Getting Home

There are joys to flying on bonus points, but routing is never one of them.  We were fortunate that at least for this trip, it was Montreal-Dublin, then return Dublin to Montreal.  Except that we had to go back home through Toronto, then Montreal and train it back to the loved ones.  One of our original routings saw us going Ottawa – Toronto – Frankfurt – Heathrow. Given a choice between having a Brazilian ballwaxing by Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS who has hooks for hands or flying into Heathrow, I’d have hairless balls.  Heathrow is a complete and utter shitshow of the first order on almost any level you care to measure, as well as being an eight to twelve hour time suck to get anywhere near out of the joint.

Dublin was easier getting in and getting out.  Looking at our itinerary we did see if we could change our flights.  Rather than flying to Toronto, then flying over Ottawa, landing in Montreal and taking a train back to Ottawa, we figured why not ask if we could just go Toronto to Ottawa, even if it cost us a few bucks.  Air Canada doesn’t actually have ticket folks in Dublin, Swissport handles those things for Air Canada, as is the nominal practice worldwide. We eventually found the guy, who was amazingly adept at spinning his pen in his non-typing hand, but wasn’t entirely sure where Ottawa was, or if there were flights from Toronto to Ottawa.  He stared at his screen for a good 6 minutes, spinning his pen, then said sorry, we don’t have that information. Oh well, through the veal pen lines for Security, then on the aircraft.

We were fortunate the aircraft was an Airbus 330-300 which actually has a seat pitch that almost fits humans.  According to the pitch and recline on the 737-MAX Hate is 30” with a 3” recline, while the A330-300 is 31” pitch and 4” recline.  Trust us, that one inch in pitch and recline makes all the difference in the world. We could actually sleep on the plane home, so we did. Meal?  There was some chicken thing that ate like food.

We disembarked in Toronto and had to hot foot it through Customs to catch our flight to Montreal. The Montreal flight was uneventful, part of the usual rotation and it landed successfully in Montreal.  Where the wheels fell off was in Baggage. Ten minutes, then twenty staring fitfully at the belt with about 100 other people. I approach the ‘Service” counter, tugging my forelock. The baggage guy gets on the radio “We’re missing a can from that Toronto flight, where the hell it is?” is the radioed question.  

The reply is unintelligible and I do make out “Tabernac!” but they assured us it won’t take long. Another 20 minutes and bags start falling out the belt. We grab ours and go in search for the Via Rail Shuttle Bus. Eventually, having been misdirected by a paramedic to the wrong level, we find the right place and nearing the last possible moment, the shuttle appears.  We’re going to be tight making our connection, even though the Dorval Via stop is not that far, getting into and out of the airport is never quick.

The Dorval Via waiting room is utilitarian, with employees hiding behind their desks for fear they make eye contact with customers.  We roll out to the actual platform and consult the signage as to where we should stand to come approximately near where our car is supposed to stop.  A bright light in the distance, ostensibly down the rail line gets bigger and bigger, then becomes a train that grinds to a halt. Boarding commences and we settle into our seats for the last leg, a last beer and avoid the food offerings.

The measure of a trip might include Planes, Trains and Automobiles and we exceed that measure. Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Ferries, Narrowboat and Bus, not to mention Walking.  We did miss Funicular, Cog Railway, Hot Air Balloon, Street Car, Sedan Chair, Horseback, Rickshaw, TukTuk, Scooter, Jeepney and Zip Line, but we can live with that.


A Different Interrogation

Landing in Dublin we are feeling a little shite, covered in shite, deep fried in more shite and then stuffed with shite. The upthrust: the 787MAX8 is shite.

I know this well as the flight attendants have played video games on the back of my seat for several hours. But we land none the same and after thinking about and preparing for the Customs and Immigration we are ready for their questions. A small bonus, the plane will empty from both ends and since we are flying “‘rewards” points we are at the far end and get to exit early.

Into the airport of a foreign land we wander looking for the Baggage and Customs. We are Canadian. We are braced for what comes in Customs; a questioning practice started by the Nazis and continued by the supremacy movement in the US. As we exit there is a sign that points to Customs and Exits and we start the march to the exit. Will our brothers from the same mother let us in?  Is there something we forgot? I think, got the prescriptions in the bottles, no large amount of money, no drugs I must declare.

I think on this as we march from where we land to Custom and Exit. Legs barely working from the wonderful Air Canada flight on the 737 MAX HATE. As we continue I curse more though silently, this was my plan and at this point I hate it, thanks to our number one airline. After what seems like a forced march for the entrants into the Airborne we reach the Customs agents.  The questions;

  • Why are you here?
  • How long are you staying?
  • Isn’t that 737 Max 800 just shite?
  • Why haven’t you visited before?

The last with the most force, a wonderful example of the people we will meet. After assuring the young lady will we be spending some time in Dublin we are left to look for an exit and our bags. The bags are easily located, Air Canada being deprived the ability to lose them by being a direct flight. And for Customs, the first lady being only the Immigrations. We find the doors to custom guarded by a couple of lads that should be playing rugby. There are two sets of doors, one blue and one green – inquiring as Dave is a smoker with more than 200 smokes as to the path –  we are sent through the green doors. Where we  merge with the folks through the blue doors. Why?

I can only hope that it is for the sheer fun of it, I am hoping the Irish are a fun and wonderful bunch and if this is an indication I won’t be disappointed.