How big is this airport?
Trip Start Apr 21, 2009
11Trip End Apr 26, 2009
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I make this problem worse by assuming gate 95 must be on the other side of gate 75. By the time we trace back to the carefully hidden hallway to US Customs, we have 15 minutes to make our flight to Portland.
There's a little bit of Uncle Sam in the Vancouver Airport -- literally. Vancouver has a whole section where you in essence enter US soil and get pre-screened for your flight into America. Being in Canada doesn't seem to make the US officers any more friendly.
We squirm in line as if we need to pee, watching person after person take up time removing their shoes. They do this not in advance, but just as they're about to walk through the metal detector. You'd think people would get the idea to take off their shoes without being told, but nope, there are small but cummulative delays, each one of which makes our chances of making the connection drop a percentage point.
In moments of stress I always notice odd details: a guy in front of us has on toe socks. The more practical detail I notice is that there are only 9 gates beyond customs, and we've still got 10 minutes before the flight leaves, so there's a good chance we can make the dash down what must be a short hallway. Emma's through the metal detector. She's got her stuff. Shoes in hand I move forward and...the security guard decides to let things clear up a bit before waving me through.
Now we're racing around the corner to get to the gate and... My God! The gates are in another building! We race down an escalator, along a people mover; Emma's starting to get asthma. "Just remember, this is fun!" I shout as we fling off the mover and almost wipe out with the deceleration.
As we're running, I'm thinking "This is crazy, even I wouldn't book something this tight! How could the system have done this!?" Up an escalator, into another cafe section, around a corner, down a little corridor, and finally! Here's gate E95. With no one at the check-in desk.
We've missed the cut off.
A few people are sitting around watching us pant and look forlorn. Emma wheezes her way onto the bench and flops down. "It's okay," I say, "There must be other flights today." I look at the board. Yep, one at 4:00. Hey, in fact there's one at 13:10. That would have made a lot more sense.... Oh.
I get Emma some water and a Happy Planet juice. "So," I say sitting down beside her prostrate form, "that wasn't actually our flight. It's the next one, in an hour."
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