Dear Air Canada

During the last year, my bags have been delayed in Vancouver at least 50% of the time.

The most recent event was last night. I flew from Prince Rupert to Victoria via Vancouver. My flight from Prince Rupert arrived at Gate 34 and I departed for Victoria from the same gate 40 minutes later.

My bag and the bags of many other passengers did not arrive in Victoria when we did.

My bags were tagged as “Priority”. I have yet to see that this “Priority” tag makes any difference. The bags do not come out on the belt any sooner and they certainly have no priority when decisions are made whether or not to put the bags onto the plane.

Is it not a requirement that baggage accompany a passenger on a plane? Or is it just when it suits Air Canada?

Please remember that I have a choice when I make flight arrangements. I have NEVER had a bag delayed when using Westjet, Pacific Coastal, or Hawk Air.

I fly a great deal with my job and when I can, I use Air Canada. In part it is because of the “Status” benefits that come with frequent flier programs.

The only benefit I received yesterday was when I used my Aeroplan Elite Card to scrap the ice off my car windows.
You blew it.

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Cancun bound

We’re on a Family vacation. That’s capital “F” because it is the whole family. My Mom, Dad and all the siblings, grandkids and significant others.

We should have left Victoria at 9:48 or so, but due to congestion in the Cancun area, Air Traffic Control would not give us clearance to take off. Then, once we were given clearance, one of the baggage handlers thought that he saw the cargo door not completely latched.

The pilot had no indication that there was a problem, but I’ve seen what happens to aircraft when the cargo door opens mid flight and I am grateful that they double checked.

There are 14 of us headed down to Cancun, then I understand that it will be at least 1.5 hours by bus to our resort in Akumel.

Sunday morning….

Well it did take 2 hours to get to the hotel. Was after 10pm when we checked in. Went for a snack and a drink (or four) at the 24hr snack bar.

Up early (7) this morning to have a bite to eat before or meeting at 9 with the Transat Rep to hear about the hotel and excursions available.

Booked our New Years dinner and several A La Carte dinners for the group.

Today is a day to relax.

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Brownsville Station

And so another I start another trip on the road.

My co-worker, Bruce, and I are on our way down to Brownsville Texas. Brownsville is at the corner of the Gulf & Mexico.

A Mexican Institute has purchased one of our buoys and Bruce and I are headed down to where the buoy has been delivered to assemble it, and give them some training on it’s operation and maintenance.

It’s sort of a different trip, since the buoy wasn’t really delivered to Texas. It was delivered in bond with a continuance on to Mexico. I’m not sure how it’s going to work, since we will have to do all the work with the buoy in limbo. Should be interesting.

In planning for any trip, I always try and research brewpubs and local micro-breweries. It seems that Brownsville could be a little barren on that front.

In fact, it looks like the most interesting things to do are the Zoo and Mexico. Now the zoo might be ok for a day, but I don’t really think we’ll be going down to Mexico for a couple of reasons.

The folks that we are going to meet up with are Mexicans (and I can’t imagine that they would want to “home” for something to do).

The other reason is the border itself. Not going down, but coming back up into the States. I don’t know why, but I always get stressed when I enter the US. I have no reason to be stressed, I’m not doing anything wrong…I’m not working illegally. I’m a nice guy with 2.3 kids and a white picket fence. Ok, 2.0 exceptional kids and the fence needs a coat of paint.

This morning as we headed to Seattle, I thought that I was getting the flu. My stomach was upset and I was sure that I had picked up a bug. Then I realized, as I was waiting my turn at Immigration, that it was anxiety. Until I got to the front of the line.

Every agent was happy. They were smiling and chatting with the passengers. Mine said “Welcome to the U.S.”

I was amazed. Is this change they are talking about?

I like it.

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(Grand)Parental Guidance

So last night, we had a potluck dinner at my Mom & Dad’s place.

My older sister was bringing a dessert called “Sex In a Pan” and Mom couldn’t remember what was in it.

She wanted to use Google to find the recipe.

Her Grand-Daughter wouldn’t let her for fear of what she might find.

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Hell on Earth

After a couple of days with little to do, the last three days on Isla du Margarita were very busy. On Thursday morning, we were finally able to receive the replacement WatchKeeper payload from the airport.

The old payload had been stolen from the buoy while it was at sea.

The replacement system was next generation, and came with new cables. These all had to be reterminated and run through the hull glands. That took the majority of Thursday.

When the system was stolen, it left a lot of connectors exposed to the elements for some time. It took some time to clean these connectors up.

On Thursday afternoon we stopped by the airport on the way back to Porlamar and Nemer grabbed a rental car since both of the drivers would be leaving on the boat the next day.

As Nemer and I were headed to the buoys on Friday, there was a sudden flapping from under the car. It was as though one of the tires had blown out. When we pulled over, it was more serious. The engine was covered in oil and it was draining out onto the ground. While Nemer stayed to wait for the rental company, Otto came to get me.

By mid-morning, we were ready to assembly the top section (with all the electronics and sensors) onto the bottom hull section. It was critical to get this done in the morning as the ship was due to leave with all the muscle after lunch.

The last day and a half was used for training, setup and testing of the buoy.

My original plan for returning to Canada was to take a mid afternoon flight on Friday to connect to the midnight departure of the flight home. When my departure was delayed by two days, the only available flight from Isla du Margarita departed at 0700. This meant a 0530 departure from the hotel.

The flight arrived at the Caracas airport as planned at 0800 leaving me with over 16 hours to kill in the airport. In most other cities this wouldn’t be a problem. The problem was two-fold.
– the Air Canada check-in doesn’t open until four hours before the flight departs and
– the power has a tendency to fail.

The power failed twice in the morning. Each time for ~1 hour. During that time, the temperature goes from 20 degrees C to near 30. The food court is located on the third floor and for almost an hour after each outage, the elevator and escalators where shut down.

I spent most of the day on the 1st floor (literally) near the AC counter where there seemed to be a bit of free Wifi. I ventured out a couple of times for a $25 cheeseburger and $15 chicken dinner.

Once the counter opened, I was at the front of the line and quickly made my way to the Admiral Club past security.

Now I’m sitting in my upgrade seat on the flight from Toronto to Vancouver. Overall it was a very good trip. The client was happy to get two of their buoys back online and I got to spend 10 days in the sun…and lightning…and dark.

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