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Hopefully not a sign of more bad things to come, my second weekend in Calgary started off with a cancelled flight. And of course this particular weekend I had plans with a tight connection after reaching O’Hare, plans that of course changed.

Hoping to make it to the annual reunion of the Wisconsin Marching Band I had carted my saxophone to Calgary at the beginning of the week and to the office and airport that day.

Since I knew I had only about 40 minutes to make the bus from O’Hare to Madison after landing I was carrying the sax on which meant I had to pack very lightly so that even with the sax I wouldn’t have to check any bags and given that this was a business trip I also had my computer. One way that I achieved this was to wear the shoes that I would need during the game on the flight thus making it unnecessary to pack any shoes as they take up a lot of space.

So after sitting through a delay due to malfunctioning restroom that turned into taking a 3+ hour flight without said restroom (and the associated mad dash to make one last pit stop before boarding) that turned into them not being able to pressurize the cabin that turned into a cancellation I headed back through Canadian customs (in Canada you clear US customs before boarding flights to the US) along with the rest of the fliers to find out how we were going to get to Chicago.

While it was a little chaotic, United did a good job of accommodating their most travelled and I wound up getting on a flight to LA that night connecting to a red-eye to Chicago. It wouldn’t get me to Madison in time for rehearsal, but it would get me home.

So I headed back through US customs (my third customs clearance in less than the same number of hours), and security (for the second time that night). Now, remember those shoes, well – they were aerobic shoes that meant that they tied – what a pain, one I had planned on dealing with once that night, and now I had to take them off and get them back on a second time. Normally I wear slip-ons when I fly to avoid that very hassle.

Upon getting to LAX I was quickly reminded about what I hate about that airport. The Air Canada gates are in terminal 1 and the United gates are in terminals 7&8 and these locations are at least half a mile apart. Plus you have to leave security to catch the bus between terminals. So, for the third time in one day I was going through security once again with those gym shoes.

Given the distance that I had to cover and the third pass through security, I was concerned that the upgrade I had gotten texted about during the flight from Calgary would be given to someone else, so I really needed to move fast to get to the gate and get my new boarding pass.  Not that it was a great upgrade given that it was a red-eye, as it was a 757 so just had the slightly bigger seats, that is there weren’t even footrests to get your legs up to sleep a bit more easily. Nevertheless, after some food and wine I was able to get a bit of sleep.

With mixed blessings, the flight actually arrived in Chicago early, so it might have been possible to make it to Madison if I had a car available and had not checked my sax. Now, that was not possible, especially since while I was able to cover half a mile at LAX and make my flight, my sax was not and would be delivered to me at home later that day. However, it did mean that I was able to get a little bit of quality sleep before taking advantage of being home unexpectedly and going to my French class.

Actually, I went to two classes for a total of 3.5 hours of French, which I had not been using much in Brazil and was a bit too tired to focus on. My reasoning was that between the time I registered and this, the first day of class they added a class that was closer to the level I needed. However, the school was not open when I discovered this so I could not change before the class I had signed up for and thus wound up going to both that day to see which was the better fit. In the end I wound up changing, which was nice as that class is at 11 while the other one was at 0 so I can go to the gym before class and get to at least one aerobics class per week.

I had a very “interesting” Monday this week.

For my normal trek to Calgary, I had booked my flights a bit late and was not able to get my standard 10 AM direct flight, having to book a connection through Denver that left Chicago at the insane hour of 6 AM. I was definitely dreading this all day Sunday up until the time I went to sleep setting the alarm for 3 having scheduled a cab pick up for 3:45. Normally I don’t need to get to the airport 1 1/2 hours before a flight, but the 6 AM Monday time slot has so many business travelers that just about everyone has status and thus there are no short security lines.

Needless to say to anyone who has had to wake for such a flight, I was sleeping quite lightly that night worried that I would sleep through the alarm. So when my cell phone chirped with a text message at 1 AM, it woke me up.  I knew immediately that it had to do with my upcoming flight, and likely was not good news. In fact, my flight from Denver to Calgary had just been cancelled.

Now awake, I hopped on the computer to verify the information and simultaneously dialed the United 1K number to see of there was a better option than the 5:45 PM direct flight on which they had rebooked me. Given that Calgary is a hard market for which to find a flight, recall the reason I was connecting in the first place, I was not surprised that there was nothing earlier, even if I switched carriers.

So I got back online and tried to check in for the changed flight, tired being the operative. I wanted to complete this task given the cancellation just to protect myself from being bumped, not likely given my status, but better safe than sorry. And it took a bit of wrangling by various support folks to get me unchecked in from the Chicago to Denver flight and apparently waiting for system changes to propagate so that I could check in. So about an hour later I was finally able to call my cab company to change that reservation so that I wouldn’t be awoken again as they showed up at the appointed time.

The good side of all of this was that I was able to go back to sleep, and actually slept much better than before the wake up call, getting up at a more normal hour to start a day of working at home. Thus all in all the cancellation was probably good for me.

Yet that is not the end of the story. Given that I had been planning on leaving first thing in the morning I didn’t have a lot of food options at home for lunch so decided to call for delivery. A normally very reliable place messed up my order in two ways sending regular pop instead of diet and a large portion instead of a petite one (and charging me for it). I got a free meal out of that one though, so again I guess that worked out in the end too.

Apparently when I brought the delivery into my condo I tossed my wallet on my coffee table where it remained as I headed off to Calgary. Of course I didn’t realize this until I got to O’Hare and tried to pay for my cab. With not enough time to go home and back, I was very lucky that my driver was very kind and taking my address gave me his so that I could send him a check upon returning to Chicago.

Now I am just surviving the week without credit cards and a driver’s license, which those of you who have been following my blog since Brazil know is not a first for me. At least this time I know I will have everything back on Friday after one more trip through Customs without the advantage of Nexus since the card I am required to carry to take advantage of those privileges is in the wallet.



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