Back from Utah, 22 hours of flying displeasure later

I still recovering from a good week of skiing in Utah, but its not the skiing I’m recovering from as much as the long trip home.

Direct flying time from Toronto to Salt Lake City, Utah, is around 4 hours, if you can get a direct flight.

Our flight down to Salt Lake City proved to be less than smooth when half of our group had their luggage held up on the American Airlines flight from Toronto to Salt Lake City – via Dallas – although most where delivered that evening. I believe that the cause of the delay was US airport security subjecting the luggage to their security check in the belief that our (Canadian) security wasn’t good enough. One person lost their luggage completely and it still (one week later) it hasn’t shown up. AA’s diversion to Dallas made the flying time for Toronto to SLC to ~7 hours. (global warming? whats that?)

However, it that turned the getting to SLC, was easy when compared to getting home.

It started when our 1:00 PM American Airlines flight from Salt Lake City to Dallas was canceled. “Thunderstorms in Dallas”, I was told. That had been the only AA flight to/from SLC. We we able to re route with United Airlines (Thanks Sandra!) but that meant re checking all our luggage (again) and we we tagged for “special treatment” by TSA airport security. Never a good thing!

Out of our group of 36, 1/3 were to fly to Chicago and on to Toronto. (I am still trying to confirm that they made it). The other 2/3rds of us were going to Denver and then onto Toronto on a “guaranteed” connection (and some people where told that it would be the same plane).

After wanting 3 hours, we got on our 5:00 pm, for a 1 hour flight, but after getting in to Denver, we found we had no connection and no later flights to Toronto. A delay in the flight from SLC might of caused us to (just) miss the connecting flight. We now had 26 puzzled, slightly angry and very tried people. There didn’t seem to be any chances of a Chicago/Toronto flight, but finally (Thanks Robyn and Mark!) we got a routing to Washington (D.C.) via a Midnight red eye (to avoid the expense of putting us up in a hotel?). This included 2 stewardess’s who (very) loudly chatted away as if 99.9% of their passengers where not trying to sleep.

After landing in D.C (Dulles) at ~ 6am, we waited for our 8am flight in a small Embraer jet to Toronto. However, the ~50 seat Embraer is not meant to carry half of it passengers being returning skiers, so they had weight problems, and half of the skies did not show up. (Our skies did show up today). After all the lost baggage paperwork it was around 11am when final made it past customs. I would have kissed the ground save that I’m not sure I would have made it back on my feet. Oh, And during all of this, I had a massive cold which gave me stuffed up ears, limited hearing, plus random ear popping.

So thats the story of a 4 hour flight to heaven turned into 22 hours of displeasure. Thanks American Airlines and United Airlines for making flying so arbitrary and nasty.

However, We did have a great week of skiing in Utah at Snow Bird, Alta, Snow Basin, the Canyons, and Dear Park, although only one true Utah powder day. (flickr photos to follow ) We also enjoyed great company, and some very good food of which Red Rock Brewing Company as best for value and Market Street Grill was best overall food (with it great sea food) and service. It’s a pity that the travel part of travel is so little fun these days.

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