Oct 2, 2012

Now Boarding for Las Vegas

Flying to Las Vegas wasn't really that stressful of a situation, however it turned into more of a story when things didn't go to plan.  It's incredibly expensive to fly out of Medicine Hat's regional airport, so last Sunday I drove up to Calgary to catch a flight to Seattle with a connection to Las Vegas.  I've been to Vegas four times before, driving twice, and flying direct twice, and this was the first time I had to make the flight with a connection - in the future I'll be more diligent about avoiding this.

It all started when I was waiting in the Calgary airport when they announced that the gate for my flight had changed.  Once I got there it was announced that the flight would be delayed by an hour as the plane hadn't arrived in time.  Usually this wouldn't be such a big deal, but I had a small window to make my connection and there's nothing worse than feeling rushed when you're not familiar with the area.  Despite the delay, they assured us our connections would be fine and everything worked out.  That night I made it to Las Vegas and the fun began (more on that to come).  

I was flying with Alaska Airlines, and while my initial flights came together in the end, it was on the way back that things really got messy.  I arrived early to McCarran International in Vegas to take the same route home.  I'd be connecting in Seattle to Calgary and then I'd be driving home late that night, or so I thought.  After about an hour of waiting I heard a familiar announcement.  My gate had changed and it turned out our plane was having mechanical issues and they were going to have to fly in a replacement from Los Angeles.

It was at this point that you could see the frustration levels mounting in the lounge. Not even a bit of last minute airport gambling seemed very fun.  There were a handful of us who had connections to Calgary and Edmonton that night and we'd just been told that the delay would be at least two hours.  This meant we'd arrive in Seattle just as our connections were taking off.  As some passengers scrambled to find alternatives, it was becoming increasingly clear that a bunch of us would be stranded in Seattle for the night waiting for the next flights out in the morning.  

By the time we finally left Vegas the sun was setting and a delay on my connecting flight was the only plausible way that I'd make it.  When we landed in Seattle they announced my connecting flight had left on time, the irony being that it was the only one that had on my entire trip and I wasn't on it.

They booked me on a flight to Calgary the next morning and paid for a room at a hotel close by.  I was happy I wasn't sleeping on the floor of the airport, but I was without my checked bag which was being held for my connection the next the day.  I made due with a late night snack at Denny's, and managed a few hours sleep before heading back to the airport.  Despite the change of plans, I had given myself a few days leeway to recooperate from the trip anyway so I wasn't really pressed for time.  It would've been way worse had this happened on my way there as it would've cut into vacation time, but as it was, I just gained another story from my week away.                  

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