Getting to Ottawa was an adventure in and of itself. After taking an 8:30 AM bus from Portland, I arrived at Boston Logan International Airport. The plan was to take a flight at 12:35 PM and arrive in Ottawa around 4:00 PM after a connection in Toronto.
At around noon, I was informed that the first flight was delayed, and then more delayed, to the point where I would miss the Toronto to Ottawa flight. After taking to the agent at Porter Airlines, I was then informed all other flights to Ottawa were cancelled. Great. After trying to keep myself calm (and calling my mom), I was able to sort through my options: 1) take the flight to Toronto and stay there until they had an Ottawa flight, 2) cancel the second flight and get a ticket with a different company, 3) stay in Boston with my brother or friend and take any flight in the morning. I ended up trying to buy from American Airlines because thankfully they had a 4:00 PM flight directly to Ottawa. After a couple hours, I was able to shuttle over to Terminal B and check-in. Well, I’m going to keep this calm and appropriate, but I absolutely hate this company. They wouldn’t let me check-in and take the flight because their system was behind in processing it, even though I had the receipt. After about 20 minutes of arguing, I was shit out of luck. There was no way I was getting to Ottawa on Saturday, May 19, unless I was going to buy a $500 last minute ticket from another company.
This is where I stopped handling things well. I completely freaked out and did not know what to do. I had purchased all these flights that I was not yet refunded for, I didn’t have a flight, I didn’t know where to go or what to do, and I was exhausted. I spent the entire afternoon on the phone with American Airlines, Porter Airlines, and Vayama (travel company where I bought tickets). It was absolutely horrible, and the companies just sent me back to each other, so finally I put them on conference call after four hours of dealing with this and told them to figure it out. The airlines want the travel company to refund me and the travel company is dragging their feet. Needless to say it was quite the fight, and they say it’s getting resolved, but who knows. Travel Tip: I now know it’s significantly easier to deal with these situations if you buy directly through the airline company and not a travel website like Vayama or Travelocity.
I went to my friend’s and was able to nap for a few hours. Now, I’m going into this trip absolutely exhausted because I just finished the Model UN conference. So even a few hours was helpful. I was up at 3:00 AM and back over to Logan for my 5:30 AM flight.
I had the weirdest flight….Boston to Philadelphia to Ottawa. Let me show you that craziness on a map. At this point, I was wondering if it would have been easier to drive to Ottawa!
Well, I made it to Canada about 18 hours later than expected, around 11:00 AM on Sunday, May 20th. Going through immigration was pretty smooth….except I think my answers raised some flags! When you go through customs/immigration, the common questions are, “Are you here for work or personal?” “What are your plans?” “Who are you staying with?” “Do you know anyone here?” “When do you plan to return?” Well, I had nothing planned for this trip, and I knew no one in the area. So, I looked a little suspicious saying, “I don’t really have any plans, just here to explore on my own.” So, I was asked quite a few questions after. Lesson learned, have at least somewhat of a structured plan. And don’t freak out when immigration flags you.
Next, I went to my Air BNB and settled in/rested for the remainder of the day. I had planned to get up and explore a small strip of stores up the street for dinner, but I was exhausted and just decided to catch up on sleep! After 36 hours of travel and 6 days without a full night’s sleep, I think I deserved the 15 or so hours I slept! And thankfully, I was then up early the next morning (today) to hit the ground running.