I have been anticipating a holiday to Canada for a long time to visit family, and the birth of my grandson in June made my excitement skyrocket.
After flying more than eight hours from Adelaide to Hong Kong and then catching a 15-hour connecting flight to Toronto, I stopped overnight in an airport hotel.
Today I was supposed to catch a noon flight to my final destination in northern Ontario. The flight was delayed twice before being cancelled. So, I stood in the queue and waited while the airline staff worked at a pace that made the average garden snail look high speed.
‘Tomorrow’ they said when I got to the head of the queue. ‘No’ was my answer, ‘today’. Following the obligatory phone call, I leave at 11pm tonight.
It seems travelling without events like this occurring is the novelty – it should be the reverse – but my delay today was minor in the scale of airline stuff-ups and poor service.
It is not just the impact on the traveller that is an inconvenience, it’s the flow on effect to others. In my case, my family are also affected, for example, my son took a day off work to collect me from the airport and my granddaughter was counting the sleeps. She will be three this month and, so far, her experience of Grandma is that she’s always late. I expect this will be the pattern for as long as I am able to travel.
Other inconveniences from delayed travel are that animals in boarding kennels and babysitters that have to be extended, requiring long-distance calls, which can be expensive.
Occasionally these delays are unavoidable, but it seems to be the norm now for someone to draw up a timetable of departures and arrivals almost as a fiction, maybe an adaptation loosely based on an original work.
I write this sat on an uncomfortable seat in Toronto airport, six hours to go with a sore back from hours in the air and my dicky ankle feeling the strain of several hours of standing around.
There seems to be a great level of pandemonium with departure gate changes, delays, much foul language from airline passengers still waiting for their flight and others having to sprint through the airport to depart from a distant gate.
There is an annoying high-pitched noise from a malfunctioning door. I’ll go for another wander soon but I am zealously guarding a power point where my iPad is plugged in charging. I am longing for the day we can call in to a central point and say, “Beam me up, Scottie”.