Tuesday, October 27, 2009

This is why I don't travel....

I am back from my business trip relatively unscathed which I consider to be a minor miracle. It was a most interesting trip and while the entire experience has helped me grow as a person, I do not wish to repeat it anytime in the future.

The first sign that this was not going to be 'smooth sailing', happened before even leaving the house. We usually fly West-Jet who I love love love but we were booked on Air Canada *patooie*. I attempted to check-in online to avoid some of the Saturday afternoon line ups. Not really familiar with their web check in set up I stumbled around a bit and after searching their entire database I eventually determined that I was already checked in. Somehow, someone in our group booking had checked EVERYONE in and now were screwed because obviously, we did not have the luggage tag or boarding pass. Why is that a big deal you may ask? Well, it now involved 4 different line ups and 6 different people to get my luggage checked and my pass printed. I was not confident at this point that my luggage would end up on the same plane as me.

Thinking that I was free and clear for trouble, I kissed my family good bye and headed through security. I was immediately cut from the herd and sent though a booth at the very end. Put my bag on the rolling thing and took off my jacket. "Laptop, liquid,gels?" barked Helga the heavy set East German woman. "Uh no" I reply. "What you have under sweater?" growls my buddy Helga in her heavy accent". "Pardon?" I ask not quite understanding. "Sweater! Take it off!" she says pointing her finger at me.
Uh..ok whatever.. I had a tank top under my zip up cardigan. So I strip down and wait my turn through the metal detector. Of course I light the scanner up like Christmas. Dude waves me over and starts running the wand over me and it sounds like he's playing space invaders. He then has to wave Helga over for a 'physical search'.
Oh sweet jebus. Helga waddles over snapping her rubber gloves with an evil grin. Now, I usually get dinner and a movie before I allow someone down my pants but I didn't have much choice in the matter. I'm not a big person, 100lbs soaking wet with my shoes on and my clothing was form fitting so I'm really not sure what exactly they thought I was trying to smuggle on the plane, or where. At this point I'm half dressed and being felt up and sadly, it was the most action I'd seen in a while. The Gestapo finally clear me to go through and I head to my boarding area dragging my carry-on and clothing behind me. {Note to self..do not wear the boots with the buckles ever again.}

The flight out is uneventfully as is the trip to the hotel. Luckily I know my roommate and get along with her so I thought I was golden. No such luck.

I'm a smoker, in a non-smoking room. No biggie, I just open the sliding door and smoke outside the room. Easy peasy right? Well...... I got the door open, stepped outside and went to close the door. It didn't budge. So I pulled some more. Nada. Put my meager body weight behind it and puuuuuuushed. Suddenly the door unsticks, slams shut and my face hits the wall. Fabulous..now I have a scrape and goose-egg right above my eyebrow. *sigh* good thing the ice machine was just down the hall....

Got up on time, no small feat considering it was 6am their time, 3am my time. Ugh.
Navigate my way down to the conference area, grab my coffee, head out for a smoke and walk right into a crime scene. Oh Goody! Apparently someone was stabbed in the parking lot the night before. There were little yellow evidence markers everywhere and the knife was still lying in the ground. I did not fly across country to be a part of an episode of COPS.

The meetings were long, boring and we were herded like cattle. I worked really hard at looking and sounding like I knew what the hell I was talking about and I think I pulled it off.

In a cost cutting measure, we are kicked out and have to fly home the same day the meetings end. It makes for a long day but admittedly, it is nice to sleep in your own bed. Not knowing how long it will take with city rush hour traffic we head out as soon as we can. We got to the airport at 5pm and didn't fly out until 8:30pm.
Being the keeners that we are, we went through security right away. Given the experience on the way out and knowing that Toronto security is 'tougher' I was gearing up for a raping. I bagged and doubled bag my lighter, stripped down and prayed. Cranky dude waves me through and holding my breath and sweat running down my back I step through the metal detector and nothing happens. Absolutely nothing. Trying really hard to be nonchalant I pick up my bags and saunter away still half convinced that any second someone is going to run up and scream..."Quick get her! I think she has a nail file in her carry-on!" It wasn't until we were in and through security that I realized..... there was no place for me to smoke. I twitched a little but figured I could muddle my way through by chewing gum or gnawing on the arm of my seat.

