30 January 2007

Journey Interuptus

Alright, so I quit my job in IT to go wander up and down upon the earth for a while.

That was the easy part, I think.

I packed up and/or discarded my possessions that wouldn't fit into two old army duffel bags a few days ago and went to get my flight to Korea. I had no idea that getting to Korea would be such an adventure!

Sunday afternoon Amanda noticed that my Air Canada flight to Toronto was delayed by four hours. That meant that there was no way to make my connecting flight to Seoul. I called Korean Air and they said there were no flights available until February 8th. Crazy!

We went to the airport and the nice Air Canada lady (Trudy) made alternate bookings to take me to Vancouver to catch a flight out the next morning. Off to Toronto I went, got there at 1 am and waited for the ticket counter to open for the leg to Vancouver. There were lots of people hanging around waiting for morning, sleeping on the floor, on their luggage, on seats. I tried it but couldn't get any sleep. Coupled with the fact that I hadn't slept much in a couple of days, everything had a sort of surreal haze to it.

So I get my ticket and go to wait for the flight to Vancouver. I was starting to wonder why there was nobody at the gate booth when I saw the flight number change. My flight had been canceled. No notice, nobody at the gate to say anything, I don't even recall an announcement.

Off to the service desk in Toronto. The clerks there were really nice and there were a tonne of angry people, but most of them got some sort of arrangements. The lady looking at my stuff saw all the changes I had had and started looking for alternate arrangements. When I told her I had been in the airport for about 12 hours, she looked like she was going to cry. She fixed up my schedule and got me a flight to Vancouver, put me in a hotel with meal vouchers and booked me first class from Vancouver to Seoul. Not just first class, she put me in seat 1A!

The funny thing is that the only thing that bothered me about the delays and changes was the lack of sleep. I actually enjoyed the difficulty of getting it all sorted out. I didn't freak out and yell or cry, I found that a smile and some politeness actually got me a far better deal.

I now have a stapled pile of itinerary change forms, etc. that's starting to look like a book. Hilarious! I'm disappointed by Air Canada's dropping the ball three times in two days, but I got something valuable out of it. It made me happy.

I'm off to Incheon Airport, Seoul, tomorrow at lunchtime and then on to Busan.

I had a big meal of fish and chips and shrimp chowder just now and I'm off to have a shower and sleep in a bed for the first time in almost three days.


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