Today is the big day! I’m finally enroute to Santo Domingo for the next 6.5 weeks. Anyone who talked to me last night knows how excited, nervous and slightly insane I was. I didn’t officially finish working until late in the afternoon, then packing until midnight and then there wasn’t any point of going to sleep when I was supposed to be at the airport for 2:40am! Yuck.
When I did my online check in, I discovered that my flight was delayed by an hour. Unfortunately nothing I can do about it, but I knew right then that my day was likely to be screwed up. I had connecting flights scheduled in both Toronto and New York with only one and a half hours to get off one plane and on to another. Sounds easy enough, but let me tell you, it isn’t. It is just like dominios, once one falls over, everything that it connects to falls down as well.
Right from the start things didn’t go my way. When they tell you to be three hours early because you are flying international, that doesn’t count at the Halifax airport for 5:40am flights. The check in counters weren’t open when I arrived. In fact, the entire airport was pretty much a ghost-port. Not a soul to be seen.
I went to check my bag in for my flight and the nice lady told me that I was probably going to miss my connector flight, but that she wasn’t able to rebook me. She pointed me to a place to go and wait for the ticketing office to open. So, I waited … I was first in line, that was a good start!
Then, after a good 20 minutes of waiting another lady came over and asked what exactly I was waiting for … The ticketing was supposed to open at 4am. Now it was 4:10am and no ticketing clerk yet. When I explained that I was likely to miss my connecting flight, she put me in yet a different line to wait.
When I got to see a clerk, I explained the situation, that because of the flight delay it seemed as if I would probably not be able to get my luggage and get through US customs in just a short 20 minutes in the Toronto airport. Her response was ‘So what is it that you would like me to do?’
I laughed at her … ooops. I had explained my situation to three different people and now she’s asking me what I’d like her to do about it? Oh my!
So, I explained that I wasn’t sure what she should do, but that I would like to get to Santo Domingo today …
Then came my second lady again. The two ladies discussed and decided that there was no real ‘proof’ that I was going to miss my connection (because we were now scheduled to land at 7:50am and boarding for my connecting flight was at 7:45am). So, I would have to go through without being rebooked. And they explained this to me like I had requested to be rebooked. In fact, all I had done was try to check my baggage and the first lady told me I needed to rebook and that she couldn’t help me with that. UG!
So, I boarded the flight from Halifax to Toronto because there was nothing I, or anyone else could do at this point. I checked with one of the airline hostesses to see if there was anything she could do. She assured me that just before landing she would come get me and if there was room at the front of the plane in business class, she would move me up so I could be first off the plane. Of course, I wasn’t the only one trying to catch a short connection though!
When we landed, I was first off the plane, but I wasn’t the fastest! Several people took off sprinting. I sure hope they made their connections because they put a lot of effort in to it. I, however, just walked a little faster than normal. I already knew there wasn’t a chance for me to catch my connection. I still needed to pick up my luggage and then go through US customs. There was no way that was going to all happen in 20 minutes!
And boy, was I right! As soon as I checked with my first person in the airport, they told me that I had already been rebooked and that I would be flying through Miami. Unfortunately they couldn’t tell me any details about what time I’d be leaving or when I would arrive in Santo Domingo.
Good thing it got rebooked though; I waited close to 45 minutes just to get my luggage. Then I had to get my new tickets, go through US customs and security … again. All of which had their own difficulties, but none of them were very interesting. Just a series of unhappy staff who were pre-occupied and not very friendly.
I arrived at my gate about five minutes before boarding, so it at least I didn’t end up rushing too much, but yet I didn’t end up sitting and waiting forever. Not bad timing for that flight. Wouldn’t have been so bad if my rerouting hadn’t changed my arrival time to six hours later than I expected. That’s a bummer.