Woke up the next morning feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. Not just any old truck, but a big-ass semi that had run me over, backed over me again, and then proceeded to run me over at high speed. Turns out lots of travel, craft beer, burgers, and poutine leaves you feeling not so great when you’re not 21 anymore…nor two times 21 even.
That said, a bit of Starbucks and I rallied by a champ to chair an important two hour meeting via videoconference from my hotel room before getting ready to check out and head to the airport.
I was mildly nervous because this had started overnight, and it was coming down harder and harder as the morning went on. But this is Canada, right? What could go wrong? Even a regional jet operated by a US airline will be fine because it’s Canada…right?
Uber had no trouble, and there wasn’t even a surcharge compared with the night before, so everything was great, right? I was expecting my usual grilling when traveling between the US and Canada from immigration, but nope, even that was a piece of the gate.
The view from my gate, however, really made me worry. It was coming down heavier than ever, and was really starting to pile up. At least my inbound flight was still showing on time. Would this be the trip when I finally had back-to-back flights cancel?
But no, thanks to the superpowers of Canada my inbound landed right on time, we boarded right on time to “try and get out early in case there are delays” and away we went.
United Express flight 5877 operated by SkyWest
Calgary, Alberta (YYC) to Chicago, O’Hare (ORD)
Depart 12:15, Arrive: 16:51, flight time: 3:36, flight distance: 1,385 miles
Embraer ERJ-175, Registration N150SY, Manufactured 2015, Seat 2A
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 203,595
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,895,897
Gin and tonic for a PDB. I needed it after the night before, and I have no idea why I ordered it. I never drink gin and tonics, but it sounded refreshing. In the middle of winter. Go figure. There’s probably something wrong in my head.
Bit of a delay for de-icing at the gate, but we got the green slush AND the orange/pink slush today – Canada doesn’t mess around!
We were about 45 minutes behind schedule due to the de-icing delay, meaning my connection in Chicago would be about 20 minutes. That’s no bueno. So let’s have another gin and tonic in flight before lunch to try and forget about that…ok?
Lunch was next, and there was a reasonably good fruit bowl, a salad with cold beef on the side, and a cookie. Overall, considering it was a regional jet, I was more than happy with this. That said, this was my longest regional jet flight ever, at nearly 3.5 hours! That said, I’ll take an ERJ-175 to a 737-800 any day! Nobody to climb over me.
About halfway through the flight I started feeling bad, really bad. Not in a way that was likely related to my beverages and burgers, but really strange muscle spasms that had me majorly concerned…to the point I starting timing the intervals between them. After about 15 minutes they started getting longer and longer, and for the last hour of the flight they were gone. Nothing is quite as terrifying as thinking you might have to page the flight attendant and be that guy that forces them to ask if there’s a doctor on board.
At least we had absolutely gorgeous sunsets to distract me the last hour of the flight:
Landed in Chicago feeling reasonable, and with no problems the final hour the desire to get home won out over the consideration to see if there was a clinic at O’Hare, so I decided to run for my gate. Because running is exactly what you need when just a couple hours prior you wear feeling horrid, right?
Well, I got to the gate for my connection exactly 12 minutes before departure and…we hadn’t even started boarding. The reason? No pilots. They were “delayed getting to the gate” and when they showed up 10 minutes later with their fresh McDonalds takeout for once I was very happy they’d decided to stop.
United flight 624
Chicago, O’Hare (ORD) to Washington DC, National (DCA)
Depart 18:00, Arrive: 20:52, flight time: 1:52, flight distance: 612 miles
Boeing 737-800, Registration N14242, Manufactured 1999, Seat 2E
Miles Flown Year-to-Date: 204,207
Lifetime Miles Flown: 2,896,509
Nothing to say here – flight went quickly, snack basket and a good crew, and kept feeling better and better as the flight went on. The epilogue to the story is: stop acting like you’re 21. Eat some salads. Drink a whole lot less craft beer and wine. Hamburgers are not one of the major food groups, oh, and stop flying 250,000 miles and year and stressing yourself out prepping for meeting after meeting. 2020 is going to bring some big changes!
So, would I do the trip again? Was I’m glad what started as “join me for four days in Asia” turned into a 2.5 week trip that took me from Tunisia to Oman, Indonesia to Thailand, Toronto to the extreme Arctic? You bet. It was an amazing trip. It didn’t pair well with all the work travel that bookended it, and next year when I take a vacation somewhere I’m going to make sure it’s at a time where it’s not going to be a series of constant trips.
Best lesson from the trip? The Canadian Arctic is absolutely gorgeous, and I picked the perfect time of year to go with the short days and the pink, orange, and purple skies. I wouldn’t change a thing!!