After much back and forthing, stressing, and weighing of options, I decided to just pull the trigger and charter a jet for the cross-country flight to Toronto. Expensive, yes, but at least this way, I would only have to do one trip, wouldn’t have to cram the dogs under any seats, and wouldn’t have to worry about major flight delays (and even if there were delays, I’d have the option of actually taking the dogs for a walk rather than keeping them sealed up in their individual little carriers).  Instead, of commercial, I’d be kicking back and flying private in a Learjet 35.  It has the distinction of being the type of aircraft golfer Payne Stewart perished aboard!

So, the charter company sent me the paper work.  I signed the proper documents, scanned, and emailed them back.  At which point we came to the “payment” portion of the show.  I assumed I could pay by credit card – in spite of the outrageous 5% “administrative fee”.  Unfortunately, the company doesn’t take VISA; only American Express.  My only other option was to pay by wire transfer.  So, late yesterday, armed with their banking info, I headed off to my bank (CIBC), got a bank draft, and went to their bank (TD) to make the transaction.  Unfortunately, this proved impossible because, even though they share the same name, the TD bank in the U.S. and the TD bank in Canada aren’t quite the same.  I could still wire the money, but it wouldn’t be an instantaneous transaction. I briefly reconsidering the whole thing, but the company rep Isuggested we could move forward with the wire transfer provided I fax them a copy of the completed transaction and use my VISA credit card as a back-up.  And so, I headed back to my bank (CIBC), cashed the bank draft back into my account, completed the wire transfer, faxed the company a copy of the paperwork, provided them with whatever other information they required, then redirected my focus to packing.  We were scheduled to leave at 12:00 noon.   I…

Cancelled my standing reservations with Air Canada.

Informed my friend who was to join me on my planned second trip, next week, that we wouldn’t be going after all.

Called up my dog sitter and informed her that I wouldn’t need her to stay after all.

Contacted the shipping company scheduled to pick up my car on Monday to change the Vancouver contact number from my dog sitter’s phone to Lawren’s phone –

And contacted Lawren to tell him he would be taking possession of the house one week early.

It was a little after 11:00 p.m. when I finally finished packing.  I headed downstairs and found a message awaiting me from the company rep informing me that they had yet to receive the wire transfer and without the funds, they would be unable to offer me my scheduled flight.  I pointed out that wire transfers usually take a few days to clear but, according to him, they’d had transfers go through almost immediately in the past.

Well, with the banks closed, there was nothing to do but get a good night’s sleep – or stay up all night wondering whether we would, in fact, be flying out tomorrow.

This morning, I went to the bank.  I spoke to the manager who informed me that wire transfers are never immediate, they always take a couple of days, and, in this instant, the time lag is compounded by the fact that the transaction was completed late Friday night – which would push things to the next business day = Monday.  However, she assured me that she would be happy to speak to a company rep or provide them with any supporting documentation required.  I called up the company rep.  They talked.  And talked.  And talked.  No dice.  The flight was cancelled.  Alas, the same can’t be said for the wire transaction which, once initiated, cannot be stopped.  So, I –

Rebooked with Air Canada.

Informed my friend who was to join me on my planned second trip, next week, that we WOULD be going after all.

Called up my dog sitter and informed her that I WOULD need her to stay after all.

Contacted the shipping company scheduled to pick up my car on Monday to change the Vancouver contact number from Lawren’s phone back to my dog-sitter’s phone –

And contacted Lawren to tell him he WOULDN’T be taking possession of the house one week early after all.

Flying out tonight on a 10:30 p.m. flight that will get us in to Toronto for 5:55 a.m.

And await my refund.

Boy, that year off in Vancouver is looking real good right about now.

59 thoughts on “March 19, 2011: Travel Day! Actually, no! No, actually, yes!

  1. Wow, Joe. So sorry to read about your difficulties. I hope that things settle down soon and you can begin to enjoy the new adventure.

  2. Woohoo for wire transfers. In the US they can be same day (but there are a list of things that have to happen – I work for a payroll company and when people hit a certain threshold we require funds to be wired to be secure for the check date). But an international wire? Yeah…I can see a delay happening there. You’d think that in our era it’d be a fast as a click, click, and boom conversion done…(and who takes Amex over Visa? That’s an odd one IMO…)

  3. God bless Lawren.
    God bless the dog sitter.
    God bless the 2nd flight flying buddy.
    God bless you Joe and dogs.
    Screw the banking system.
    Screw the Jet Charter Company.
    but, God bless Payne Stewart.
    To be determined: Air Canada.