Having birthed a child who spent the majority of his gestational time hanging out on my bladder, I have peeing issues. No matter how little I try to drink or how many times I make myself go, I will have to pee at the most inconvenient time.

I had a middle seat for the flight. In the window seat was a Crackberry addicted woman who was still texting as the plane was taking off! I stared at her while my inside voice was screaming "OMG YOU STUPID WOMAN! They said to turn it off! Are you trying to kill us all!! You can go 5 hours without texting dammit!" Seriously, she checked it while we were in the air too. On the aisle side of me was an um ,er, ah, 'fluffy' gentleman who promptly fell asleep while hogging the armrest. He snored.

All was well until 30mins into the flight when the flight attendant came on to request the assistance of any medical doctor who may be on board. That is never a good sign.
Sure enough, the pilot came on a short time later to announce that we were landing in Winnipeg due to an emergency medical situation on board. I would like to think I'm a sympathetic person but oh...my...god.... with my wonderful seat mates, and lack of nicotine I was close to snapping. It was the worst landing I have ever been through. We hit the runway with a jolt hard enough to snap my head back and wake up Sleepy Beauty beside me. The plane veered sharply to the right before straightening out again. Luckily no one was hurt. One of the overhead luggage thingies popped open spilling out suitcases. This was getting better and better.

We sat on the tarmac for 2 hours in Winnipeg. Crackberry chick was texting away like a madwoman and Mr Fluffy went back to sleep when he realized we were not being fed while waiting. I had to pee something fierce by this point and was trapped in my seat. I tried climbing over Mt Creepy but just couldn't get past his knees and he was not responding the my repeated pokes and hissed "Excuse me's" I undid the top button of my pants to give my bladder some breathing room and tried not to think about waterfalls and rivers. I'm pretty sure I damaged a kidney.

By the time we landed at home we were 2 hours late, my bladder had exploded, I was frothing at the mouth and twitching from lack of nicotine and caffeine. As soon as the doors opened on the plane I was off like a bat out of hell. I vaulted small chidren and suitcases as I ran though the airport to the nearest bathroom.

I just don't' have the mental wherewithal to be a traveller.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to finish sanitizing all my belongings cause the only thing I didn't get on this trip was 'sick'


  1. Oh dear lord. Girl, you almost convinced me to stop enjoying airplane rides.

    Granted, the last time I flew anywhere was six years ago, but still.

    I'm glad you made it back safely!

  2. I now that a whole new respect for you. That has got to be the WORST flight/trip ever!

  3. Wow. That is a really horrible trip. I've traveled a lot and I'm not sure I have anything that can compare to that. I think some people just attact travel disasters. You must be one of those.

  4. I laughed, I have to admit that I laughed. You told the story wonderfully, even though it was a miserable experience. Greg had something similar happen to him when he the renewed sticker on the back of his driver's license had fallen off and we were at the airport security. He was given a "red line" on his ticket stub. He was put through a different line with a "sniffer" machine and then they swabbed his shoes. Which.. by the way... when you are a CHEMICAL engineer, yeah, it's going to have CHEMICALS on it. Lol. So, he had to be "searched" and questioned. But oh... I have another story.. not so funny though. One of Greg's friends, Danny- he owns guns. He used a particular bag to pack for a short flight and the bag was where he used to keep the gun. Of course, he removed it and placed it elsewhere. He has kids that are familiar with the weapons and they are very safe around it. His daughter found the gun and thought it was in the wrong place and put it back in the bag, thinking she was putting it "where it belonged" and not telling her Dad. You can imagine what happened to her Dad in the airport? All sorts of security swooped down on him and off to jail he went. He had to get an attorney, etc.