Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Back Home From Canadian Holiday


Miss me? 

Monday I arrived back home from my ten-day annual holiday in Canada. 

You're probably wondering why I haven't written.  I have a very good reason, I was EXHAUSTED.

I have so much to tell about my time in Canada but on this blog I'm going to vent about the Pearson Airport in Toronto.



In years past I have taken a flight to Buffalo, which is right over the border from Canada.  I took the flight to Buffalo because the rate was significantly less expensive than flying directly into Toronto and Pearson Airport. Pat would then pick me up at the Buffalo airport and drive me back to his then home in Toronto, a two hour drive.  I've always felt a guilty about having Pat make that two hour drive each way. So this year when I checked the flights, I found that the price for a flight to Toronto (Pearson) was significantly less than in years past. 

I made my flight reservations to go directly into Pearson Airpot in Toronto. Little did I know I made a HUGE mistake.  

First, Pat no longer lives in Toronto but now lives in his fabulous brand new condo in downtown Hamilton. Hamilton is forty miles closer to Buffalo. Toronto is almost as far the other way.  So that "advantage" was no longer applicable. I didn't shorten Pat's trip to pick me up.  

Another big problem, I would now have to go through customs in Toronto. In the past when Pat picked me up in Buffalo, all I had to do was show my passport at the border crossing guard. However, when one flies directly into Toronto, you have to fill out a customs disclosure form in Philadelphia. Then when you arrived in Toronto you have to go through the maze (three times) that is customs. And all VERY CONFUSING.  Did I say confusing?  CONFUSING!

 


Plus there was the problem of Pat getting to Pearson Airport. Buffalo is easy. Pearson is a nightmare of spaghetti roads.  CONFUSING!

Now that was just coming into Toronto. Going out on Monday was even worse if that was possible. 

Pat and I decided to take a bus to the airport. We left Hamilton in plenty of time but were still delayed because there was a motorcycle accident (which included a fatality) on the road leading to the airport. 

When we finally arrived at the airport we couldn't find the terminal where I was to get my plane. Pat asked another fellow passenger on the elevator where our terminal was.  He directed us to a terminal.  We were so appreciative until we realized it was the WRONG 
!




We asked on of those Visitor Attendants where our terminal was.  Yes, I was going to America.  He walked us for what seemed like two miles to another terminal.  Up escalators, down escalators until Pat and I were separated by security. I again had to go through the maze of security, THREE TIMES!  This time I had to take off my shoes and belt, something which I didn't have to do in Philly because I'm and Old Man (75 and over).  




I load up the bins to go through the conveyor belt and step into the X-ray machines which visually strips me naked.  

I asked to empty everything in my pockets. I thought I did. Oh, I forgot that used tissue. 




I stepped into the stripper X-ray machine again, trying to keep my shorts from falling sans belt. 

Again I was asked to empty my pockets.  Oops! I had disposable gloves from my time with Pat from our daily litter patrol in Gore Park. 

I step into the stripper X-ray machine again. 

"Step out and empty your pockets!"  

I step out and am asked if I would mind being patted down.  Why not?  They've already seen me naked.  Lower the lights and put on the soft background music and pat me down. 

I get patted down and pass . . . . finally! Of course they found nothing in my pockets. It's at this time I wonder what they do when someone is wearing a cock ring. 

Now it was time to put my passport in the automated machine to pass the next phase of security. Of course I put it in upside down. Then before I knew it my picture was already taken.  I needed this voucher with my photo on it to pass the next phase of security. 




Did I mention that going through Security at Pearson was a NIGHTMARE?  

I finally get through security, belt on, shoes on and ask where the American Airlines terminal is.  I am directed to a stairwell that descends to the ground level.  What? Americans don't get to wait in the Big Room to see the airplanes coming in and going out?  Apparently not.

As I descend the stairs I hear a man over the loudspeaker paging "Mr. Tipton and Mr. Kahn, report to the front desk."  

Oh My God!  Am I not done yet?  And what's with  this "Mr. Kahn?"  That's sounds like a terrorist to me.

I "report" to the front desk and apparently I am LATE.  The plane has already loaded and they were waiting for me!  

I rush out onto the hot tarmac.  Oh, did I mentioned the WHOLE time I was in Canada I experienced a heat wave EVERY DAY. My departure day was no different.

Picture me hobbling across the sun baked tarmac to the stairwell to the plane.  

I get on and of course my overhead bin is full.  Of course.  I load my luggage three seats down the aisle and I squeeze in my tiny window seat.  Just my luck I have a big guy on the aisle sharing my space. Not his fault but at least he didn't stink like my last time I was on this plane back to Philly.

Thank goodness the flight back to Philly was only an hour in length. Airline travel on these little planes is not comfortable folks, even though I pay extra for "extra leg room" which really isn't.

This time back to Philly my flight wasn't delayed like it was the last two times.  In fact I got back before my ride.  

What a relief to get back to a decent airport, Philadelphia International.  

As in all my trips I learn.  I learned a lot from this trip but the main thing I learned is that NEVER AGAIN will I fly directly into Toronto and Pearson.  The absolute worst nightmare I have ever had in an airport. THE WORST.  

Other than the Pearson Airport Nightmare, how was your Canadian holiday?  Fabulous, just fabulous!  It was a shame that my experience at Pearson had to happen. 

Here's a message to Toronto, if you want to establish yourself as a world class city, straighten out that airport. It is a disaster.  

