Travelling is, of course, fun, but it does not come without challenges. I had forgotten about some of the obstacles one must endure, when trying to get to and from destinations.
Yesterday, I checked in at an airport in the US, for my flight home. I had the foresight to fly Porter, so I would not be bogged down by the long lines and slow processing at Pearson. I arrived an hour ahead of my flight time and easily made my way through security to the gate.
A sign indicating the flight was delayed by 30 minutes was no biggie, as this is a pretty normal event when travelling. COVID restrictions, for the most part, have been lifted, but, Canada still requires you to fill in the ArriveCAN app, prior to going through security.
The flight finally began boarding, and I sat comfortably in my seat, watching raindrops falling outside the window. The pilot came on to explain the weather delay and informed us we were 15 or so minutes from taking off. After 20 minutes of patience (watching a movie on my iPad), another announcement blared through the loudspeaker.
Due to our lengthy time on the tarmac, we did not have enough fuel to make it to Toronto and would have to refuel the aircraft. I could see the agitation in several passengers, but I know enough about travelling that having fuel to make it to your destination is important. Off we went to get some gas.
Tanks full, we made our way back to the taxi line. By now, it was raining hard, and after another 20 minutes of waiting, we were told the weather was really bad, and air traffic control was shutting down flights. The next announcement explained, the ground crew were looking for a gate for us to return to and park at.
Four hours had passed since our initial boarding, and yes, I was starting to get tired. We finally found a gate and deplaned. Times like this are when I am grateful for carry-on luggage. In the lounge, everyone became an expert on what we should be doing.
Another 45 minutes went by, and an announcement confirmed all flights were cancelled. The conversations roared from unhappy people, to sheer irritation, to one fellow who was to attend his daughter’s wedding the next day. Needless to say, his level of annoyance was off the scale.
The message here is simple: always leave enough time, upon your return, in the event of delays, and yes, take enough meds for a few extra days. The airline could not control the weather, so I had no choice but to grab a cab and find a hotel for the night. The adventure gave me time to check out a large mall and enjoy some fine cuisine before returning to the airport.
I decided to write this article while sitting at the mall and hope the rest of my air adventure goes according to plan. In the event it does not, I will let you know.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Watch his show, ‘Jonathan van Bilsen’s photosNtravel’, on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube.