With the conference closed, I had 1 hour to get myself to the Airport in Minneapolis. I got back to my hotel (I was staying at the Homewood Suites across the street from the Mall of America and the Conference) where I had, of course, missed the airport shuttle. The staff at the hotel had another shuttle pick me up and bring me to the airport.
The Airport, I found, very disorganized and staff not very helpful or friendly on the front end. I was told to go into this a certain line which started before the area I was suppose to check my bags at. So I didn't actually check my bag at all and was in the Security Check line.
When I left for Minneapolis, I was selected for additional screening (ref: CF.Objective - Travel Day) which meant I needed to go through from additional security checks. What I thought was wild was that I had to do even more checks in Minneapolis as a regular passenger than I had when selected for additional screening at Pearson. In the end I was cleared for travel.
When I has arrived at the airport, I had scanned my passport to get my boarding pass. this generated a ticket with an odd message on it: "Seat Assigned At Gate". This had me concerned because on my flight down I was a few rows up from the eventually very fool smelling toilet, and I didn't want to near that toilet again on the flight back. Thankfully when the Gate Personal arrived, they assigned me to the front row of the plane which had additional leg room, which made me a happy tall guy.
The gate my flight was at was Gate B16. this is apparently the furthest gate from the security entry there is as it took me little half and hour to walk all the way to my gate. I was amazed how large this Airport Hub was.
The flight itself was quicker then expected and very uneventful. Once on the ground I got my kit, cleared customs and security and went to find the Air Port Shuttle service to return home.
As many will confirm, I am not a patient person at the best of times, and at the point of landing (near 10:30pm EST) I had been waiting to board a plane for 2 hours, and waiting to land for another hour and a half. When I eventually found the Departure Checkin Desk, I was told to site and wait for another 45mins for my shuttle on some very uncomfortable wall mounted plastic seats. this 45mins turned into an Hour as I waited for another family who was to be on my shuttle to clear customs.
Now I can understand the need to have a scheduled system for shuttles coming and going, and I can understand the need to have to share and inherently wait for other passengers of the shuttle to leave. But I am still fairly agitated at this point because I have spent a solid 5 hours waiting to go home...
Once the missing family arrived, we boarded the shuttle and started on our drive up. We got to Barrie where I was informed that I was to disembark to the shuttle and to sit again wait for another to pick me up... This was another half hour of waiting. That shuttle eventually got me home.
Here's my thing... In the evening, I takes about an hour and 20mins to get to Pearson from my home. In the amount of time it too me to get home with the shuttle, I could have called Rachel, had her drive down to Pearson, pick me up, and drive all the way back home in the same time frame, we would have had some time to spare, and we it would have only cost us $35 in gas...
I was impressed with the service going down to the airport, but this mess on the way back has assured I'll not be using the service again, most certainly not on any of my upcoming personal trips.
But all said and done, I did make it home safe and sound.