Taking off again – Traveling with new technology

Yesterday I began a new adventure, this time by air from Toronto to Vancouver to visit my daughter. The day started out well. We left home in plenty of time for the drive to Toronto. Traffic was moving well. We arrived at 8:30 and I was checked in by 9:00. I’ve made this trip many times, but this time was different. this time I was using new technology, my iPad, to get me through the process.

A quick scan of the code displayed on the ipad screen at the self-checkin and my baggage ticket was printed. I was told that I needed no paper boarding pass. It was all on my screen. At the baggage counter the code was scanned from the iPad again, and I was told which gate I’d be leaving from. I thought I would remember it. Jim and I enjoyed muffins from home, and bought a new travel case that was on sale at the boutique, and then Jim left. I headed for my gate.

At the first stop on the way into the security area I opened my iPad to the code once more. The young man’s surprise was evident. “Look at you!” he said. I smiled, thinking “not bad for an old lady.”

At the security desk I handed over the iPad once more for scanning. The man receiving it looked sceptical and glanced at his colleague as if in need of help. But his look went unnoticed so he shoved the iPad under the scannner and held his breath, as did I. We both sighed in relief when the scan took.

I took off my shoes as requested, and walked through the scanner with no problem – so far so good. Now what gate was that? I gathered my belongings and checked the board. I saw a flight to Vancouver, Gate C26. Yes that sounded right. Gate 26 was the last one to the left. Without confirming the flight number (I’d had only a few hours sleep and my brain often lets me down when i’m tired), I found a seat and waited. Boarding was to start at 11:00. I had nearly an hour. At 10:45 I made a final pit stop and sat back down to wait. On the board behind the desk I could see the flight to Vancouver listed. I squinted. It looked like flight 475, but I was too far away to make out the time. I looked at my boarding pass once more, but apparently without really seeing it. At 11:10 an attendant at the desk made an announcement about an Ottawa flight that would be boarding at 11:30, but no mention was made of the Vancouver flight. I figured I’d better take a closer look at the board behind the desk again. It said flight 475 to Vancouver leaving 1300! What?! A shot of adrenaline finally woke up my brain.

I opened the iPad once again. This time I looked more carefully at the flight number. It was 465! I was at the wrong gate! I rushed to the monitor and saw that I was to be at C27, but where was that? The only thing that i could see beyond Gate C26 was a Tim Horton’s, but logic told me that C27 had to be past C26, so I walked past C26 and, past Tim Horton’s. I saw a ticket desk for Westjet, but no gate. Panic was beginning to set in. Then I heard the announcement that I hadn’t heard before. “Last call for boarding of flight 465 to Vancouver at gate C27.” Fear froze me. I was going to miss my flight! Then I saw it,the overhead sign at the entrance to a corridor – C27. I started to run in the direction of the arrow! At the end of the corridor another arrow pointed right. How far did I need to go? I rounded the corner and saw the gate just ahead. Thank goodness! I felt even better when I realized that I wasn’t even the last to arrive.

Looking back, I can admit that if I had been really iPad savvy, I would have used it to make note of the gate number when it was given to me. I’ve also been reminded, not for the first time, that technology and a sleepy brain don’t mix well. As for traveling with new technology, it’s amazing! Like anything new, it just takes practice.