Planes, Trains and Winter

I realize that running an airline must be a difficult job and that air travel, especially in winter, has its challenges. Nevertheless I cannot think of a single business trip in the last year and a half where an airline has not dropped the ball on me. A recent trip from Ottawa to Toronto was no exception. Airline names have been omitted to protect the guilty.


My original plan was a 5:25 departure winging me gently into the airport shortly after 6. After that I would check in, have a relaxing bite to eat and then unpack and off to bed early.


As I was prepping to drive to the airport I checked the flight status. Not surprising, depending on which means I used to check the status I got wildly different answers. An aggregation of the various answers lead me to believe that my 5:25 flight was actually departing at 8:50. Using investigative talents gleaned over many years I checked other flights only to find out that every flight from Ottawa to Toronto except mine was cancelled. I decided to call the airline.


As they were experiencing a higher than normal call volume (don't get me started) I waited 50 minutes to be attached to a human (Rachel). The upside was that during my wait the airline stressed approximately 80 times how important my call was to them. After such a heart warming experience I embarked on a new adventure with Rachel.


She informed me that Toronto was getting a light patch of freezing rain and, as such, had called out the Military and the populace was clustered into emergency shelters weeping. Under intense questioning Rachel admitted that in all likelihood my flight would also be cancelled. We then moved on to the refund discussion. She seemed shocked that in addition to my wanting a refund on the flight to Toronto I also wanted one for the flight back. After some time and coaching she came to realize that if one was not flying to Toronto then one would not need a flight back from Toronto.


After a wild scramble I am currently on the train. It is actually moving towards Toronto and some lady came by and gave me a beer. This meets all my travel criteria.