Speaking of which, notice how my video sequence it confusing?  That was Pearson Airport at Toronto. Never again folks, never again.



20 comments:

  1. Yes, you were missed! Reading this post has totally exhausted me! I didn't know that there was a age limit to being considered a terrorist threat :)

    Welcome back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deedles,
      If my blog post exhausted you I was successful! I wanted to convey that feeling when I posted it. Believe me, I got exhausted all over again when I wrote it. I even forgot to mention the train we had to take to the departure terminal. If it wasn't for Pat's help, I would still be trapped at that awful airport. Oh and yes, there is an age limit for terrorists. If you're over 75 years old you don't have to take your shoes and belt off. Heck, with my arthritis, I can't run anyway. But my age didn't help me at Pearson Airport, they were out to torture me. Never will I go again through that airport. NEVER.
      Ron

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  2. Ron,

    Welcome back. Never thought I'd hear those words together: Phladelphia International, a decent aiport. You are homr in tim for a record breaking day of heat, 91 degrees. Should see fall arrive for real tomorrow. Guess i was to late on Facetime responding back to catch you. Did you know about Lois' accident? Probably not about my interrogation by the police. That was scary.

    Lar

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    Replies
    1. Larry,
      I'll say it again Philadelphia International Airport is actually a decent airport. Perhaps not as modern as many foreign countries but from my limited experience with airports (Los Angeles, Buffalo and Toronto), it is good. Buffalo is also very good. LAX is worn. Pearson is awful, mainly because it is very difficult to navigate.
      I missed your FaceTime call again this morning. I was right in the middle of brushing my teeth. You do have a knack for calling during those times when I'm either driving, have my hands indisposed (gardening, showering, brushing teeth, et al).
      I'm looking forward to catching up with you and telling you all about my stay in Hot Canada.
      Ron

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  3. My Gawd - you will definitely need recovery time from your horrific airport experiences (I always wonder why they never catch the REAL terrorists....).
    I was admittedly very worried when you hadn't blogged for so long. But then I figured you were just having a good time.

    Next time you fly to Canada, wear a cock ring just for the hell of it and see what happens at the airport (*smile*)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jon,
      I would have loved to read your blog posting of what I had to go through at Pearson International Airport. A total nightmare and totally unnecessary. I can understand the need for security but this was way overboard. Won't happen again to me, that's for sure.
      Ron

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  4. Ron - I'm not a fan of airports in general. I get flustered trying to find where I'm supposed to be worried that I'll miss the flight. And the self serve kiosks sometimes confuse me. It's partly because I rarely fly. When I bus to Philly it's a very long run - but in every other way it's easy. Yes Pearson is huge, overpriced, confusing inside and out. But you made it.

    Pat

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    Replies
    1. With your help Pat I made it. Thanks Pat!
      Ron

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  5. Ron, I hate to say this but ,under Trump they insisted that these protocols be put into place. Every Canadian flying to the US must go through that security nightmare. It is US customs that dictated it. Not much fun and I can say that from personal experience. pearson is a big rambling airport and tough to navigate if you don't know where you are going. Best advice,fly to buffalo. I am glad you had a good time and it was the hottest weather of the summer. Glad you are safely home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jane,
      I believe it! Pearson is definitely a "big rambling airport tough to navigate." I won't be experiencing that nightmare again. Buffalo here I come! I'm glad I'm safely home too!
      Ron

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  6. Nothing like hassle-free travel, eh? Only such a shame that you didn't experience it. (Some may call it 'learning the hard way').

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    Replies
    1. Ray,
      Airline travel definitely is not a pleasant experience. The terrorists have won.
      Ron

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  7. Sounds pretty normal for an international flight. That is why the airlines recommend that you arrive three hours before flight time. When I flew out of Rome last year, we showed passports and tickets to get in the terminal, inside we went through the first security screen including emptying EVERYTHING out of our pockets and taking all electronics out and putting them in clear plastic bags, after an interview with security, we cleared the X-Ray machine, then we checked in at the counter and checked bags, then there was another security check to get into the terminal, then a train to the terminal, then a bus to the plane. Perfectly normal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David,
      This is what I went through at Pearson, the new normal. I won't be experiencing this anytime soon though. From now on I fly to Buffalo. I doubt that I will ever fly international in what remains in my lifetime. Not worth it.
      Ron

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  8. I encountered the kiosks at Vancouver airport last summer. There were NO crowds on the day we flew out. I feel a bit lucky and can say that the trip back to SF was stress free. Remind me to avoid flying into Toronto, however!

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    1. Bea,
      There weren't great crowds at the Toronto Airport when I was there. My problem was how confusing the airport and security was to navigate. I had the feeling that they're trying to move people through there fast but it's just too confusing. Then again, maybe it's me and in my old age I'm easily confused these days. Whatever, I will never go back to the Toronto airport. Buffalo here I come!
      Ron

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  9. Oh wow. Sometimes airport experiences can be so bizarre. I can think of several right now of my own. It's often out of the ordinary unexpected things that are happening and so foreign to our every day world. Glad you got through it all safely and hope you got rested up.

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    1. Back Porch Writer,
      I'm back home now and recovering. At this time of my life my goal is to avoid stressful situations wherever I can. Thus, I will never set foot in the Toronto airport again. In fact, I'll never fly into any airport in Canada. From now on I cross the border by car.
      Ron

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  10. Welcome home!
    Try to unwind for a while.

    ReplyDelete

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