OK, so on saturday when I said I’m flying to Boston today, I may have gotten a bit ahead of myself. It was a great way to explore the various stages of grief we are taught in medical school: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. Of course, you don’t necessarily go through each in order, and perhaps you cycle back to an earlier stage until acceptance is reached.
The first inkling of this was the 100% chance of snow announced for the hour of my flight departure. And just as we were driving to the airport huge snowflakes started to cloud the city. The skyline disappeared in a veil of white. I was already a bit nervous because it was my first time trying out the ‘island airport’ in Toronto. You need to take a ferry to get to it, and obviously ferries don’t continuously run, so you need to be lucky enough to get there right before one leaves, or else.. wait.
When I got to the lounge, aka waiting area, I was relieved to see that my flight was the only one that wasn’t delayed or cancelled. Denial: my flight will be spared by the concurrent weather conditions
Right before scheduled boarding time, the dreaded announcement ‘ the airport is now categorized as ‘grounded’, which means there is no landing or take-off at this time. More information in an hour’. Anger (mild at this point, especially when I saw the free coffee and cookies at our disposal).
Great. Somehow I needed to get to Boston by monday. I would drive the 10 hour distance if needed, but I’d better be there.. (bargaining).
Eventually they decided it was safe for one plane to leave, on the condition that the aircraft was lighter by 7 passengers. they bribed them with 300 dollar vouchers (more bargaining, because frankly the staff was going through the same frustrations we were). Eventually 7 poor souls had to give up their spots.
Next flight only asked for 5 passengers less. Come on, what does it really change if there are 5 more people on board? They were offered 400 dollars in vouchers (bargaining continues). They picked 5 people at random since no one volunteered and I saw all these young students looking fairly unimpressed (depression?).
The depression stage was sneaking up on me and two new co-travellers I met. Based on our age and our economy class tickets, we stood a good chance of getting picked if they decided to restrict the passengers on the flight to Boston.
Eventually we made it on the plane… only to be told that one luggage piece had been mistagged. ( People were getting increasingly irritated at this point). personally I thought I’d reached the stage of acceptance. I’d let my new roommates know I’d be arriving around 2 hours late, and they’d messaged me not to worry).
One they recounted all the tags, they realised they had one luggage too many. More waiting.
As we reached (the skies of) Boston after a pretty bumpy ride, we were told we’d have to do some victory laps for 15 minutes till it was our turn to land. 45 minutes later, we started our descent onto Boston. I thought ok, I’m only landing 3 and a half hours late, this os ok (Denial). Turns out, we had missed our chance of docking, and had to wait till the plane ahead of us was done boarding passengers and luggage. There was some serious anger and tension in the air at that point. We were told to stay in our seats unless we needed to use the washroom, in which case we could press that tiny red button that makes the personel crazy by obliging them to attend to your every need. Instantly, 20 red lights turned on.
As you can guess, I made it safely to Boston and to the slush-filled streets of my neighborhood (after a tad more waiting for luggage and taxis). My poor roommates had half given up on me, so when I pulled up 5 hours after my ETA, it felt really great to arrive in my new home.
And although I probably didn’t reach the state of acceptance saturday night (just a state of pure exhaustion and craving for pizza), it’s taken me a couple of days to be able to write this post. This is what travelling is all about: the unexpected.
Cheers guys. 😉