Well it’s my last week back in England. On the 19th of October I finally swallow my Valium, pour copious amounts of beer and G&T’s down my frightened neck and otherwise gird up my loins to fly again back to my lovely Raven. I can already feel my pre-flight nerves building up. Damn I thought I’d be immune to air travel now after flying almost 20,000 miles in the last year or so.
This time I am flying back to Ohio via Toronto in Canada. I have reasons. Maybe I can avoid the officious immigration controls in Newark, New Jersey. Apparently it is the worst place to fly into if you are a foreigner. See my previous posts for the hassle I had last time. I felt like a suspected terrorist although they did finally let me in. Also the last time I flew in I used Continental Airlines on a reasonably new Boeing 777 but it now seems that with their tie up to United Airlines I would get to fly in a 757. OMG a Boeing 757? Ancient. I had to look up Wikipedia to see if it has propellers. It doesn’t but even travelling to the Seychelles I got to fly on a Boeing 767 and Air Seychelles isn’t the most modern of carriers. I am sure I saw a witchdoctor blessing my flight from Paris CDG to Victoria on the runway before we took off.
But I am flying good old Air Canada this time and I get an Airbus A330-300. Considerably newer. I even think it was built this century. And it’s British don’t-cha know … sort of. I think the cockpit cup holders or something are built in the UK so happy days. But … and here’s the BIG but. Yesterday I received an email from Air Canada. Just the usual confirmation … blah blah blah. Until one thing caught my eye.
It seems that Air Canada now only accepts Credit cards on it’s flights for alcoholic beverages. Fantastic if you have one but unfortunately I don’t. Me and credit cards don’t co-exist too well. Personally I love them and have had loads. I love to spend all the lovely money on them but then the card companies get a bit miffed when I don’t want to pay them back. Well it’s their fault. They shouldn’t have given it to me in the first place should they? I do tend to treat the credit limit as a personal gift to me rather than requiring repayment. I mean they can afford it can’t they? C’est la vie. So currently I don’t possess one. I have a Visa debit card but Air Canada won’t accept these. It has to be a Credit Card. They also don’t accept cash or travelers cheques.
So here’s me, inveterate fear of flying guy looking like I can’t get my on-board glasses of medication. Eek! Terror. Flying sober? It ain’t gonna happen I tell myself. Well not if I can help it anyway. So I look up Pay as you go credit cards. You know the ones? No credit checks, just load up some cash on and away you go? Well no actually. I checked up with Thompson Travel in town today who run just such a scheme. The nice lady assured me I just walk in their branch, lay my dosh down and walk out 15 minutes later with a nice shiny new Visa or Master-card.
I told her of my problems with Air Canada and she kindly said she would ring them for me to see if these cards were OK. An hour later she called me back to confirm my worst fears. Apparently these cards are not ‘Credit Cards’ at all but really money cards which are the same as … yes Debit Cards…..arghhh. That was at 11 this morning and so back to the drawing board.
Now obviously I can’t carry a bottle of anything on with me. No fluids allowed now as I found out on my last flight back from the Seychelles. A rather unpleasantly grinning French security buffoon in a uniform had my litre of Stolichnaya away from me at Charles De Gaulle airport as I was trying to catch my London connection. I pleaded with him. Tried to explain it was my medication but non. Well not non but NON NON NON! “Bastard.” I muttered to myself as I left to get my London flight vodkaless.
So onwards and upwards. What next? I have already checked my ticket online. It does say I can pre-buy booze before I fly and have credit put on my boarding pass to use during the flight. Fantastic and so I had followed the links to no avail. It seems that option is not available to me. I am getting the feeling that Canada hates me and is daring me to find a way to stay pleasantly sozzled as I fly. Perhaps it’s because I wanted to shoot one of their moosey things on my last intrepid exploration of our erstwhile trusty colony. Hmmmmm. But this guy don’t give up easily.
I thought of soaking my shirt in whiskey before the flight and squeezing it out on board. My mum even suggested I took a few boxes of liqueur chocolates with me and I must admit that I seriously considered it. But, well to be honest I just can’t see me staying pissed on a pound of choccies no matter what is in them. They are just too small.
And then … Eureka! Haha. By George I think I’ve got it. I troll over to the Heathrow Airport site. Click on security checks. Click on what I can take in my hand luggage. And there it is. FLUIDS. And so before getting my hopes too high I ring the Heathrow Security guys.
[Me] “Good evening squire. What can I take onto my Air Canada flight in the way of liquids?”
[Security Guy] “Well it’s anything in bottles of less than 100 millilitres as long as they fit in an 8 by 8 inch plastic resealable clear plastic bag.”
[Me…(mentally calculating)] “And perchance would that include errr medication errr I mean booze.”
[Security Guy] “ Yes. As long as the bottles are less than 100 millilitres.”
I briefly considered asking for his hand in marriage and offering to have his children… but.
And so tomorrow I will be visiting my local Sainsbury’s to stock up with miniatures of whiskey, as many as I can fit in an 8 by 8 poly bag and for a lot less than I would pay Air Canada, gods be praised…. Baby, you’re guy is happy and on his way to you.
© 2010 Stan Rogers. All rights reserved.