  4. Joe – it’s a super moon tonight! You know what that means??! You’re gonna get yer period. 😉

    Either that, or…ya know…you’re plans are gonna fall through. 😛

    Happy travels! See you on this side of the planet!

    das

  5. wow, Joe, I hope today is better. sweet dreams of macarons and chocolate and happy dayz…

  6. Dude! I thought I had a crappy day! 🙁 Sending you hugs from Montana! You sure sound like you need them, and since they’re virtual hugs, they don’t violate that pesky restraining order. 😉

    Fangurling from afar!
    LJ

  7. Holy crap, Joe! So now 2 dogs are stuffed under the Air Canada seats? As for the charter company? What a shitty way to do business. Drop us a line when you get in so we know the pups are ok!

  8. I don’t think Vancouver wants you to leave.

    Best wishes to you and the pups for a safe and uneventful trip.

  9. 9:53 Mountain time, 8:53 your time, probably in the throes of getting to/through the airport… holding good thoughts for you and the fur-faces.

  10. I would have gone postal by now. Safe travels. Let me put that charter company in touch with a potential new customer in the form of a Nigerian Prince. Seems they have a lot in common.

  11. I once had a bank clerk screw up one digit on an international wire transfer…it took two months to find the money.

    Safe travels to you and the dogs, Joe!

  12. Best of luck. Hoping that the excitement of a new project will soon be able to negate all the stress from a crap deal, plus everything else.

  13. I don’t know what to say… my mouth is wide open, brain can’t process appropriate response except the f word. Unreal. I do hope, once you get your money back, you will reveal the idiots behind this fiasco. Of course right NOW I am waiting for you to blog that you actually got on the plane, they didn’t bump you for dog weight or something. I’ll be relieved when you post you are THERE so please let us know you are safely underway if you can.

  14. Check in and security was great. Airport personnel very nice. Minimal whining from the dogs. Waiting to board.

  15. Are you in the terminal now, waiting to board? Have a nip of the doggie/baby gravol medicine.

    Safe flight. Deep breaths. Cuddles for the puppies.

    Ditto what Ponytail said. God bless everyone helping you out. What a day! My nephew was born during a full moon. This is your new life getting born. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.

  16. You DON’T have AMEX??!! Dude!! duh!

    You can get the No Fee AIR MILES one…

    Anyhoo… hope you guys survived your flight! And, WELCOME TO ONTARIO!!

  17. to Ponytail i second all of that.

    to Debra
    I don’t know what to say… my mouth is wide open, brain can’t process appropriate response except the f word.
    that was my reaction too. and a lot of head-desk.

    to josephmallozzi keeping my fingers crosses.

  18. Hi Joe,

    Glad to hear things are going well with the dogs. I’ve considered the possibility of a new job outside North America and have a couple cats that even the thought of them traveling – flying – 9,000+ miles scares me half to death. The cost isn’t a concern but their health and sanity during and post-flight definitely is. So, who knows.

    It sounds like all the red tape with the traveling cross-country has been way too much of a hassle. All the back and forth, that’d make my eyes pop out.

    A concern of mine, even if I end up moving within North America for the new job (finishing my doctorate in May, so I am on the job hunt) would be having to keep the 2 felines sealed up in their individual carriers. They get really stressed out from an approximate 400 mile road trip (and round-trip), I suspect it’d be worse if it was 1,000+ miles. Maybe hotel stops overnights during the move would help (or make it worse?), I don’t know. Maybe just one long road trip would be better. If moving within America I’ll probably stick with travel via road.

    It’s pretty silly that a wire transfer wouldn’t be an instantaneous transaction. Weird.

    On another note…

    March 20 = my birthday!

    Woohoo! 😀

    …and first day of spring!

    (And yet it’s still in the low 40s (fahrenheit) (about 5 degrees celsius)… “fun!”) 😉

    Okay, have a nice day!

    Sean D., “birthday boy” and soon to be “Dr. D.” (…and going to a very nice restaurant as part of the b-day celebration. Might make a trip to Vegas or out of the country in late May to celebrate the Dr. thing (being hooded on May 15.)) 😀

  19. It’s 12:44 a.m. on Sunday so you should already have left Vancouver. I hope everything goes well. What an crazy, insane day you had. You know that fate thing. Perhaps if you took that chartered flight, you would have crashed. Of course, you’ll never know since you altered your own timeline. Peace, blessings and SLEEP.

  20. Wow!…this is really turning out to be more and more
    like the opening sequence of a potential “Transporter”
    TV show episode.

