Monday, January 5, 2009

Sucky Delta Flight to Toronto

My company has a company-wide meeting at their corporate headquarters in Toronto each year IN JANUARY! This is possibly the worst place in the world to gather together 600 people for a kick off meeting because it's cold. I've already got a sore throat going, and this is just Day 1...

My day started off today with my 9:40 am Delta flight to Toronto being postponed until 10:20 am. Once we got on our way, we got 30 min in the air when the pilot informed us that there was a vibration in engine 2, so we're going to turn around and go back to Atlanta. This sucked, but hey - it's better to be safe than sorry. However, about 10 min later, the pilot says that we were too heavy to land, so we'll have to circle around Atlanta for a while to burn off some fuel. (REALLY? If there's a problem bad enough to make us turn around, should we really continue to fly with it?) Apparently the answer was YES. We stayed in the air for another hour. I wondered why we just didn't dump our fuel like they do in the movies, but I guess the people on the ground wouldn't like it. We landed back in Atlanta a little after noon and we were informed that Delta they're going to let us get off the plane, because they didn't know if the plane could be fixed, or if they needed to get another plane. Long story short - they got another plane and we re-boarded at 3:20 pm.

After everyone got seated, the flight attendants told us to shut off all our electronics, then we sat for another 5 min. The pilot came over the intercom again to tell us that the tower had changed our flight path and now we need more fuel - so we've got to wait for the fuel truck to come back. (REALLY? Could Delta not have planned on us needing some extra gas, and topped us off when they had the chance???) We ended up leaving around 3:45. Funny thing - our original flight time said it would take us a little over 2 hours, however on this 2nd attempt they stated it would be an 1 hr and 30 min. Funny how the airlines can just make up time when they want... Guess it's kind of like pressing the accelerator all the way down and going full speed.

We finally arrived in Toronto around 6 pm, however the flight team failed to tell us that we'd have to get off the plane onto 12 degree weather where all 72 of the passengers would have to board a large bus with no seats that would carry us to Customs. I was warned ahead of time that Toronto Customs were tough with interregation questions, but I had no idea. Here are just some of the questions asked:
  • Where'd you come from today?
  • Are you here on Business or Pleasure?
  • What do you do?
  • What company do you work for?
  • What do they do?
  • What are you here for?
  • Where are you staying?

You get the point. I heard from some other people in my group that they had to show their itenerary for the company meeting. WOW. It's a shame that all US Customs are this strict.

So - Day 1 is over. Hope Day 2 is less eventful than today.