Trapped in Montreal – Again!

Back in June of this year I was trapped in Montreal due to the wild inefficiency of the airport combined with terrible service from Air Canada. This weekend I experienced a similar trauma however not as bad as last time. If you didn’t get to read my last airport adventure you can read Trapped in Montreal: My Travel Nightmare!

So what happened this time? I had an 8:10AM flight on Saturday morning to go back to Los Angeles. I thought it would be pretty easy, an early Saturday morning with a direct flight – sounds simple…right? As a frequent traveler I’m used to thing not going according to plan but I do think that Montreal has done a great job of making one of the most inefficient airports on the planet.

I checked-in at around 6:15AM only to be notified that a new baggage system they had installed in the airport was not working. This means that anyone with checked bags had to literally wait in a non-moving line. The agent told me some people had been in line since 4AM when they first opened and still have not moved an inch. Of course I made a video to document the experience!

Could you imagine that? Over two hours in line and you’re still in the same place! By the time I got in line the estimates from agents were in the 3,000-4,000 person range. Also – this isn’t the security line or the customs line, this is just to drop your bag off so it can go under the plane!

So a process that normally takes about 30 minutes took three hours! When I finally got to put my bag under the plane the person running the machines said, “we have a very advanced baggage system – it works really well and is the future of automated baggage handling.”

I responded by saying, “I see, and how long has it been running for?”

“Three months without a problem,” he said.

“Hmmm,” I said. “Doesn’t sound like the future of baggage handling if only three-months in the system is completely broken and you have no back-up plan for how to get bags on the plane.”

“I guess that’s a good point he said.” My bag went through on a conveyor belt and then into a mechanical elevator. After my bad went under a red light came on. “Oh no!” the baggage handler exclaimed, “it’s broken again.” It took them 20 minutes to get the next person’s bag on the belt!

Montreal is a great city but the airport seems to be about as efficient as a trip to the local DMV! Of course if you’re going for vacation stick to the summer months since about 8 months out of the year the weather in Montreal is terrible. Visit LA during those other 8 months since our bad weather is the six days of rain we get a year šŸ™‚

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Noo Yawka November 9, 2009, 7:00 am

    Don’t think the trains are better. I once had a train ticket from MTL to NYC. Arrived early. Long line. No train. They wound up busing us from Montreal to New York. Do you know how many hours that took?

    Actually, the regular train run between these cities is excessively long because the train stops every couple of minutes. Ta cn’t win.

    • Morgan November 9, 2009, 8:12 am

      Yikes – that sounds even worse than my airport experience! I’m starting to think Montreal transportation is cursed!


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