European Vacation – September 11/19 – Edmonton to Dublin, Ireland (Part 1) – Its Complicated

Anyone who has ever planned a vacation of any complexity knows all the details that must be considered, to make sure the vacation is a success. Travel dates, travel documents, transportation, hotels, tours, places to see, things to do and restaurants to eat in.

I have always treated travel planning as a project (could be my almost 38 years as a construction project manager) and this trip was no different. Or, was it? We were meeting friends and relatives on our travels and actually touring parts of Italy and France with another couple (J & F). It seems F was keen to go on a trip planned by me, so I set out to make it happen. She added her expertise in booking the European flight segments.

Months went into fleshing out the basic framework, adding flights, trains, apartments, etc.). At last, all was ready and we were set to embark on the “Trip of a Lifetime” as my beloved calls these trips. So, if everything was so carefully planned, why did I have this nagging sense of unease about the trip? Perhaps, it was that I was no longer just planning for the two of us or maybe I am just getting old.

My fears almost proved to be founded when we did the first weight test on our big suitcase (purchased in March). It was a huge case and despite its low weight when empty, it weighed in at over 24 kilos when full. This was not good, as we had a 23 kilo weight on Air Canada and only 20 kilos on our European flights. Back to the drawing board.

We had smaller cases, so I chose one, but just before splitting up the weight, I ran a tape measure around our big, new case. Checked bag dimensions (length/width/depth) total are set at a maximum of 62 inches on most airlines. The dimensions on this bag came to 68 inches.

Hmmmmmm, how had we made it to San Diego and back without a problem? I was not about to chance it on Ryanair and Aer Lingus, so two smaller, older bags would have to do.

Luggage packed, airport ride arranged, house all locked up, we were off on our adventure. Our departure airport was Edmonton International and after checking in and clearing security, we stretched our legs before grabbing lunch at Chili’s.

Lunch over, we sat down to wait in the boarding longe, watching the activity outside the building. Luggage cart traffic moved in synch along designated lanes, and flights came and went, including this RCAF fighter jet. What was he doing here?

Fighter jet taxiing
The dance of the luggage trains

Boarding went smoothly and we were soon, up, up and away to our first stop, Vancouver. Wait, what? Why were we going West to head East? Ask Air Canada.

Skies were mostly cloudy along our route and we were soon over Vancouver, awaiting our turn to land.

We hiked from Domestic to International gates and sat down to await our next flight….Vancouver to Dublin. An iced coffee and staring at fish in the large aquarium in the departures area, helped us to pass the time.

Our aircraft was to be an Airbus A330, which did not sound like an Air Canada craft. Turns out we were right. This one was leased from TAP (Portugal) to cover routes normally serviced by the grounded 737 MAX 8s. The seats were comfortable, with footrests and cabin service and included meals were fine, but, the in flight entertainment system was not working. Could be a long flight. Stay tuned.

On Board
On Board

We were loaded and on our way early, heading into the darkness as we lost a day in travel.

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