I doubt most people will find my misery interesting, but I’ve had a comically disastrous week of travel and writing it down may be therapeutic.
The goal was simple: spend 2 nights in New York for work. The execution of this proved a bit more difficult. The weather and a transportation system not designed to deal with snow were working against me.
Wednesday, December 17
I live a bit less than an hour away from Toronto airport. For an early morning flight I typically leave home 3 hours ahead of my departure time. This morning I had in fact left 3.5 hours before my flight.
The night before, and morning of, my flight we had gotten about 8cm of snow. This wasn’t enough that I even thought twice about it causing issues on the highway to the airport.
I hit the highway just after 6am and it was already moving slowly. 15 minutes later and it was crawling to a stop. In total it took me over 4 hours to reach the airport, missing my flight. I had called ahead once I knew I’d miss it to rebook on a flight 2 hours later but had even gotten worried I’d miss that.
My new flight ended up being over 2 hours delayed but I did eventually make it to NY.
Friday, December 19
The weather channel had been expecting bad weather Friday so I checked my flight, which wasn’t until 3pm, as soon as I woke up. Already cancelled. Fantastic. Further, Continentals phone system was so busy that I couldn’t get through for 3 hours. I was automatically booked onto the next available flight, which wasn’t until Sunday. Extra fantastic.
There wasn’t any availability on Saturday because it was the busiest travel day of the year, being right before Christmas.
I then noticed Air Canada had a flight for 9pm on the Friday that wasn’t yet listed as cancelled. It was only $150 so I took a shot and booked it.
As the day wore on all my other co-workers who had flown in, or those who were trying to get out for the holidays, were checking their flights. One by one they were all cancelled. My new flight was actually the last one to be cancelled (thankfully I got a full refund).
Now, it was pretty important for me to be home for Saturday so I had looked at alternatives. Trains bound for Toronto were fully booked (even though they take an outrageous 14 hours or more). I started looking at buses. I was very hesitant to take an overnight bus trip, but at the last minute decided to go for it. I bought a ticket online and made my way to the bus station. When I arrived and went to check-in they told me all buses to Toronto had been cancelled due to weather (why they let me purchase that ticket and spend $40 in cab rides is another infuriating question).
After coming to grips with the fact that I was stuck, things weren’t so bad. I went along with some friends who were also stranded until Sunday and explored Manhattan, which I hadn’t done before. It was fun and great to see the city.