Waiting For A Plane X – Pearson Airport

I was traveling for a couple of weeks last month. I spent a lot of time in airports. In each one I had time on my hands. As a result I wrote at least one post in each of the airports; this is the concluding post in the series. Some of the posts are more coherent than others, depending on how much sleep I had had.

This is the post I didn’t expect to write. I had allowed 90 minutes between flights, giving me enough time to arrive from Istanbul, clear customs and jump on the plane to Ottawa. No time to write a post.

Yet here I am at Pearson International, in Toronto, waiting for a plane. As I type it is 23 hours since I left the hotel in Erbil, and I don’t sleep on planes. I might be a little grouchy – sleep deprivation can do that.

When I boarded the flight in Istanbul the attendant proudly announced over the public address system that Air Canada had been voted North America’s best carrier for five years running. Nobody asked me for my vote.

The courteous thing to do would have been to have prefaced that announcement with an apology and an explanation. The flight left an hour late. I have no idea why. It arrived almost 90 minutes late. I hadn’t cleared customs when my original connection took off.

I, of course, wasn’t the only person inconvenienced. Probably a hundred people on the flight were in similar circumstances.

I tend to avoid flying Air Canada if at all possible. No complaints about the flights themselves – but probably three quarters of the Air Canada flights I have taken in my lifetime have been significantly late. And I’m probably being generous to the airline in that estimate.

So here I am at Pearson International Airport, for the first time since we flew home from Liberia 25 years ago. Nothing looks familiar which is not surprising. I know from news reports that the airport has had several expansions in the intervening years.

Once again though, I still can’t figure out why transferring passengers have to go through the whole security screening process again. I got my palms, belt and shoes swabbed for something. I tried to make out what was being said, but the guard mumbled and I was too tired to ask. He wasn’t swabbing everyone, so I have no idea why I was so honoured.

I also lost one of my two water bottles at security. They should have taken both or none. I can’t figure these things out.

At least my suitcase made it here. In Erbil the Turkish airlines clerk insisted she couldn’t check it through to Ottawa, that I would have to pick it up in Istanbul. In Istanbul I went to the transfer desk, and they issued me new tags with an Ottawa destination. I was a little leery that would work. As I mentioned in my last post last year Turkish Airlines left my Ottawa-bound luggage in Istanbul. It was delivered to my home two days later.

Flight is starting to board. That means I’ll be home soon. It’s been a long 10 days, with a lot of time spent in airports. Nothing about the time spent in them has made me like them any better.

Pearson International Airport, Toronto, May 29, 1650.

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