A few years ago, I wrote about taking a trip to my Grandmother's funeral as being the worst trip I'd ever experienced. Well, yesterday certainly topped it.
The kids & I are visiting my family for a few weeks, so we flew out yesterday morning at 6:30am to Toronto. When we arrived in Toronto, we had to go pick up our luggage in order to take it through customs to enter The States. When we got to the luggage carousel, we had a short wait for our suitcases, but Chancery's carseat didn't appear to be forthcoming. So I went to ask a customer service rep. if it might be in a different spot since it's a large, bulky item. They looked for it, looked on the computer for it & discovered that somewhere between Charlottetown & Toronto it was lost, but they asked me to wait a few more minutes just in case it showed up, since you are supposed to take all of your luggage through customs yourself. At this point I tried to call PChad to tell him the humourous tale that the carseat was missing, but alas, I couldn't reach him on the phone. My next flight was leaving in 1 hour, so I told the baggage people that I had to go. The told me to look for it once I got to my destination & if it didn't show up, to put in a "lost luggage" form.
So, the kids & I headed off to clear customs. Of course my passport was "randomly flagged" for further questioning. We were ushered off to a small waiting area while the border guards thought up a bunch of questions about my parents, & finally they came to ask me what I did for a living & if I'd been to the Middle East. As a final comment, the officer left me with this gem, "Just so you know, your flight started boarding 1/2 a hour ago. I'm pretty sure you've missed your flight. Sorry about that." Though he didn't seem to be the least bit sorry.
The kids & I managed to get thought security & to our gate with 2 minutes to spare before the flight was supposed to leave, but the door was closed, the plane was gone, & there was no one at the counter. So off to customer service we went. I was told there was another direct flight at 5pm, but seeing as it was only 9:30 in the morning, I didn't feel like waiting that long if I didn't have to.
The other option was to fly to Vancouver, & then to Seattle, arriving at 3 pm. I asked if I'd have to go through US customs again to do that & was informed that I would, & in addition, I'd also have to go though Canada customs in Toronto. I decided to take my chances & got the new tickets. The woman ushered the kids & I off to the secure area where incoming international flights' arrivals go, directed us to the elevators since we had the stroller, & then she left. We walked down the short hallway to discover there were doors leading into the elevators, which were magnetically sealed, so we turned around to take the escalator... To discover there were more doors which were also locked. We then headed back to the door we had come in, to find that it was locked as well. So we were trapped in a glass cage. I may, or may not have lost it then. A kind gentleman saw my plight & went to find someone to let us out.
We made it back though Canada customs uneventfully, retrieved our luggage once again, got new luggage tags, put them on another belt & were off to find our gate for our flight to Vancouver. Much to Asher's delight, I asked a golf cart driver for a lift, so we sped off to the gate, a kind traveller let us cut in line ahead of her, we boarded the plane & were off! The flight was relatively uneventful, we watched TV, changed a few diapers, threatened eachother not to take off seatbelts anymore, you know, the usual.
In Vancouver, we found a pay phone to let my parents know why we they couldn't find us at the airport (we were 2 hours later than they anticipated at that point), but that we should be there by 3 (instead of 11:30). We then headed off to security, were held up due to a forgotten Swiss Army knife, & had to fill out paperwork for that (did I mention we had a hour until our flight left?). We made it through, & were off to customs. Once again, we were pulled aside for more questioning (doesn't seem like such a random thing anymore, does it?) due to the fact that Asher & I have US passports & Chancery has a Canadian one. I think they also had an issue with the fact that we were flying into The States, but driving back, so we had no documentation proving that we planned on leaving (trust me, at this point, I was ready to tell them I didn't even want to enter The States anymore).
Once again, we were told that we had most likely missed our flight, but there was another one leaving at 4 (an hour & 1/2 later). AS I passed the departures board, I noticed the 4pm flight was cancelled (of course!), and the next one was at 6pm (at least Chancery would have a chance to get out of the stroller & Asher might have a chance to get to the washroom). But we got to the gate & much to my surprise, the 2:30 flight we were scheduled on, was delayed 45 minutes! Finally, something had gone my way! We had 10 minutes before boarding time, so Chancery was released from her confines & given a chance to be bullied by Asher for a few moments. Asher took the opportunity to knock a gentleman's suitcase over onto another child who happened to be nearby, spilling the man's documents everywhere.
We had a short flight from Vancouver to Seattle, finally we made it! I went to file a "lost luggage" form to discover that the airline's policy is to give a new carseat instead of loaning you one (I was glad at that point, that I had decided to take the older carseat for Chancery, which was already a little broken from the last time we had flown with it). If my old one does get found at some point, they'll send it back to me too, not that I really care about it at this point.
My parents asked if we still wanted to go out for a meal as originally planned. I told them that we really, really needed to since the kids & I had gotten up at 1am local time & had been travelling ever since (it was now 5pm), and all we had eaten was raisins, dry Corn Pops, & fish crackers all day. We had literally run through airports all day & not had a chance to stop for anything. I was really glad I had packed such large quantities, because we were nearly out of food. Also, the kids had not slept a wink all day, but they did remarkably well considering the circumstances. But gone are the days of leisurely reading a book on a flight.
I was just really glad that my day ended with a trip to Taco Bell, complete with Dr Pepper in the soda fountain. Don't you wish you could travel like me?