As a pre-Vancouver trip report, I wanted to share my experience on just trying to get on the plane at Philadelphia International.
A few co-workers and I were to catch the 7:00AM flight from PHL to Toronto (then connecting on to Vancouver). Now, I know our carrier, Air Canada, flies out of the domestic terminals at PHL, so I showed up first at the airport at around 5:00, giving me an hour-and-a-half before the plane was scheduled to begin boarding. PLENTY of time.
First snag: You can’t check-in online for an Air Canada flight that leaves out of PHL. This must have something to do with the fact that the airline…flies out of the domestic terminal and they need to check your passport or something. Okay, fine, no problem, I’ll just use the kiosk at the airport to do a self-check-in, since I only have a carry-on bag.
Snag #2: Well, I’ll be…there’s no self-check-in kiosk at the airport, meaning my co-workers (who were also unable to check-in online) will need to go to the counter to check-in and get our boarding passes. Well, that’s not too bad; when I get to the airport, there’re only a dozen people in line. I’ll wait for my co-workers to get here and then we’ll hop in line.
Snag #3: The line to the counter isn’t moving.
My boss, Rachael, gets to the airport at around 5:30, so we get in line because I start panicking a little. Um, why isn’t this line moving? I’ve been here for 30 minutes already and barely an inch! At this point, I start worrying if we’re even going to make it on the plane, since after check-in, we still need to go through security…on a Monday morning…in PHL. At least if we get in line, we can get closer and hopefully get to security around 15 minutes before boarding begins.
A few people get in line behind us, and Emily, our third and final co-worker/traveler, arrives at the airport. At first she doesn’t see Rachael and I, so we shout and scream and gesticulate wildly to get her attention. She sees us, and then joins us in line.
I share how glad I am that Emily made it, trying to keep my confident composure while internally freaking out that we’re going to miss our flight. We all laugh nervously, as it’s getting past 6:00AM and the check-in line still hasn’t moved. Only 30 more minutes before boarding!
“Excuse me,” comes a quaint, tea-infused voice from behind us. “Are you queue-jumping?”
We all stop talking.
“What?” Emily asks, turning to the crumpet-y source of the voice. It’s a girl, probably no older than 17, with her arms crossed and looking peeved.
“Are you queue-jumping, pip pip?” she reiterates.
Now, we’re all a little sleep-deprived, so we really didn’t understand what this girl was saying. ”Are you asking if I’m cutting the line?” says Emily.
“Yes, are you queue-jumping, blimey bollocks?”
“Well, I’m with these people,” says Emily, gesturing to Rachael and I. ”We’re traveling together.”
“You can’t queue-jump, cheerio guv’nor bangers n’ mash,” says the girl, obviously from Great Britain, feeling indignant that some blasted Yankee would try to make it onto one of her Empire’s planes before she could.
“We’re a group,” Emily responds. ”We’re together.”
“You have separate passports,” says the girl, smirking, like she has the upper hand. ”You have to check-in separately. No queue-jumping, jolly good higgledy-piggledy.”
Now, the girl had a point; I wouldn’t want people cutting in front of me in line, though I would’ve probably just stood there, blood boiling instead of actually saying anything. Nevertheless, we are AMERICANS, gosh darn it, and we deserve to go first! (Also, we were tired and probably didn’t fully comprehend the situation.)
Emily finally relented, with a pointed, “Well, good morning to you, too!” and an under-her-breathe, “How many world wars did we save you from??” and then moved to the back of the line.
At around 6:25AM, we finally get checked in and rush up to security, where Emily ends up beating the British girl by several people. Sweet American justice!!
And thankfully, since basically everybody on our flight had the same snag at check-in, they held the plane an extra 15 minutes, so we were able to make it on to our flight…where we discover that the British girl is sitting in Rachael’s seat.
“Um, excuse me,” says Rachael. “I think you’re in my seat?”
Sheepishly, the British girl checks her boarding pass and realizes she’s in the wrong. Just like at Yorktown, we boot her out and back to her own seat. VENGEANCE IS OURS!!
USA! USA! USA!