Finally made it to GSP (Graphing Social Patterns) East in Washington. Jeff and I were supposed to arrive Sunday night. The hot weather sparked a thunderstorm in Toronto so we couldn’t land and had to to on to Ottawa. The Ottawa airport was overwhelmed with incoming flights so they couldn’t take us off the plane, Instead they parked us (in a plane parking lot as Jeff described it). We sat there for a couple of hours, refueled and got back to TO in time for, well in time for nothing actually. When we got off the plane nobody said anything to us, it was as if nothing had happened. It was about 10 PM and an Air Canada employee at the gate told us that they “shut down customer service because it got too busy with the cancellations and rerouting.” Wow. He must have noticed the tired angry incredulous look on my face because, with a sigh, he handed me a tiny white slip of paper. A coupon for a hotel, or a meal or credit or something maybe? No a small piece of paper with two phone numbers. One to rebook my flight and one for area hotels. It seems there is/was no way to rebook your ticket at the airport. You need to call an 800 number and wait on hold for over 15 minutes (at least they warn you) and then talk to someone. Air Canada had already booked me on a new flight but it didn’t get into Ronald Regan until 10 am and the conference started at 8 am today. I finally changed our flights to get into Dulles at 7:45am. Okay, but Dulles is a 29 miles from the conference and Ronald Regan is 5 miles. I did it, but Air Canada, if your listening, it sucks. Oh and the hotel that Air Canada gets you at a discount – when you get there they don’t want to let you stay for the $75 quoted, but for $145 – no problem at all.
We got to sleep at 1:30 Toronto time and had to get up at 4 am to get the shuttle to the airport. We waited in the Air Canada line and finally got to the front only to have the attendant inform us that our flight was operated by United. “Go down to isle J”. Long line at isle J. Why couldn’t the person on the phone last night tell me that we needed to go the United gate. Air Canada, I don’t know if you listening. but this sucks.
So now we have a very short time to get through customs and security. Customs goes smoothly but we we get to security the guy says to me, and I kid you not, “I have been waiting for you”. We get some kind of rub down search that you might pay money for in other circumstances. But we made it to our plane, Washington and the conference.
It’s 102 degrees here so I spent the lunch break at the small pool here at the Regency Hyatt. Another Canadian, well a Newfie so almost Canadian (joking) , showed up. Nice guy working on cool stuff.
Back to the conference!