frantically started typing. Moments later the printer spit out what she told me was one of the last confirmed tickets of the evening. Bless you counter lady!

Obviously it was mad chaos on the cusp of this Remembrance Day long weekend. A few of my tweets sum up the experience.

(7:04 PM) Oh yyc and your stupid snow. Flight passes don’t count for anything when your flight is cancelled…

(7:14 PM) 430, 530, 630 flights all boarding right now… I’m 830.

(8:56 PM) One more glass of wine before heading to the gate to see what mad chaos awaits.

(9:06 PM) Well… there’s a plane attached to the gate. That’s one step further than my earlier flight.

(9:13 PM) Flight seriously oversold and lots of upset passengers. My earlier insistence that AC give me a seat instead of standby was a good choice.

(9:19 PM) And everyone rushes the poor person working the gate. She doesn’t even have her jacket off.

(9:39 PM) Just witnessed an almost fistfight over overhead baggage space.

(9:47 PM) And we’re leaving…

(10:10 PM) And we’re sitting on the tarmac because yyc airport shut down again…

(10:22 PM) Moving… and we’re off.

(11:44 PM) Rough turbulence. We circled the city for 30mins, did a swan dive landing and slid to a spectacular stop. And I thought my job was stressful.

(12:10 AM) Lotsa people in shorts and flipflops trying to unbury their car at the park-n-ride…

(12:25 AM) Cabbie just told me that cab company is asking for 200 cars to head to the airport. All the flights are landing but there are no cabs.

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