Monday 15th May 2017
When I said I wanted an adventure, this wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.
As I mentioned yesterday, I never slept, instead working on getting the vlog and The Climb scheduled. I worked out how to schedule video posts on both Youtube and Facebook so even at 3am in the morning there are small victories to be had.
I left about 5am. I don’t remember much about the drive other than the fact that I felt shattered. All my focus went on my driving so there was no spare brainpower to think about anything else. Well that and how badly I wanted to pee when stuck in traffic.
Dropped off the car (after eventually finding the parking) and got on the bus to the Northern Terminal.
I was feeling suitably shattered. Just let me get through the Security and get on the plane, I thought, and then I can get to sleep.
I’d seen that the flight was delayed. This wasn’t too much of a worry as I always build that into my plans. Back when I first started chasing, I was aware that flying into an area to view bad weather meant that there was a good chance that said bad weather might impact your arrival. A couple of friends from my first tour got rerouted to Dallas and then had to hire a car and drive like crazy to meet up with us before we left. That was a reminder to myself of why I travel early.
With that in mind, coupled with the wish to get my sleeping patterns into something more local, I always fly in a few days before things happen.
A good job I do!
Because my flight got cancelled.
Now, I expected them to say, “oh we’ll put you on a later flight” except the next flight is tomorrow, via Toronto rather than Calgary.
I’m a little disappointed that I don’t get to spend a few hours in Calgary. My flight back (which still goes via the airport) does not allow a big enough of a layover to really facilitate it.
However, it’s possible that I could do very well out of it. You see, first, possibly because of my “I’ve been awake for 30 hours” haze, I got sorted out away from the huge queue they’d put everyone in. This is because I was trying to check into a flight thinking it was today and not tomorrow. The staff were very good and took pity on me (effectively queue jumping).
They got me sorted with a hotel and some food vouchers and sent me on my way.
I had to wait until 12pm before the hotel room was ready, so I headed down to the South Terminal, found a seat and kept finding myself unable to doze but then suddenly aware I’d dropped off for some indeterminant amount of time.
It was inbetween these little snoozes that I remembered I had a hotel in Winnipeg booked for tonight. More worried about not turning up and them then cancelling my reservation, I tried to change it. As luck would have it, I was before the cut off time, but the web page said I needed to phone a US number to make changes.
I wasn’t too bothered. I was still getting a hotel for my duration, just that Westjet were putting me up rather than out my pocket. But, even though it was a bargain room, I still would have liked to have saved the money if I could.
I saw that their contact us page offered online chat. I expected the worst, but with 2 hours to kill before my hotel was ready, I didn’t exactly have anything better to do. It used Facebook Messenger as well, which if you’d asked me I would have said would have just ended in nothing but trouble.
Except… Hotels.com was awesome. I said my flight had been cancelled and I was now coming in a day late and wanted to move my check in time back. They did it, no quibbles and even refunded me the money for the night without me prompting. Not the sort of customer experience I was expecting via Facebook Messenger, but it worked and was bloody awesome.
I also found out that under European law I’m entitled to compensation, which isn’t based on the price of the flight, but the distance and the length of delay. I need to confirm when I am a bit more awake, but it looks like I’m basically due the cost of my entire flight.
So this 1 day delay is actually working well for me. I just wished it had been on the way back instead.
Oh and if that wasn’t enough, I found that the hotel was laying on food for all the customers, which meant that the meal vouchers I had were… well spare.
I know what you’re thinking… have something at the hotel but go out and use the vouchers for something nice. Except, that the hotel has a buffet type restaurant… and the food is great. Seriously, I’ve been overloaded with carbs and have had enough sugary treats to get diabetes.
I stayed awake and went to lunch at 1pm and had an amazing buffet. Then came back and slept for 4 or so hours. What little semblence of a sleep pattern I had was now gone by this point. So I caught up with plans in Canada, updating them to my situation. We’re trying to find out about breakdown cover when in the US. I’m sure you get some sort of roadside assistance with all hires, but they can’t find it so I’ve offered to walk over to the hire place (I’m staying near to it) and find out. That’s if I ever get to Canada.
Of course, the cancelled flight ruined my plans for today’s vlog, and so I’ve been struggling for content. I’ve noticed (perhaps because I’m tired and a bit more relaxed) that I’m presenting better to camera. I also did some vlogging in public tonight – although I cheat and use my iPhone because it looks like you are speaking to someone rather than doing something so pretentious as making a film. The only downside is that my Anker charging cable wouldn’t fit through the case and it’s a bugger to undo, so I left the case partially closed. This caused a lot of noise so I’m not happy with the audio quality in some pieces of the next vlog.
So… delayed in Gatwick, hopefully flying tomorrow, but done alright out of the delay. If there’s been one downside (other than the obvious) to today it’s been the fact that whilst I’ve been overloaded with food (I don’t think I could use the vouchers even if I try) drink has not been forthcoming. And I’m not talking about alcohol. Something other than water would have been nice. I’m either very dehydrated or having a caffeine comedown.
But all in all, a bit of an adventurous day. Hopefully, tomorrow’s edition will actually come from Canada
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels. Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
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