    When do the bad guys dressed up as Air Canada pilots
    show up to start shooting up the place?

    What will Joseph do now?

    Will Lulu somehow manage to save the day using
    some of her secret hidden talents?

    …tune in next week…when Jelly says..”…Toronto?!?…I
    thought that you said we were all moving to Hawaii…you’ve
    somehow managed to trick me yet again Mr. Mallozzi.”

  21. Whew, okay so at least made it that far… here’s hoping for a smooth flight and sleeping pups.

  22. I hope your latest travel plans work out well for you. Yep, sorry to hear about the trouble with TD Bank, but I am not at all surprised, LoL. My business partner has been trying to send me International bank transfers from his bank in Australia, to my U.S. TD Bank account. A complete disaster.

    At first we thought it was his Suncorp Bank that went down the tubes after it was bought out. He switched to NAB, 3rd largest Aussie bank and we still have problems.

    Since late 2009, TD Bank has told me at least 3 different Swift Code numbers, 3 or 4 different routing numbers and at least 3 different locations to receive the bank transfer, like TD Bank (Delaware), TD Bank (Philadelphia), etc.

    I gave up on TD Bank this past Friday, went in and closed the business bank account that they had drained for lack of the minimum funds in it, so it did not continue to be charged excessive maintenance fees, the thieves…

    As I explained our bank transfer problems to the TD Bank employee, my Swift code, etc. story fell on deaf ears. However when I was finished explaining, he made sure to offer me an application brochure for a credit card, LoL. They must get a commission each time someone signs up for their card. Anyway, they have lost our business account and I will close my personal accounts as soon as I decide on a better bank to go with. Anyone have any suggestions for a competent U.S. bank to go with? 🙂

  23. josephmallozzi

    “Check in and security was great. Airport personnel very nice. Minimal whining from the dogs. Waiting to board.”

    Cool. 🙂

  24. Holy crap Joe, my blood pressure just shot up reading about your trials and tribulations, I’d have probably gone totally apeshit by this point so kudos for the fact that you’re still rational and not in some sort of tight jacket with no sleeves and buckles up the back.

  25. I’m saying prayers that the way gets smoother from here out. Hopefully you and the dogs are safely in Toronto now and managing to get some much needed rest.

  26. PHEW!!!! Lets hope the rest of the flight, arrival and when your heads finally hits the pillow you & your companions are happy to be there!

    Bless you Joe!

    Cheers

  27. Hi there Joe!

    Sry to read about that u had such stressful days, but don´t let this break ya good mood.
    U know what u have, but what u´ll get u don´t know, so why changing the usual way (that´s what my pa would say).
    I know that an owner of pets always want the best for them, may u still hadn´t found yet the perfect way to travel with the gang? I wish u´ll find a perfect “How to do it”.
    I wish u & urs a safe and relaxing flight. Stay healthy und cheerful.

    Whining Wolf

  28. Holy cow Joe, what a a nightmare! Good to hear that the flight so far is going okay. Good luck and keep us posted!

  29. Hope your flight was good and that you’re safely in Toronto now. Oh, and I could tell you stories about TD Bank. Hubby used to work for a bank in the US that’s about to be taken over by them.

    Hope you get some rest today, and that your new adventure starts off well tomorrow!!

  30. How awful!

    I’m so sorry for all your trouble and frustration. But at least the airport folks were nice. I hope the rest of your trip went well and that all of you like your new place.

  31. wow, I’m so sorry, Joe!
    It’s a shame too, because as much as a kick in the wallet that would have been, it would simplified things. I guess Vancouver really wants to keep you 😀

  32. @5% “administrative fee

    Wow that’s ridiculus that companies still do that. I know with some there are ways around that, anyway sorry to hear that you’ve had a journey and a half trying to get everything sorted Joe.

    Too bad puddle jumpers arent real, you, the dogs etc could just hop aboard one and just fly over to Toronto with no hassle lol

  33. Wow, where is the Prometheus when you need it??

    You seem to be slaying dragons one at a time and I’ll bet that you are still dealing with a throat infection. Be prepared for a bit a crash when the dust settles. Not a cliche–> take care of yourself with sleep and lots of water & medication… Also, vitamins might not be a bad thing…I have found that a good multi or B-complex with C does wonders… but only take these energizing vitamins in the morning, otherwise, you will not be able to sleep.

    I know that you will be happy once you get there and start the new adventure called Toronto!

