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December 30, 2004

The Journey Home

It was the end of my adventures, or so I thought. It was time to go home. Iternary: Moscow to Paris, Paris to Toronto, Toronto to Montreal. Why Toronto to Montreal? Funny thing is, tickets are cheaper that way - this would complete a full circle from Montreal where our IMO Training Camp was held. Of course, I would just walk off at Toronto…

The only problem is - Charles de Gaulle Airport is the second biggest mess in Europe. The Air Canada flight to Toronto was initially scheduled from Terminal 2. However, midway my adventure, Air Canada was moved to Terminal 1 and I had to take a shuttle bus to switch terminals. To make matters even worse, the Aeroflot flight arrived 15 minutes late.

I ran right through the terminal… between me and Toronto was the Air Canada guy (local Frenchman). “Where are you going?” — Toronto. “You can’t go to Toronto. Its too late.” — Why? “The plane is gone.” — Except, its not gone. (What? They couldn’t afford an extra bus?) He grabs my passport and tickets out of my hand (without my consent). Then, he starts talking to his assistant - all in rapid French. I understood nothing. Then he looks back at me. “Paris - Toronto, Toronto - Montreal”. He tells me that I am in luck and that he will put me on the next flight to Montreal which will be in 2 hours.

Of course, I don’t want to go to Montreal. He says “We are responsible to take your final Air Canada destination.” — But I live in Toronto. “Thats not my problem - you would have to get to Toronto on your own means.” Then he mysteriously disappears. I go to the Air Canada check-in team. The check-in team doesn’t know what to do. They either don’t understand my problem, or simply too lazy to help me. They tell me to go to ticketing. I go to ticketing (its outside the security/international zone). But nobody’s there. I spend 7 € to buy a phone card I will only use once. Time is running out… and off I go to Montreal.

I spent one hour going through customs. My luggage doesn’t turn up - apparently, it didn’t miss the flight to Toronto (which is strange because I did). After filing for lost luggage, I go to connections. The connection guy tells me that I have no ticket (the French stole both the Paris - Toronto and Toronto - Montreal coupons) and forwards me to ticketing. The ticketing guy tells me that theoretically I could have refused to fly asked them to book me to Montreal via Toronto the following day. However, back in Paris, I was never given that choice. He tells me that it would be better to buy a brand new ticket. So, I am him “How much” — $300. “You crazy?” — You could buy a ticket from Jetsgo. “How much would that be?” — a little over a hundred dollars. I tell him to go to hell.

I had no money; I have no food; and no way to get home. Luckily, I have a Canadian calling card - so I call home. Dad tells me to take a shuttle bus (luckily, its free) to the VIA Rail Station - he reserved a ticket for me through the internet (its only $80). Too much crying that day. So, I am left to wait 5 hours for the train (it departs at 11:58PM). I call a bunch of friends. Dad meets me at Union station - I didn’t even have a TTC ticket. After a fun subway ride - I am home. My adventures are finally over.

Posted by Oleg Ivrii at December 30, 2004 01:34 PM


I tell him to go to hell.


What a trip, airlines are notorious for being horribly insensitive and bureaucratic

Posted by: Michael Yee at December 30, 2004 01:42 PM

Oleg, you could go to their hotel and ask them for free food and shelter, if they refuse to give you, tell this story to the whole world and whatever airline's reputation would be ruined which would results bankrupcy.

Posted by: Eric C at December 30, 2004 06:29 PM

You were in a bigger mess before (think Mir). :P

Posted by: VLA at December 30, 2004 08:45 PM

lol...what's the biggest mess in Europe, Heathrow/Gavrick?
Before landing at Athens, our pilot did a 60 degree bank and pulled full force. I swear it was like 3 to 4 Gs. Bet you any money that the guy was a fighter pilot before getting kicked out.....

Posted by: Richard Peng at December 31, 2004 11:58 AM

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