Monday, 20 June 2011

Grounded in Ottawa

For the first time in my life, I missed a flight. And not just any flight. I missed the once-a-day flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit, the flight that was to be the first leg of my four-part journey to Inuvik.

I thought the itinerary said the plane was to depart for Iqaluit at 12:15 p.m. Turns out, it was to arrive  in Iqaluit at 12:15. So ... by the time I arrived at YOW, my plane was somewhere over Kuujjuaq.

Now, missing a flight to the Arctic isn’t the same as missing a flight to, say, Montreal. It’s not like there’s another flight in an hour (or three, in this case). When Jay, the agent at Canadian North Airlines, told me my flight was long gone, I did what any levelheaded, resourceful grown-up would do in this situation -- I burst into tears.

Then, at Jay’s suggestion, I got on the phone to Aeroplan to see what could be done. The short answer? Nothing. I’m sure Ms. Aeroplan was not in the best of moods, having just been forced to return to work after a short-lived strike. But the more she insisted the situation was hopeless, the more I bawled.

Until ... Jay to the rescue! He had found some connections that would work! He took the phone from me and spent about 90 minutes with Ms. (“no-go”) Aeroplan, re-routing me through Toronto and Edmonton to catch me up to the next day’s Yellowknife-Inuvik link.

In the end, I spent 10 hours in the Ottawa Airport before I set foot on a plane, then seven hours trying to catch some zzzzzs on the hard floors and benches of Edmonton International. But but thanks to the kindness, patience and persistence of Jay and his colleague Rose at Canadian North, I managed to get off the ground and back on track.

Before I left them, though -- with hugs and more tears (of gratitude this time) --  Rose highlighted in bright yellow the departure times on my new itinerary ...


Unknown said...

Sounds like a crazy start. People can make such a difference just by caring. I'm glad that you had a Jay and a Rose to contrast Ms. Aeroplan.

Take lots of pictures!

Sleepwalker said...

It makes for a good story? I would have liked to hear how they let you fly first class and you drank champagne and had as much chocolate as you wanted. Maybe on your return?