Waking up at 2:30 am is not uncommon for me, especially over the last few weeks as I have been in Ontario while coordinating an apartment move in Quebec City for February 1st. My days have been so busy here that I end up with insomnia, as nighttime is the only time I can think and worry about things I need to do.
Today, I was worried about which terminal I would be flying out of at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. WestJet normally flies out of Terminal 3 (T3), but I wanted to make sure it hadn’t been changed to Terminal 1. So I opened the app on my phone and refreshed. That is when a message popped up saying the flight had been cancelled or completed.
When I checked into my flight yesterday there was a notice saying my 10:05 am flight to Quebec City had been cancelled, and an option was given, which I read as 10:25 am. Twenty minutes is no biggie, it sounded odd, but airlines do odd things, and I was crazy busy with work, so I accepted and went back to what I was doing.
Now, at 2:30 am, as I look at the screen dumbfounded, I see that the flight change was for 10:25 PM, YESTERDAY! I had to drive to the airport last night to pick up a friend who was coming back from Mexico. I could have given him the keys for his truck and stayed for my flight, had I noticed the date change when I accepted the new option.
Panic started to set in as I sat upright in bed. I checked flights for today. Yes, WestJet has flights at 3:20 pm and 10:25 pm today, why did they not suggest those flights?! If I booked, it was going to cost me $625 CAD, on top of the $453 I have already paid. I posted a wee vent on Twitter (I know, I know, I’m ashamed of myself for doing it, too).
WestJet responds, then suggests I call customer service. It’s an expected response, even though my brain is still obsessed with WHY I would be given a flight option for the day BEFORE I wanted to travel.
I called and started looking at train tickets while I was on hold. If I acted quickly, I could spend $100 to take a taxi to the airport, grab a shuttle to Union Station and take the train home. The ticket would be $350 vs $625. It was a viable option. Then I’d just text my airport ride at 6:30 am, apologizing and telling him to go back to bed.
Thankfully, WestJet offered to put me on the 3:20 pm flight today, at no additional charge. I’m assuming it’s because I had bought a premium class ticket, I’m not sure if I would have received the same offer if I was in economy class, after all, I did accept the change without reading every detail.
Dealing With Flight Anxieties
When my dad died in early 2015, a part of me died as well. I had not realized how much of a security blanket he was until he was gone. Since that time I have been acutely aware of, what I perceive to be, my failings. I have gained more weight (yep, I’m fatter), and become more sensitive. I also turned 40 the year he died, so they may have played a part as well.
As the shame culture has grown, I found myself stepping back from travel that could not be done in a car. The last thing I want is it be a viral mem because I’m fat and people decide to post something on social media. Yeah, it’s a stretch, but that is where my brain went, built a house, stocked up on food, and decided to live out the rest of its days.
As a result, I have done a lot of road trips, a couple of which have been in the USA.
That changed last year though when I decided to fly back to Quebec City from Toronto, instead of taking the train. A two-hour journey vs a ten-hour journey was very appealing.
I booked the flight, despite being nervous.
When I arrived at Billy Bishop airport it felt as though all eye were on me. I tensed up. When it came time to board the flight my anxiety took over and as I walked down the ramp to the plane tears started streaming down my cheeks. I couldn’t control it, all I could do was quickly wipe them away. The flight was fine and under two hours.
When it came time to plan my trip Ontario I decided to give flying another shot, however, I’m not ready for economy class. I’ve seen those dreaded looks from other passengers before when they realize they are sitting beside the fat girl. I have squished myself as far into the side of the plane as I possibly could to make others more comfortable, often painfully.
I can’t do that anymore, not right now.
So, I made the choice to spend more money and fly premium class with WestJet.
I didn’t cry walking down the ramp, but I did once I was in my seat. Again, I couldn’t control it, my anxiety took over. Thankfully, the flight was good, and the flight attendants were amazing.
I Think I May Be Ready to Try Again
When it came time to book my travel back to Quebec City, I didn’t hesitate, I booked a flight in premium with WestJet. It was an easy decision to make.
I’m not sure why, but as this new year begins, my mind feels more settled and relaxed. When things with my new apartment in Quebec City started to go sideways and there was a (very good) chance I would be homeless for a month, I didn’t hesitate to book flights to Mexico. Sure, they were in premium class too, but that’s not the point, the point is that it would have been my first international trip in almost five years.
As I reached out to travel friends and started thinking about spending time in Mexico, I started to reconnect with a part of myself which I thought had died along with my dad, and it was hella exciting!
In the end, the issue with my new apartment was resolved, I can still move around Feb 1st, I was able to get a full refund on the flights I booked, and I am still seriously thinking of heading to Mexico for a couple of weeks this spring.
I have 7 hours before my flight back home to Quebec City is set to depart Toronto. I’ve written this blog post (OMG, this alone is a big change), and now I’m tempted to explore, look for snacks, and read.
I haven’t spent seven hours in an airport since 2013, this should be interesting… but at least security let me through with the massive bag of samosas I bought from a restaurant in Brampton the other day! Ha ha ha