christmas eve welcomed us as we awoke at 4a to begin the day of travel. groggily, we made to the the car with our bags and hit the road. after successfully parking at the park n fly lot near the airport, we boarded the shuttle where we heard a handful of unusual canadian accents that were weird enough to help me keep my eyes open. once inside, we grabbed some tim hortons and lined up for security.
joy to our fun airport security experience. first up was me. i put my stuff on the conveyor belt and made it through the metal detector...the last of my luck. i was then randomly chosen to be patted down. thankfully the lady checking me was friendly. when that was finished, i got over to my bags on the conveyor belt and was told that one of my bags was randomly chosen to be swiped. somehow it registered a "hit" which meant all of my bags (total of 3) had to be RE-scanned and searched. they were short on personnel so i had to wait until an extra person was available to do this. while i was waiting for my bags to be searched, the lady told me that as part of the procedure i would have to be patted down again. the first woman couldnt just "sign off" on me. great. another friendly pat down with a lady asking me about my due date. then my bags were thoroughly searched. the lady finally "determined" that the reason my bag registered a "hit" was because i didnt put my blueberry jam in a bag like all the other liquids. mmm, okay. lesson learned.
while all this activity was going on with me, dave was being tortured as well. while examining the liquids he had in the liquids bag, the lady found my face lotion and determined it was too large (4 oz) and had to be thrown away. then, while one of his bags was going through the x-ray machine the lady reading the scanner asked him if he had cell phones in his bag. he said yes (we had two cell phones that were deactivated and we wanted to bring back to the u.s. to donate to charity). she asked him if he had detached the batteries from the cell phones. he said yes (because he didnt want them to accidentally turn themselves on in flight). she said that that was not a good idea and looked suspicious. he re-stated the reason why he had done that, and that he had no problem taking them out to show her. she simply felt the need to reassert her power and tell him that that was a terrible idea and that it didnt look good. okay, fine. another lesson learned.
thankfully, we had left enough time to tolerate these interruptions reasonably well and when we arrived at our gate, finally, we still had a few minutes to get re-organized and ready to board. our flight to toronto went well and the toronto airport was decently laid out. we found our gate for the sarnia flight and waited for boarding time. about 30 minutes before take off, a tiny prop plane pulled into the area in front of our gate.
now, i have been on small commuter flights/puddle jumpers before, but this was the smallest plane i had ever had to ride in. it only had 18 seats! as you can imagine it took all of about 5 minutes to get the entire plane boarded. then the steward stepped on board and closed the plane door. he gave us some brief flight info and then took his seat...as the co-pilot. so we were alone in the cabin for the flight. dave and i comprised the last row of people (there were only 14 of us) so i got a look at the bathroom. it was a port o' potty with a curtain for a door...i think it would only be used out of desperation.
as for the flight itself, it was neat. first, the plane moves around the airport like a car and can rotate on a dime. we got de-iced in about 3 minutes and were ready for takeoff. we needed less than 5 seconds of runway to gather enough speed to liftoff and we were flying. there were no individual heat or light or air controls. there was just heated air blowing all around the plane which made it very loud...and hot.
anyway, it was a short, non-bumpy flight before we landed and then i started looking around for the sarnia airport building...when we stopped in front of a plain brick building that looked like it could have been a storage shed, i stifled a laugh. its the size of a bus station. it contains exactly one gate, one waiting area, and one luggage conveyor belt. there is no gate for the plane to pull up to, it just parks near the sidewalk for the building. the plane actually looked large next to the airport. so bizarre. i felt like i was in the movie "casablanca."
(our plane out front of the sarnia airport; inside our plane with its 14 passengers; ontario sky during our sarnia flight)
and thus we arrived at our destination with minimal trouble. id take some security flack over weather/airport delays and bumpy rides any day. and i actually enjoyed the tiny plane. who knew?