Who would have thought I would be so happy to arrive in a snowy Vancouver International Airport?
There was a bit of a clusterfuck at the airport. Something to the effect of me leaving my passport in Andre’s car and not realizing until he entered a gauntlet of rush hour traffic.
Generously, he drove me to the airport at an obscure hour of the morning I am embarrassed to admit. He was going to make it home in time to miss rush hour traffic, but now I wouldn’t be surprised if I make it to Canada before he gets home.
The fun doesn’t end there.
I remained stoic as he crawled through traffic to bring me my passport.
My neuroticism escalated as the clock got down to the final hour before my flight. I made contingency plans including living in the Gatwick Airport like Tom Hanks in Lost in Translation until I got a new flight or going to Spain to learn Spanish.
Fortunately I didn’t completely run out of inner peace before Andre made it back to the airport, commencing operation receive passport 1 hour before flight takeoff.
Run, run, run – wait for elevator. Run, run, run – wait behind horrible people who have no concept of urgency, yet an admirable sense of preparation. Run, run, run – okay fine, I’ve got 2 suitcases – take a breath behind some slow walkers.
I found the check-in desk and I don’t know if they said there were 5 minutes left or I was 5 minutes late – I didn’t care, they were letting me on the damn plane.
Suitcase: 4.5kh underweight, brilliant.
Carry-on: 10kg overweight, wait…there was a weight restriction?
The carry-on I had used previously on 3 flights choose that convenient moment not to fit into the carry-on size restriction bin. Shit, one more thing “She’s got a purse with her” (aka, another carry-on).
At this point a team of soon to be very frustrated Air Transat employees were surrounding me.
I know that I am commonly a luggage policy offender. I also know that employees have the ability to turn a blind eye to the scale and I have worked out something of a strategy for this:
First contact: Say hello oozing with youth, novelty and nervousness. Make your presence remind them of the first big trip they have ever had away from home.
Now that we are friends: Let’s get flustered. Throw your shit around, knock something over, make them pity you – the last thing they will want to do is ask you to look for your wallet.
Give them a stake in the game: Let them know you are nervous about the weight of your bag. How the hell do I know what 20kg feels like? Cross your fingers, look at the scale in anticipation and make the situation as uncomfortable as humanly possible for them to give you bad news.
For today’s adventure, it was especially important to praise the staff as being godlike by letting me on the plane. It was not much of a stretch but that doesn’t make it any less strategic. I needed to make them feel good about doing me a favor because I knew what was coming with the luggage.
Yes, fine…I was gambling with my carry-on. I may have glanced at their restrictions and pushed away the sense of hopelessness I felt when I knew I couldn’t meet them.
Both my suitcases were open, sprawled on the ground as we tried to avoid the charge for +9kg and an extra checked back which would have been over $150 CAD. The manager with the radio was saying “Get her on the plane, we need to load the plane!”. The check-in guy fought with protocol as we managed to work out just a 40 pound charge ($75 CAD).
No problem, except I didn’t have cash. He told me to go to the ATM as another lady put my boarding pass in my hand, preparing me to run. The manager intervened and waived the fee. I have concerns about if my luggage will actually arrive in Vancouver but at that point, it was a good problem to have.
I flew through the airport. I went from the passenger drop-off road to my departure gate in one of the world’s largest airports in 20 minutes. I almost threw my laptop at a lady rushing out of the security line, then ran full speed through the airport holding 3 jackets and this time, a pair of jeans.
They called my name on the intercom for the second time as I arrived to the gate discovering other miscellaneous items stowed frantically in my pockets and slung across my shoulder.
UPDATE: Since writing this on the plane, I have lost my wallet! What a day.