Living in Canada there is one thing that we all know very well and that is that winter is a long, cold, and terrible time of year. Between snow and freezing rain, the conditions of winter can make traveling nearly impossible. This applies to all methods of travel, and this holiday I had a particularly unique experience when it came to winter conditions.
Flying in the winter can be an interesting process. It is natural to expect that you may see some delays due to weather, but I had a particularly trying experience with my holiday travel this year.
It all began when we left home to head to Ottawa to catch our first flight. It was already snowing pretty heavily for the two hour journey, but a little snow never hurt anyone. The freezing rain wasn't set to start until later in the day.
Things went downhill after we reached the airport. Our first flight was delayed for over two hours because of freezing rain in Toronto. All flights in and out of Toronto were grounded for over two hours. And, Toronto being such a major transportation hub, this just created a domino effect.
So needless to say, when we finally got onto our one hour flight from Ottawa to Toronto, we didn't receive very good news about our next flight. Having been delayed two hours leaving Ottawa, we were bumped onto a later flight out to Vancouver.
This meant another two hours at the airport waiting for this flight, which also was delayed an hour. So, three hours later we are on the five hour flight to Vancouver.
The flight took longer than anticipated and when we landed in Vancouver it was well past any time to catch a flight out to Victoria. There were no more flights going out that night, so we got bumped to the first flight in the morning.
Luckily the airline put us up in a hotel for the night. I mean we only slept for four hours by the time we got there, but still, it was a bed to sleep in for the night.
After we'd gotten off the plane, we went searching for our luggage. We watched two carousels fill up and then empty of baggage. There was no sign of our baggage, so we had to go wait in line to figure out that it would be sent to Victoria and meet us there in the morning.
So with no baggage other than carry ons, we headed to the hotel to sleep for four hours. Then we had to get up, put on the same clothes from the day before, and go for our last flight. The leap over to Victoria would only take a half hour, but this flight was also delayed.
In Vancouver it was raining and in Victoria it was snowing—an almost unheard of phenomenon.
We finally arrived safe and sound after 24 hours of traveling and three delayed flights. We were all tired and worn out, but we'd finally made it to our destination. And our bags were even waiting for us.
It was a trying two days of travel. It was the most difficult travel experience of my life so far, but we got through it, and we got picked up at the airport and were finally able to start our Christmas holiday.
So my advice to anyone hoping to travel this holiday season is simply to take it all in stride. There is no point in stressing out about it. Make sure to give yourself time between flights and be prepared for delays. And, most of all, enjoy the experience.
There is nowhere in the world you need to be this exact second that can't wait a few more minutes. The airline staff are doing their best and they can't control the weather, so take a deep breath, remember some things are out of your control, and just hope you make it to your destination eventually and safely.
Happy travels and happy holidays to everyone. Hope you get where you're going.