Alright so there I was at the gate. My flight home was gone without me. At this point, I am technically on US soil. There is a giant glass wall separating flights to the US from domestic flights to Canada. I look around for anyone who is working for the airline and cannot find a single person. I walked to every gate and didn't find any staff for this airline.
I did the only thing I could do. I called the airline. I explained the situation to the representative, gave her some of my information and she put me on hold. When she returns, she lets me know that I had already been rebooked on a flight to Montreal and someone was standing at the gate waiting for me with a ticket. She looks at the time and says that I probably already missed that flight too.
At this point I am shaking. She tells me that there's a staff person with a different airline who can help me. So I am running around trying to find the guy among the chaos of other flights that are taking off. When I finally find him, I tell him I see a flight back to my city in a couple of hours and ask if he can put me on that. Of course it's a full flight.
He lectured me about missing my flight (as if it was my fault y'all booked me on a new flight without telling me). He explained the only way I'm getting home is to get on a domestic flight to another Canadian city and to fly home from there. He paged a crew member to come escort me back to Canada.
Because I am technically in the US, the crew member has to bring me back through Canadian customs (again) and back to the check in counters. At this point my luggage has disappeared. I don't know if it's in Toronto, Montreal, or back home with out me. The crew doesn't know either. I was told my bag would likely have to clear customs without me so I start freaking out about my souvenirs (read beer) all over again.
She brings me to the check in counter and once again I'm explaining this story. The man working the counter puts me on a new flight to another Canadian city. As he is printing out the ticket, the flight gets canceled. I was convinced I was not making it home. This was the end for me.
There happened to be a flight going to Montreal that was currently boarding. He calls the gate and begs them to wait for me. I don't have any luggage so I just need to get to the gate. They said yes. I was off to Montreal with a 2 hour layover before my flight home (finally).
He printed out the tickets and a $10 voucher to grab something to eat when I get to Montreal. I start running to the gate. Once again, I have to go through security like I didn't just do this 3 times. From there, I booked it to the gate and finally made my flight.
When we landed in Montreal, I was not taking any chances. I ran to my gate. I'm glad I did because once again, I had to go through US customs. This time, it was so easy. No one asked for my license. No one thought I was trying to be someone else. The entire process took 30 seconds. It was infuriating.
After clearing customs, I had to go through security once again. After all of this running around, I had about 15 minutes to spare before my flight started boarding.
There was a bar across from the gate. I sat down and ordered a short beer. It was disgusting. I had just enjoyed some of the best beer in the world and this was a spit in the face.
When I go to pay, I pull out my $10.00 voucher for this $9.00 terrible beer. It was the worst beer I've ever had. To make matters worse, they don't accept vouchers on alcoholic beverages. The waiter must've seen the defeat in my face or something because he took the voucher anyway. I wrote him a thank you note on a napkin because this was just about the only nice thing to happen to me that day.
A few minutes later, I boarded my flight and finally made it home. It took me a solid 24 hours to get home, when it should've been about 13. Since then, I've avoided this particular airline and international layovers under 2 and half hours. I learned my lesson. What's your travel nightmare?