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What a Trip

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

Right, so first things first - I’m in Miami! I made it!

I’m super excited to be here, though I had a fair bit of drama on the way.

One thing is for sure - I’m never flying Air Canada again. It was just… horrible. The fact that it took me two weeks of calling just to get someone on the phone so I could book tickets should have been a MASSIVE red flag, but since the booking agent answered all my questions and it was seemingly the only airline that would let me fly with both my dogs, I thought it was the best option.

It started when I went to check in for my flight in Seoul and discovered that not only had my reservation to fly my dog Pippin as checked baggage been canceled, but it was impossible to fly him from Toronto to the US in cargo since the summer is too hot. They said they informed me of this through email, but I never received it. Currently trying to figure out how to complain about this, though I’m not sure how to document not receiving an email since they very well could come back with “Well, you must have deleted it.” (I didn’t. And I double-checked my email - inbox and spam box - but there was nothing in any email they sent me mentioning not flying pets during hot weather months or ANYTHING!) I take responsibility for the fact that I should have known about the summer being too hot in cargo with all the research I did, but also, the booking agent should have made me aware when I booked the flight as I asked directly before anything if it was possible to fly both dogs (one in cabin and one in cargo) and he knew the flight was for late June. Something should have popped up during that nearly hour-long conversation. Not only that, but I didn’t find anything on the Air Canada website that said anything to this effect, and I looked at the pet travel page a lot to double check dimensions of Pip’s crate and to figure out the process for picking him up during our 12-hour layover (that also wasn’t mentioned on the website). I tried calling again in order to figure that out, but once again, wasn’t able to get anyone on the phone.

Had I known about the restrictions, I would have made other arrangements that would have cost me infinitely less than what I’m about to pay to ship him over through a pet courier. I had other options, one being flying Korean Air to Atlanta, and then switching to Delta from there to Miami. I could leave one dog with friends in Atlanta and continue on with the other in-cabin, then fly back a week later to retrieve my pup in-cabin. It would have cost me about $3,000 total for everything, including the second, round-trip flight and all the pet fees. As of now, I paid $2,200 for the one-way flight with one dog in-cabin and will pay an additional $3,000 for the pet courier to bring Pip over, not including getting all new paperwork from the vet so that Pip can come into the US (it’s about $100).

Anyway, since we had arrived at the airport so early, I had time to find a friend to come pick Pippin up and take him to another friend that is going to keep him until I can get him to Miami. I was in tears for a good 30 minutes until we figured something out. Bless the desk ladies who had to deal with me and did so calmly. They said they could put him on the flight to Toronto, but as I didn’t know anyone in Toronto, I didn’t want to risk getting stuck there with him.

Luggage at the Toronto airport was - quite frankly - a shitshow. We had sent ours through all the way to Miami, but I had gotten messages to pick up mine in Toronto, so didn’t want to leave until I was sure that it wasn’t there. We waited and watched the conveyor belt for a good hour or so and didn’t see any of our suitcases, so were convinced that all was well and went to the hotel to sleep a few hours before coming back for our early morning flight.

Next day, our flight continued to get delayed after we were all boarded. I think we spent over an hour sitting at the gate waiting for passengers. We made it through the flight with minimal meltdowns and thankfully people were very understanding

Once we landed, my friend went to get our suitcases while I went off in search of a SIM card so I would have a phone number right away. Got one and came back, only to discover that my suitcase never came. I went into Air Canada baggage services and filled out the form, then was told they would call when my suitcase arrived in Miami. It’s been over 48 hours and still no word on my suitcase. I’ve tried calling, but can’t get anyone on the phone. They have my address so should be able to send it to me, which is helpful since my friend and her boyfriend took the car to visit his family for a few days in Tampa.

While incredibly upset that my luggage was lost after everything else I went through, I’m choosing to take a friend’s advice and put out my wants into the universe in the hopes that it’ll happen. I decided to only want positive things yesterday morning and it paid off. I got my pension payment a week early and it was more than I expected. I’m going to keep believing that my suitcase will be found and sent to me soon. The clothes I can live without, even the webcam and makeup, but jewelry with my mother and brother’s ashes, plus jewelry gifted to me from my mom, grandmother and grandfather (who have all passed) are in there and are, quite frankly, irreplaceable.

But yea, that’s been my bumpy trip back to the US. There’s a lot of stressful things coming, but I’m ready to tackle them one at a time - starting with getting a driver’s license and finding a job. For now, I’m just enjoying some downtime at the AirBnb while my friend and her boyfriend are off visiting his family. Though I do plan to start up the job hunt, especially since I’m dropping so much money to get Pip over here. My friend suggested a GoFundMe, which I set up, though I’m not sure it’s going to raise that much money.

Here is the link, in case you'd like to donate.

It is what it is, I suppose. And it’ll all work out in the end. But sheesh… could do without all the stress to get there.

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