A bag of pretzels

January 2, 2009

This story was close to becoming another planes, trains and automobiles but I was fortunate to not come into contact with the last item. It is a short story of the trip from one small city to a larger one and a story that should be raged bland and boring. It was not meant to be that way.

It began in the moment I arrived at the airport to depart. My flight out was delayed an hour. No big deal I thought. Get through security okay and the flight was relatively smooth down to Vancouver. I forgot how much of a difference there is between flying Air North compared to flying Air Canada. Air Canada definitely has the roomier plane and is more comfortable and the service level is completely different for whatever reason. More friendly with Air North by far.

Things were fine until I arrived in Vancouver. I grabbed a quick bite to eat and afterwards noticed that there seemed to be a high level of stress with a lot of travellers. There were usually large groups of people together centred around the info booths. Not a good sign. And sure enough, my flight to the east was cancelled.

Going out into the main terminal to change my flight was a bit tricky. The lines were long and everyone seemed to be as confused to which line they should be in. After a forty minute wait, I received the bad news: no flights out for another 50 hours, and even then I would still have to overnight in Calgary airport and get to Regina in the morning the following day. There wasn’t much else I could do but book the flight and figure out the next step from there. With my schedule in hand, I headed downstairs to retrieve my bags and sort things out.

The luggage area was a zoo. Bags were being stores in every place imaginable and people were circling the carousels like vultures. It took me another half an hour or more to locate by bag butvat least I was able to locate it. After making arrangements to stay at a friends for the next few days I had to hurry up and wait, as the expression goes.

Fast forward through two days of slushy snow, baked goods, singing hosts and old Christmas movies, and we arrive back at the airport roughly 48 hours after I left it last.

After a last ditch effort to see I’d I could get a flight earlier, I settled in to wait until 10:30 pm for my flight. While I waited to check in, I noticed that the side where you purchase tickets was so long that they had set up a lounge section of chairs to sit down in. Thankfully, I did not have to wait that long.

10 pm arrives. I go to my gate to board the plane but there’s one slight problem. The board at the gate reads a different flight number for Edmonton.  I ask the agent what happened to my flight and it’s been delayed until 1:30am. Alright, things have been bad enough so I should have seen this coming. At this time, everything was shut down but the airport was still quite busy. A lot of people were tired of the delays, some wandered aimlessly up and down the corridors. The families were camped out against the walls, and a small army of laptops were out in the open – more glowing apples than non-apples, by the way. Are Mac users blessed with poor luck?

There’s an announcement over the PA system with a gate change. Like the other lemmings I saw racing around trying to reach their gate on time earlier, I walk down to the new gate following the pack. We get to the new gate and we wait another twenty minutes for the agent to arrive. Boarding the plane fifteen minutes late, we all sit down and are thankful to be leaving finally.

We spoke too soon. The captain came on and said we would be waiting another thirty minutes. He blamed the baggage handlers for the delay. I found this interesting because when I was waiting at a gate a worker from the tarmac was talking to another passenger. I overheard him say that the pilots are quick to blame the baggage handlers but there was a lot more to it than just that.

There we sat, passengers trying to sneak in phone calls, use their iPods and basically move around the plane as if we were in flight. The entertainment centre was turned on which helped settle people but then the captain came on to say we had to wait longer to de-ice the plane. At this point, it was nearly 3am and a flight attendant was talking about how we were close to hitting the boundary for how long they could work. The plane had to leave in the next hour or so, otherwise, the flight would be cancelled. The plane did take off shortly after 4am and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people grateful foe the same reason before. Quite a few actually clapped both when we took off and when we arrived.

We arrived in Calgary at 6am and I had thirty minutes to get to my next gate. This is significantly shorter than the six hours I was supposed to have. I had been hoping to wash up before getting on the plane but my luggage never made it to Calgary or had been put through to the next flight – I had asked to pick if up in Calgary because of the long over night delay but that was not meant to be.

I arrived in Regina at 9:30 am on the 24th. I was supposed to arrive at 1:30am on the 22nd. A 56 hour delay. Now, if that had nor been bad enough, my luggage never made it. This is the second time I’ve travelled at Christmas time and lost luggage. I guess I should have expected this after everything that had happened before this.

I was mainly thankful to have finally arrived in Regina. There was another moment where I was thankful and rgaf happened on the flight to Calgary. Shortly before we took off, a flight attendant walked down the aisle handing out bags of pretzels. Taking that bag and opening it up, popping in that tiny pretzel, I let it lay on my tongue to savour the salty goodness. With one slow bite down, I heard the crunch in my mouth, and everything was good. I sat and thought about how it’s always the simple pleasures in life that have the most meaning. Then I smiled to myself and thought that this will probably be the only time in my life that a small pretzel gives me so much pleasure.


2 Responses to “A bag of pretzels”

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