  34. RE Banks: I have heard a lot of negatives about CIBC and TD. By default, I was always with SB and found no need to change. That said, even there, as good as a bank might be, it is only as good as the knowledge and professionalism of the employees at any particular branch. If you’re not happy with one branch, speak to another… and for major issues, you can go right to the top. I have been enlightened.

  35. I (and probably everyone else here) egerly for today’s post to ensure everything is OK!!

    Make me tired just reading the whole ordeal…. yikes

    @SeanD: Happy birthday 🙂

  36. My team and I travel a lot for work, and we always say, if the flight is uneventful, then good things will come from the trip itself. Here’s to hoping all the stress and anxiety you’ve been bearing (for yourself and the doggies) pays off with smooth sailing on the other side.

    Also, just curious, but do your friends at Refuel have any chef-y friends in Toronto, into whom their good hands they can place you?

  37. This is why I hate flying, anywhere.

    I hope you got there safely with two dogs that gave you no trouble. Sleep well.

  38. Your travails would make for entertaining reading if it weren’t for the pesky empathy we have for you. And the dogs. Shame on the charter company. At some point you have to have just a little trust. I mean, they could have taken a dna sample, with the proviso that if you backed out of payment, they could sell your genetic code to some bio company. I hope the Air Canada option turns out to be less stressful. And it does seem that you aren’t meant to be going to Toronto. Hang in there though. If anyone can successfully defy the fates, it’s you.
    Oh, a belated Yahoo! for Carl’s joining the team. It will be fun watching you folks turn your creativity towards action/comedy/adventure rather than sci fi. And who knows, if the new show does well enough, you can put aside enough cash for that year off in Vancouver when you’re oh, 70 or so.

  39. Welcome to Ontario! Hope you like it here.

    Sorry to hear about the travel planning woes, but I hope everything else goes smoothly.

    @Shannon: Who takes Amex over Visa? Costco. It’s the only card they’ll take.

  40. EEEYYYOWW – Holy Hannah, could that have been any more of a hassel, thank God the back ups worked. Although Toronto had a rough start, how adventurous. New home, new surroundings, new start. It’s always rough at first, but then when things settle down, you’ll be able to enjoy your surroundings, new restaurants….
    All the best to you!

  41. Hi All. Been gone a while but as you may gather, I’m back. 🙂

    Joe, poor man – hope you arrived okay. As for the charter company I hope someone gets a reprimand for losing business.

    Try not to stress too much, its gives you wrinkles.

  42. Sorry to hear of your trouble. Boy even the best laid plans can be turned to junk (or something like that). I found that cross boarder transfers never go as quickly as one might think, especially in to day’s security conscious world (swift codes and all). Then you get this the cute admonition “business day”. My credit union is large enough to pull weight but friendly enough to give me real advice.

    The FBO, Part 135 business is a different world. Once the paperwork is all filled out and money received, they treat you like you are important or something. Until then you are an unknown. I am sure the office flunky was trying to be helpful but still ended up feeding you a line of bull, otherwise you would not need to fly AC. How could they reject your VISA and accept only AMEX, then allow your VISA as a back up? Just make sure the charter company does not charge a service fee to return the money. (Might be impossible to do). With all the flying in First, guess you could earn a free trip out of the ordeal, Ha.

    I cannot say if AC is better of worse than other airlines. Hopefully the were able to offer you a refreshing and relaxing tonic and your dogs not traumatized.

    Hope the flight was smooth and the landing soft.

  43. I say blame it on the super moon, which seems to be sprinkling super lunacy in its wake. That charter co. sounds godawful.

    Glad you were able to get your support system back in place to look after pugs and help with transport. Just think, some of the hard part is nearly over.

  44. Joan001

    “RE Banks: I have heard a lot of negatives about CIBC and TD…..”

    Thanks very much for this info Joan001. 🙂

    I’m so disgusted with TD Bank that I doubt we’ll give them yet another chance. What bank is “SB” bank? Is it in the USA and/or Canada? Thanks a lot. 🙂

  45. Sg1efc asks, “…What bank is “SB” bank? Is it in the USA and/or Canada?”

    I’m talking about the Scotia Bank/Bank of Nova Scotia. I deal with the one in Canada but I do know that they have branches in the States and Barbados. What I don’t know is how efficient they are in the States or elsewhere.

    I know someone who works for the Royal Bank who said that they have an awful lot of applications for employment from people who are interested in leaving the bank that they work for but not so much from the people who want to leave Scotia Bank. So it looks like when the employees are happy, the bank runs smoother… hence, any branch is only as good as the employees working there.

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