Well, that was an experience I don’t want to repeat.
I arrived at Montreal airport yesterday afternoon in good time for my flight, and despite the usual grilling from US immigration I got to the gate on time. Jacob and Rina Weisman were on the same flight. It is a short trip from Montreal to Boston and I was looking forward to a nice, relaxing evening and an opportunity to catch up on both sleep and email. Then it rained.
Well, to be precise, it threw it down. The ground staff, by union rule, all headed into shelter. That’s entirely understandable. No one wants to be stood on airport tarmac in a thunder storm. Sadly the union rules did not apply to our luggage, which got soaked, but eventually the rain went away, the plane was loaded and we took off, about 2 hours late. Jacob and Rina were clearly not going to make their connection to San Francisco.
We took off, and of course I went to sleep. When I woke up an hour later I assumed we must be coming into Boston. We were not. We had spent the whole time circling around Montreal until we ran out of fuel and had to land. I still don’t really understand why this happened. The pilot said it was due to weather delays in Boston, but Bri Wu on Twitter said the weather there was fine.
What I was expecting to happen was that Air Canada would keep us gateside and find us another flight, but despite it only being around 7:00pm this was apparently not possible. Instead we had to go back through Canadian immigration, pick up our luggage and join a huge queue to find out what was going to happen to us next. It was about 10:30pm when we made it to the ticket desk. I hadn’t eaten since 11:00am, and in all that time the only Air Canada employee who had shown any concern for us was the stewardess on our aborted flight. Had we not had the sense to complain at immigration and get routed through the “connections” line we would have spent another hour queuing there (some of the people on our flight did).
When we finally got to the ticket desk we did get re-booked and provided with a hotel room for free. However, it was very much a “this is what we have for you, take it or leave it” thing. Jacob and Rina, who were booked on United and only on Air Canada as a code share, had a much more difficult time than I did. I still don’t know if they got away today.
The hotel we were given, the Park Inn, was quite comfortable and the restaurant did feed us despite the fact that we arrived just before 11:00pm, however, it had no Internet, which I found quite bizarre. Even so I would have been happy with it had not we discovered this morning that the guy on the front desk had bumped us off the 6:30am shuttle onto the 7:00am and swore blind that this was our fault for booking the wrong time. He wouldn’t even call a cab for us to get us to the aiport on time — we had to do what ourselves.
I was very nervous about going through US immigration today because I had technically committed an offence by not handing in my departure card when I left the US. As usual I got dragged through Secondary, but when I explained that I had been there the day before they talked to the officer who had interviewed me then and waved me through.
And now I am in Boston at my client’s offices where the Hugo base design is attracting admiring comments. I have a training course to run on Friday, and I need to work on the content a bit before then, but the Hilton has kept my room for me and I hope to be able to relax a bit, do some shopping and visit Legal Seafood. If anyone is Boston is up for dinner let me know.