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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht


Updated: Feb 7, 2020

The déjà-vu ends here, where I’m actually on board the plane and about to take off from Toronto Pearson International Airport. Thank goodness too. I was starting to feel a little too much like Phil Connors in the film Groundhog Day (a TV weatherman played by actor, Bill Murray, who, during an assignment covering the annual Groundhog Day event, is caught in a time loop, repeatedly reliving the same day.) Having just celebrated Groundhog Day on 2 February, my recent adventures at the airport suddenly seem a little too topical.

I didn’t get as far as a seat on the plane in my initial attempt to fly the day before.

Oh yes…. I missed my flight. It feels humbling to even write it down here, especially after all the travel I’ve done in the past, and with it being a transatlantic flight and all.

There is a new feature at Toronto airport: no announcements are made over the intercom anymore regarding gate changes — no announcements, period. (Apparently a warning was given on the loud speakers at a time when I was on the phone or in the loo and did not fully register this new development). Argh. Why didn’t they tell me this at the desk when I got my boarding pass clearly stating that I must go to Gate C31? (The woman at the check-in even circled it for me.)

And then my gate number changed, and I didn’t know it. I just sat waiting, having been a little distracted and saddened by earlier good-byes, and feeling somewhat tired. Eventually, looking at the clock, I thought I better check that we were still on track and that the flight was on time. That’s when I realised that the gate number had been switched from C31 to C34. I realised it a little too late, unfortunately. I had got comfortable, relying on the anonymous woman on the loudspeaker to let me know, the woman who had been so reliable before.

Another booked airline customer didn’t know it either. On discovery of this change she rushed to the correct gate, and burst into tears at the news that she could not get on the plane as the doors had been shut. She was going to miss a funeral. I felt so sorry for her. She was obviously very distressed about it, especially as the plane was still parked at the gate.

I felt a similar sort of shock - the realisation kicking in rather quickly that I’d have to work out a new flight ticket for the next day, connection in London etc. and either arrange a pickup by my parents or an overnight stay in Toronto. Ugh.

Thankfully I managed to get another ticket, my father was very understanding, there wasn’t a snowstorm, and the roads were pretty clear of traffic. So after he had arrived back in St. Catharines, having dropped me off at the airport, he made the turnaround and came back to pick me up and I stayed an extra unexpected night with my parents.

It’s quite a thing to go through all the (e)motions of saying good-bye, passing through security, etc once…. but then to have to do it all over again! It felt rather strange, and it upped my alert levels a bit more when travelling the next day.

Well, the groundhog apparently was let out on Sunday last weekend and he did not return to his burrow. Does that mean Spring is going to arrive early this year? I guess we shall see.

Here in Edinburgh it is sunny, and it certainly feels a bit spring-like today. That being said the forecast calls for strong wind and very wet weather in Scotland by Sunday, so who can tell? Perhaps I should head for my cosy little burrow...  and sincerely hope that tomorrow I don't emerge and find myself in the departures lounge at Toronto airport.

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