A Travellerspoint blog

Escaping Victoria’s Bikelanes and Roadworks

Whee! It’s Calgary (airport)!

sunny 27 °C
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So this is really it - Saturday morning. Awake at 6:30am to be ready for the taxi (ordered last night) at 8:30am.

8:30am chosen as a “failsafe” time - if the taxi does not arrive by 9am, there is always the option of driving to the airport and parking the car in long term parking.

Though the parking fees for being away over 3 weeks will likely be at least $300. So the taxi (about $70 each way) is a cheaper option. But I have had misadventures with non-arriving taxis before. Thus the safety net.

The taxi arrived on time. The driver was pleasant and talkative. The trip to the airport was fast (he had a “secret route” which shaved 3 1/2 minutes off the trip. I guess if you make your living by driving and that by taking as many fares as you can manage, those 3 /12 minutes add up across the days and weeks.)

The entire conversation in the taxi consisted of mutually enraging each other over the bikelanes and the roadworks in Victoria. I find myself in borderline road rage just driving the short trips I do in downtown Victoria - I cannot imagine how hard it would be to remain calm if I drove through it for a living, all day every day.

Arrived safe and sound (and early) at the airport, said goodbye to the co-anarchic anti-roadwork driver and then lugged all the luggage into the self checkin area where boarding passes and luggage tags were printed.

Travel does have a lot of waiting in it.

Waited in the airport to board.

Since we are traveling business class and even though the short-hop Dash-8 does not have a business class section as such, was at least able to board as “Zone 1” and then take the forward seats on the starboard side, which means oodles of leg room. Yay.

Then we waited quite a while to take off. We were shut in and the pilots locked down and various sounds of flight prep happening (propellers spinning up) but then there was a long pause as the flight attendant talked animatedly into the in-house telephone device, and then went to the back of the plane to confer with someone. While she was away, there was a knocking on the (closed) front door, and eventually it was manually opened from the outside by a uniformed man (with a comedy moustache and a sad face) who poked his head around the corner and then stage-whispered back to attendant that he needed to talk to her. I have learned from some amount of flying that the re-opening of the door and especially by a man with a sad face and a comic moustache, is almost never good news. He was also holding in his hand a loose strip of baggage tag - the kind that normally would have been peeled and affixed to an actual bag. He too went to the back of the aircraft.

Then the pilot unlocked himself and appeared. In addition to sad faced men poking their heads around re-opened doors, pilots emerging from cockpits is almost certainly bad news. I steeled myself for the announcement that we were all to deplane and they would fix the flashing light or other issue that caused all the kerfuffle.

But! Yay! The pilot (after some comedic activity of his own - trying to latch the cockpit door several times so as to not have it lock itself on him) returned and apologizing for the delay, said we would be underway in minutes. And we were! Yay! Straight out to the runway, a no delay taxi, and whoosh, the throttles went back and up we went.

I once read that the most dangerous time in a plane flight was the first minute after take off. So over the years I have taken to counting ... one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand ... all the way to sixty-one-thousand, before I relax and allow myself to believe that my death in a fiery crash is not imminent, this time.

A short hour and fifteen minutes later there was some fuss unloading the plane as the delay had made some passengers’ had imminent connections to catch. Flight attendant asked us to sit tight so that that “handful” of said nearly-late fully-panicked fliers were deplaned first.

I swear half the plane suddenly had to be on that imminent flight list. Certainly a whole lot more than a “handful” were crowding and crushing into the aisle. I do not understand why people are always so anxious to get off a plane. Civility pretty much dies in the aisles of a newly landed plane. Someone should do a study. Is it the oxygen, the pressure, some underlying claustrophobia in all of us?

There were some sharp words spoken when a passenger who had been asked to move up front so someone else could sit with some travelling partner, but who still had his carry-on luggage at the original seat in the back, who was apparently also late for his connection, was trying to move back to get his bag while a young woman in tears was trying to get forward (Although through the tears I gathered she had already missed it). Several Good Samaritan passengers rooting for the tearful woman were scathingly cut down by the man who pointed out that he too was about to miss his connection. Those castigating him did not know he had been generous in giving up his seat and is it turned out, had hurt his own chances of connection by having his luggage still way back. Context is all.

Ok, the upside of business class travel is not just the leg room or the better meals or the slightly faster on boarding / deplaning. It is also very definitely the lounge access.

So here I am in the Aspire Lounge in Calgary, sipping a decent Pinot Grigio, having had a Terryaki chicken with saffron rice lunch plus some selected deserts plus a flat white coffee, all complimentary. I hate to have to state it so bluntly - economy class travel is very dehumanizing - and business or firsts class at least restores some semblances of dignity.

I am about to wind up and wander to the gate where I will board the flight to London. See you there!!

Posted by greece2019 15:20 Archived in Canada Tagged victoria flight calgary lounge businessclass

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