8.28.2004

Flying would be a hell of a lot easier if...

So I'm getting ready to go to Moose Jaw for a few days over the Labour Day weekend.

I'm heading out for a wedding (gee, who'da thought? That makes this the... seventh wedding this year (since September of last year). Actually, it's the ninth wedding I've been invited to, but only the seventh I was able to attend.). My high school friend Penny. So, this'll be the first time in three years I've been back to Moose Jaw that WASN'T a choir tour. Actually, if we disregard the deathwatch three years ago, as well as the choir tours, it'd be the first time since April 2000 that I've been home for a visit.

Yipes. I gotta visit more often.

In any case, I've been deciding how to get there. With my craptacular new schedule (well, downtown's great so far, but I'm talking about the whole 'six days of work' problem...), I really don't want to be taking a bus to Moose Jaw, since that's 26 hours of my life (round trip) that I'd never be getting back.

So I called up Dad to see what he wanted to do, and he said he'd pay for the return trip back on plane, if need be.

So I was caught between jetting it and bussing it. I decided to see what the fares would come out to either way...

Greyhound: Round trip from Edmonton to Moose Jaw - $215. And it'd be a thirteen hour trip each way.

WestJet: One way trip from Edmonton to Regina - $90. And it takes an hour.

So, let me get this straight: I can either bus or fly east. And it would be cheaper to fly? And I'd save myself approximately a day of travel? Gee, hard decision.

Problem is, the flights to Regina either fall when I'm working (10 a.m., 12 p.m. on Friday), or cost $302 for the 5 p.m. flight.

Dad suggests I try calling Brade, who's currently fixing up my aunt's house in Calgary.

I call him up, and see that he'd be leaving close to when I'd need a ride home. He'd be able to come up on Thursday eve, and we could drive down to MJ if I took my last vacation day until April. Done. No probs.

So, I don't need to worry about a flight to Saskatchewan. Only the one back. Not a problem. I go on to the WestJet website to arrange a flight back.

And I find out there's a seat sale that wasn't advertised. $50 one way from Regina to Edmonton.

BANG! I'M SOLD! GET ME A SEAT! Half price fare? A $50 ticket for a weekend in Saskatchewan? Plus some gas money for Brade?

So I'm booking my flight, and I KNOW there's going to be some unannounced fees added on.

AND HOW!

Okay, the $10 Airport Improvement Fee, I've been paying for some time now. Ever since 1995 and I was flying back home from the Muni every chance I had. Still, you'd think after 10 years, they'd have enough cash to fix any airport problems.

NAV/INS Charge: $18. According to the WestJet site, they say that there can be anywhere up to $40 in NAV fees. Although they don't say what it is you're paying for. On the Air Canada website, they say they charge anywhere from $6 to $17 based on the distance travelled. "This surcharge is collected to cover the fees that Air Canada pays to NAV Canada to operate Canada's Air Navigation systems."

Okay. That's great. I still really have no clue what the hell NAV Canada does, mind you...

So I go to the NAV Canada site. Yup. Not much info there, other than figuring out that they're trying to improve the air navigation in Canadian airspace, and charge a crapload of money to do it.

I don't remember having to pay this when I went to Victoria for Kingston's wedding in March. Alas, I deleted the confirmation from my Hotmail account after I came back. Didn't think I'd need it anymore.

ATSC charge: $5.61. Just a hair under the GST charge. So 6% is going to what, exactly? Oh, it's an Air Traveller's Security Charge. Okay, what the hell is that? Googling it brings up this government page. Ah. It's a security measure that was broung in after 9/11. Riiight. Okay, then...

So, after all these charges and what not, my bill works out to (lessee...carry the ten, add this, multiply by 1/(my shoe size)) $88.39.

Like I said, I knew there were going to be hidden charges. But almost $40 worth? Yipes. Bad, BAD airlines! Bad, BAD airports! Bad, BAD, BAD government. Naughty, naughty everyone involved who isn't me.

Eh. It's still better than a $100+ Greyhound ticket each way.

* * *

Is it a bad thing that I'm STILL freaked out about walking down Whyte during weekend jackassery?

When the hell did the neighbourhood get to this point?

I mean, yeah, I was horribly traumatized by the mugging four years back. Hell, when I had bruises on my kidneys for a full month afterwards, I couldn't even THINK of what would happen if I weren't a 24-year old, 200 lb male, and was instead some girl or senior that was just walking around that October 30 night. (Yup, I even remember the time I happened. It's scary, being reminded every Hallowe'en Eve about just what happened...)

Still, I'd like to have my peace of mind back. That's something that really won't be coming back for a long, long time, I'm afraid.

Damn those drunk teenagers. I wish we DID find them, and that Axler's friends would have retaliated with interest, like Axler had offered.

Actually, I take that back. I wouldn't retribute that kind of cruelty to anyone...

1 comment:

Silly Dan said...

And, of course, if you got that Calgary job, flights would probably be even cheaper (at least to western Canada and the US.)

But you'll never escape the airport improvement fees. The optimist in me says that as long as a city has rapid population growth and a healthy economy, the airport will always be under renovation. The cynic in me points out it's like the way income tax was a temporary thing to pay for WWI or Illinois highway tolls were supposed to end once they built the highways. At least they add it to the price of the ticket now rather than making you stand in another damn line at the airport to pay it.