Monday, March 03, 2008

Heading to San Diego

I hadn't paid much attention to the times of my flights to San Diego. I assumed it would be the same early morning flights out of Saskatoon that we usually get. Instead I found that I left at 2:30pm and arrived at 11:30pm. I would have preferred to get there earlier, especially since the ETech conference started first thing Monday morning. Oh well, my own fault for not paying more attention.

On Saturday it had been amazingly warm in Saskatoon - melting temperatures. So I figured I'd be fine wearing sandals to travel, my preference instead of confining my feet to shoes for such a long time. But Sunday it was -17c with nasty winds bringing the wind chill to -30c or more. Too late, I'd already packed my shoes in the bottom of my bag. It's a quick trip to the airport.

For some reason they could only check me in as far as Calgary. That seemed a little odd but not unheard of so I didn't think too much of it. I also had aisle seats on all the flights. Shelley would have been happy but I like to sit by the window so I can look out and take pictures. Luckily they could switch my seat.

Of course, I had arrived at the airport early. I'm a belt and suspenders kind of guy. Maybe working with software development has made me more of a believer in Murphy. Not a problem, I'm already switching to "patience is my middle name" travel mode. To avoid leaving a trail of disposable cups I'd brought my travel cup with me and I filled it with a cup of tea to keep me company while I waited for the flight.

When we eventually boarded the walkway to the plane was freezing - I'd left my winter jacket at home. And then the plane was roasting hot, presumably a result of trying to fight the cold air coming in the open door. I sat down in my window seat and was a little horrified to see a large, wide woman drop into the seat beside me. The middle armrest was up and she overflowed into my space. One of the risks of traveling solo. Just as I was resigning myself to a somewhat "cozy" flight I happened to glance up at the row numbers and realized I was, hallelujah, in the wrong row! I apologized and moved ahead one row to sit beside a thankfully more normal sized person.

It was a clear afternoon, blue sky overhead shading to almost white at the horizon with a little haze. The fields were all white with snow in Saskatchewan but as we got closer to Calgary the snow disappeared. I think we flew over Eagle Creek that I kayaked down last spring. I'll have to compare the pictures I took with the map (or Google Earth).

There was enough haze in Calgary that you could just see the tops of the mountains peeking out. We had to walk down the steps of the plane to the ground and then immediately up a set of stairs to the walkway. All we need was a plank and we could have gone straight across. Luckily it was warmer in Calgary.

I got to practice my calm, relaxed, zen travel attitude early in this trip. I went to the United counter to check in and get my boarding passes for the rest of the trip. Although there was no lineup, no one seemed to want to talk to me so I tried the automated check in. But it refused to recognize me. Eventually I got someone to help me. But they couldn't check me in! I was on the passenger list and I had a seat, but for some reason I didn't have a ticket. Huh? How could I have a seat without a ticket? Because of my flights to Mexico next week my ticket had been booked through Aeromexico, although it was Air Canada and United Airlines flights to and from San Diego. Could I contact my travel agent? Not on a Sunday. They phoned Aeromexico but they just said they had nothing to do with the flights in Canada and the United States. Next they phoned Air Canada who told United not to worry about it, just check me in. But the computer wouldn't allow that. Damn computers :-) Eventually Air Canada issued a paper ticket and somehow that allowed United to check me in. I even managed to change to window seats :-)

Unfortunately, Shelley is flying on a similar itinerary next week to meet me in Mexico. Hopefully the travel agent can straighten things out so she doesn't have the same hassles.

By now my bag had been tirelessly circling the conveyer for some time. Customs was pleasantly uncrowded so I was through in no time. There's not a lot of choices for restaurants in the C terminal but there is a Starbucks so I picked up a latte and even managed to snag one of the few big comfy chairs to sit in while I drank it. The sun was shining through the window and I was on my way - life is good.

It was midnight (2am Saskatoon time) when I finally got to the hotel so I pretty much crashed right away.

1 comment:

  1. And yet, somehow, I don't feel sorry for you at all!