Portugal Here We Come – Maybe Yes, Maybe No

Here we are all set to get out of the cold of Penticton and the warmth (comparatively) of the Algarve. Up at four to catch the 6 o’clock flight out of our little city. We have checked in online and it says we can go directly to security, so we do. “No, the guy says, you have to check in at the desk in order to check your bags.” Back we go, get the tags and we’re through. As we sit in the waiting room we hear a 2 year old having a temper tantrum – so bad everyone in the room is looking and thinking “Please God put him on the other flight.”(There are two flights each morning – an Air Canada and a Westjet). Thankfully by the time we board he has been calmed down by his father. Phew! We leave a chilly waiting room, walk through the -15 morning to board. Hmm something seems amiss. It seems just as cold on the plane as it does outside – and the seats are leather. Pilot “Sorry folks but it is really cold outside and the machine which is supposed to warm up the plane is broken.” Then we have to sit there while the wings are de-iced adding 15 minutes to the cold wait on freezing seats. Terry is pretty much frozen. Eventually our 6am flight turns into a 6:15 flight and away we go. Luckily our flight out of Vancouver isn’t leaving until 11:30 so we have lots of time to get our checked bags, get to the next check in counter and start leg 2 to Montreal. (The flight from Penticton is separate thus the two check ins.)

Just another lovely day in the paradise that is Vancouver.

Those of you living in Vancouver know that the day we are leaving was scheduled for a major snow storm. It was slated to start at 7am, but as we cleared security at 8:45 it was just starting, so we figured no problem, we’ll be out of here in time. Plus, how much snow does the airport ever get. As I look out the window though, it seems to be coming down hard and in no time there is a lot of the white stuff on the ground and the ploughs, big and little, are feverishly working away. Nevertheless, we board on time for our 11:30 departure. And then we wait, and wait and wait. At 11:50 the Pilot “Sorry folks we are just waiting for the last few passengers.” Shades of China. Now I am getting a little twitchy since we only have an hour to make the next flight to Brussels, leaving Montreal at 17:55 local time. Then I get a message on my phone that our flight will leave at 12:30 and arrive at 17:48. You do the math, okay I’ll do the math – we’ll have 7 minutes. Lol not a chance. I tell the flight attendant that we have this flight to catch. “Are you sure, that seems more like the boarding time” I show her the boarding pass. ”Oh, I’ll talk to the steward and see about that.” She comes back and says that usually the hold the connecting flight, not always, but usually.

Then I get another message on my phone – that flight has been delayed from 17:55 to 20:30. Phew, again. However, we don’t seem to be moving and it is now 12:30. Finally at 12:45 we pull away and slowly start moving out for almost 5 minutes and then stop. At 12:55 we move again, for 5 minutes and stop. I look out the window – aahhh they are de-icing the wings. Well, better safe than sorry. We finally leave the ground at 1:21. At this point, 22 minutes into the air, I have no idea what the future holds, but boy am I glad we have premium economy with nice big seats. Now if they would just bring that chicken dinner and a bottle of wine.

Menu: Looks WWAAAYYY better than it was.

Salad – Heritage blend, sun-blushed tomato, artichoke, balsamic olive oil dressing.

Main – Roasted chicken thigh, Louisiana-style lemon red pepper sauce, paella rice, butternut squash, corn carrots

Dessert – Brownie deluxe

Wines – A selection of Paul Mas red and white wine, assorted liquors and Bailey’s Irish Cream

Hmm – well the bun and wine were okay, the chicken edible and the Brownie deluxe speaks for itself. The rest …..

Here we are on the plane in Montreal. Luckily there were 23 of us including 12 on a tour so they held the plane – it is now 18:50 and so it will only be an hour or so late.

Before we even pull away from the gate they are giving us the menu for leg 2.

Salad – Green Salad, vinaigrette

Main – Beef tenderloin, stout Demi-glacé, parsnip potato mash, carrots, broccoli

Desert – Carrot Cake

A selection of beverages.

I’m not holding out hope…

Actually I was pleasantly surprised about the meal it wasn’t half bad. On the other hand, we didn’t get away until 9:20 so more stress – are we going to make the connection in Brussels or not.

Now we still have the nice wide seats, but mine seems to have two sprung springs which are causing me great discomfort. Now Our pal Gary would say that it is because I have “No ass” while I would prefer to say it’s because I am sensitive all over. Anyway not a problem since there is an empty seat on the other side of Terry and I move over. A couple of hours into the flight the guy in front of Terry puts his seat back. The thing about Premium Economy is that they are wide and go back much farther, which isn’t a problem if yours goes back as well. Terry’s didn’t, so her tv screen is about 16″ from her face and her seat is stuck in the upright take off position. She tried my old seat but that didn’t work, so she very creatively turned in her seat to watch the tv in the empty seat. Normally she can get 3 or 4 hours sleep on a plane – not this trip.

We land in Brussels barely in time to make our connection if we bust our asses (flat and otherwise). We motor through terminal 2, then the largest duty free shopping area we have ever seen and just get to the gate to see – they haven’t even started boarding yet. When we finally get on, we are delighted to find that:

1. There are two families of three travelling together and they are all sitting in the row behind us.

2. They feel the need to talk all the way back and forth across the aisle.

3. There are two adolescent boys right behind us and they have the obligatory ear buds which means they have to talk really loudly to each other to be heard.

4. One has to say (literally) “Momma, Momma, Momma, Mom” every 10 minutes or so to get her attention. It is a 2 hour 25 minute flight.

To recap: Flight out of Penticton 15 minutes late, Flight out of Vancouver 1:50 late, Flight out of Montreal 1 hour 30 minutes late, Flight out of Brussels 25 minutes late and every one of these was loaded on time and then sat on the tarmac for one reason or another.

Nevertheless, we land all in one piece in Faro, Portugal. We deplane and get to the luggage carousel and golf bag after golf bag comes flying out of the chute (probably 20 of them, it was unreal) followed by our suitcases which had priority loading tags on them. Then a ton more suitcases. I say to Terry “I won’t be surprised if my clubs don’t make it. All those other ones came together and then none.” Sure enough, for a change, I was right. We fill out the form and the lovely woman says they will be delivered. Now that should be interesting.

Will write more on travelling after Peter and Jan get here tomorrow. Jan’s comment on FB

“By the time our plane took off we could have sold our cheesies 20 times over!! 5 sandwiches and a few containers of pringles was the only food available for purchase. People were chewing their arms off by the time we got in to Dallas!”

Can’t wait to hear their story.

Okay I have now been up for 32 hours – I’m outa here.

Night all.

9 thoughts on “Portugal Here We Come – Maybe Yes, Maybe No

  1. Lois & Robert Marsden

    WOW, Not a good flight, do you think? You will enjoy the Algarve. Have you seen the sand sculpture display? Well done and worth a visit. Golf is great. Relax and enjoy.

    Reply
  2. Val

    After the loss of his golf clubs on a flight, one of Erin’s friends always has them Fed Ex’ed to his hotel or rental accommodations. Bonus is he doesn’t have to wheel them through any airports. Good luck with the rest of your holiday.

    Reply

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