Arriving Before Sunrise at Toronto Pearson International Airport

Skidding to a stop on the entry landing zone we smashed around in our seats and taxied over to the gate at YYZ aka Toronto Pearson International Airport. This was my fifth landing in as many years at YYZ. Awaiting the door to pop-open folks on the blurry red eye stood up, stretching limbs, legs and backs alike as they popped the overhead bins hoping to disembark from the plane before their next segment of travel.

For this guy it meant wandering through the domestic side of the airport to locate the international wing and the commuter flight between Toronto International and Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, in Detroit Rock City!

I was a bit concerned about the next flight as the commuter flight headed out of Toronto at 10:10am EST landing in Detroit at 11:10am CST with my connecting flight then departing at 11:30am CST to land in Milwaukee at 12:15am CST. The hairs on the back of my neck stood as I wandered through Toronto Pearson looking for the international wing and a cup of anyone’s coffee.

Of course the only place open was Starbucks with a queue of 115 passengers doing what I was doing hanging out before their connecting flight.

Down a flight of stairs to a random tarmac gate I found the departure area and thankfully two Delta Airline agents idly chatting at the desk. I popped on over and asked if there was any earlier connecting flights then the one at 10:10am EST out of Toronto. Its then I explained the situation and Clara understood going home for American Thanksgiving and punched into her keyboard with a flurry of fingers. “May I see your current boarding pass,” she asked then glanced at it moved it out of my hands and onto her counter. More fingers, more clicking and silence. I stood looking around at the handful of other passengers.

“Okay, I can put you on the next flight, as long as you do not have any checked luggage?” she smiled looking at my backpack and carry on. “Nope. I like to travel light,” I responded. Twenty or so more clicks and I had two new boarding passes. “Boarding begins in fifteen minutes. Flight here takes off at 7:00am, you will be in Detroit within the hour and have a couple hours layover there, to ensure you will not miss your connector to Milwaukee,” she said with a awarding winning smile. “You are my hero today,” I replied, “and if it weren’t frowned upon, I would give you a HUGE thank you hug!” We smiled at one another with our eyes instead of our faces as we were of course all masked up.

Walking away, I wandered around and around in the relatively small departure area then snapped a couple of photos of the vacant area and decided to go in search of water and a quick snack. After reaching the top of the stairs I noticed an alternative coffee shop had just opened up and I headed over as there was no lineup yet.

Looking around, I spotted a couple fresh bananas and picked them up for $3.25 for two small bananas then laughed as I usually spent this price for a bunch of bananas back home. Two bananas in the hand, meant two bananas down the gullet. By the time I had reached the departing area again, they were calling for everyone to board the flight. Perfect timing.

The twelve passengers in the departure area headed out onto the tarmac to handover our carry-on luggage to be stowed in the back of the CRJ200. After that each person climbed on board, was welcomed by Kim and a lysol wipe. Each passenger being asked to wipe down their area before sitting down.

After that the Co-pilot popped out to stretch his legs, flirt with Kim and return to his seat once he learnt the total number of passengers for the forty-five minute commuter flight. Shortly after his return to the cockpit the door was sealed, Kim was in demonstration mode and we were being pushed back for flight number two to begin flying us across international boarders for the first time in twenty-months!

~ James Curtis