I was prepared to write a post after this weekend on my adventures in Quebec CIty and what was suppose to be my first foreign city of the year. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions in both New York (heavy fog) and Canada (winter storm) I was unable to take the trip. The type of disappointment I felt after being forced to cancel (after waiting at the airport for 7 hours) was something I hadn't experienced in a long time. I had been planning for the trip for months now and was really looking forward to a weekend full of dog sledding, cheese fondue and walking around Old Quebec. Instead, I was faced with calling two separate airlines and Airbnb to try and get refunds for everything I had already paid for and I had to deal with the reality that my first trip of the year was a fail. Not only was the experience very stressful (airlines don't really care about you...), but it was also sad because I hadn't traveled in a while so I had wanted to fulfill all my wanderlust on this one trip.
The day we were suppose to leave, there was heavy fog and thus poor visibility in New York so our Delta flight to our layover in Montreal was delayed 3 hours. We actually boarded the plane a first time only to discover that the plane did not have a pilot aboard and we deplaned to the news that we had to wait for pilots to arrive. Upon boarding the plane the second time, the crew realized that gate checked bags had not been loaded and we were forced to wait on the plane for an hour while the airport figured out how to get an employee to our gate. Something that should have been a simple task took the airport so long to deal with. After the bags were finally loaded, the pilot broke the news that an American Airlines plane had arrived at the wrong terminal and was stuck behind our plane until a taxi crew could come and tow it to the right terminal as it was too big to move on its own. Because of the additional 2 hour delay this mistake caused, I would have definitely missed my connecting flight in Montreal to Quebec City, which was also the last flight of the day. Faced with the fact that I had to spend a night in the Montreal airport and that the winter storm would hit Canada the next morning (which made getting a flight out the next day extremely unlikely and perhaps getting back to the US impossible), I made the difficult decision to get off the plane and cancel my vacation. It was a huge mess of weather and airport inefficiency and a waste of my time, thus leading to my initial anger and eventual disappointment.
Luckily, Delta refunded my flight and my Airbnb host was kind enough to refund my money after hearing my story even though his refund policy was listed as strict. I'm also grateful that an airport manager gave both my friend and I vouchers for a car service home after listening to my lengthy complaints. It can be easy to place blame on the people that work for the airline and airport (and I definitely succumbed to that), but at the end of the day these people (however slow or confused they may be) are still people who are just trying to earn a living just like you and me. It was probably just as stressful for them as it was for me to deal with the situation.
As I'm not usually such a negative person, I tried my best to look on the bright side of things. I was able to attend my friend's birthday dinner at the best speakeasy in the city, Beauty and Essex (there's a free champagne bar in the bathroom). We've been friends since middle school and since she lives in Texas and was only visiting New York for the weekend, I was really happy I got to spend time with her and celebrate with her (something I would have missed out on had I gone to Canada). I believe that everything happens for a reason so I felt that there was no point to wallowing in my regrets. The only thing I could do was move forward.
I also turned the weekend around by traveling somewhere else so stay tuned for my next post!