Wanted: friends in high places

Paula Tessier
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How hard would it be to befriend Richard Branson, Oprah, or Donald Trump I wonder?

If I plan on travelling by air, ever again in my lifetime, it will be essential to get to know folks wouldn’t mind lending me their wheels … or in this case, their wings.

There was a time, several years ago, when I’d often joke that if you were on the same flight as I was, be fully prepared for delays.

Sadly, this is no longer a laughing matter. If you are in the airport, and see me sitting at your gate waiting to board, you might want to consider booking on a different flight. I have not had one return flight booked in the past six years, where both legs of the journey were on time.

Nearly two years ago some lady friends and I were heading towards the Big Apple for a little pre-Christmas shopping, to see The Rockettes, and enjoy a Broadway show. Because New York is just south of our beautiful province, a long weekend was booked.

Jokes were passed around about my poor travel luck.

Tugs frozen on the runway causing cancellations? Been there, and what the heck is a tug doing out of water?

Flying from Toronto, with a stop in Halifax, before landing back on The Rock, well that sounds easy enough. How about instead of landing back on terra firma in Terre Neuve, we circle the air for a while until everyone is adequately air sick, then abandon the idea of landing and turn around for the exact same itinerary in reverse, taking us back to where we started.

Yup, that has happened — twice!

Checking in at the airline desk, going through security, waiting at the gate for a couple of hours because of weather issues, only to have the flight ultimately cancelled well after what was supposed to be our landing time?

That’s my least favourite I think, but after three occasions, you’d think I’d be used to it.

All these stories were bouncing around in my head, some were shared aloud, but not all. Best not to scare my travel companions.

Well it seems my lack of luck was true to form; we ended up being a day late leaving and 1 1/2 days delayed coming home. We would have been better off walking!  

So two weeks ago, I was embarking on a tropical trip with a friend as opposed to my husband. She and I get along famously and have travelled together with work several times. Usually by car, although she was on the New York trip, yet was still brave enough to book this Mexican holiday with me. Her good friend was getting married in Mexico and since her husband was not going to be in town, I gladly went as her plus-one.

We were leaving from Halifax with the wedding group. Given my unfortunate history and our March weather, we decided to head to Halifax nearly two days in advance … just in case. Well the trips from Torbay to Halifax, then Halifax to Cancun, went over without a hitch. No one was more shocked than me.

The week of relaxation, sun, sleep, great food and smooth mojitos suffered no delays at all by and before we knew anything we were shaking sand out of our clothes in anticipation of the trip home.

The weather was great in Cancun, no snow delays there. The weather in Halifax was good as well, albeit far too cold. No reason to anticipate any problems.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the sometimes forgotten, mechanical delay of nearly five hours, the consequent missed connecting flight, the unexpected overnight stay in Halifax, and the grovelling with Westjet to let us on the early aircraft the next day.

Welcome to my world.

So now you know why I need to befriend someone who owns their own airplane.

My friends are certainly never travelling with me again, hubby is second guessing himself, and as for me, well I always have a carry-on bag with enough supplies to last me at least two days.

Email Paula Tessier at chickp@bellaliant.net.

Organizations: Big Apple

Geographic location: Halifax, New York, Broadway Toronto Cancun Mexico Torbay

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