Xmas Travel Chaos
I flew into Calgary from Heathrow on Dec. 18 and arrived at 18:00 with just 30 minutes left to make my connection to Vancouver. My 18:30 Vancouver was delayed until 20:30, then delayed until 21:00, and then finally cancelled at 22:30. Passengers were told to go to the WestJet check in area and make arrangements. A mad dash ensued, leading to a miles- long line up that moved three inches in one hour. People around me were saying we weren’t getting out of here for two days potentially! I assessed the situation and decided to take control: I went online, bought a one-way ticket to Vancouver for 80 bucks leaving the next day at 9:30 am, booked a cheap hotel room for the night, and cabbed it over there at 23:00.
I slept briefly, needing a good rest following the 10-hour flight from Heathrow the previous day, and caught a free shuttle in the morning back to YYR. The chaos had deepened, but my Flair Airlines flight was still on the board for 9:30 am. Amazingly, I got on the plane and arrived at YVR at 11 in the morning on Monday. At that point, I was more concerned about my mental and physical well-being and only gave a minor second thought to the large suitcase I checked in containing Xmas presents, and my clothes. I figured it would be on the 17:30 flight that evening which WestJet had provided me ( I received an email from at midnight informing of such). My GF called WestJet to see about my luggage, but the lines were all busy, but she schedule a call back for 21:00 THE NEXT DAY! However, I was quite relieved to be in the Couve, despite my lack of luggage. I tracked the progress of my replacement flight from Calgary, which was scheduled to leave at 17:30 and land in Vancouver at 18:00.
That flight was delayed until 23:00 and, according to the WestJet app, was stuck on the YVR tarmac until 5 am! I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to avoid all that! In any event, we decided to skytrain back to YVR on Tuesday morning to see if we could find my suitcase. The main terminal was chaos, with thousands of people milling about, lining up, or sleeping on the floor. My GF said let’s go downstairs to where the luggage carousels are located. It was dead quiet there, with thousands of suitcases, duffle bags, tagged boxes and more piled up from one end of the giant room to the other. We went to carousel 1 and lined up at the lost luggage kiosk. My GF lined up while I went to look for my suitcase. Incredibly, I located it in 2 minutes! I laughed and laughed, absolutely amazed at how nicely this had all come together for me! I could not believe it. I wheeled it back to the lost luggage line up, said let’s go, hopped on the skytrain, and placed the presents under the tree. A Christmas miracle! I do, however, feel for the thousands upon thousands of people who were stuck, lost, and struggling in this limbo. But I just thought I’d share this one happy story.
Thank you universe!
Julian Lawrence loves comic books. Born in England and raised bilingual English-French in Québec, his work is published and displayed internationally.