28 FEB 2017: I was pleased when my daughter said she was flying in from Halifax for a visit and more so when she said that she was arriving at the Hamilton airport. But truth be told, I had reservations about her flying with New Leaf.  I warned her to expect delays and hoped she wouldn’t have to deal with a cancelled flight.  I anticipated the worst.

Two days before she arrived the airline ticket reseller announced the cancellation of flights on four routes; one was the Hamilton to Halifax, another was the Halifax to Hamilton.  The flights affected were on Sundays. Lauren was coming in on Monday.

Over the weekend a fog warning in southern Ontario caused schedule disruptions and cancellations. On that foggy Monday, Lauren’s flight was delayed by 90 minutes.

I was pretty happy going to the airport. My drive to the John C Munro Hamilton International Airport meant a 20-minute journey instead of an hour (plus) to Pearson.  And I wouldn’t have to drive on the dreaded ‘400 series highways’.

I figured the delay and the lack of inflight entertainment would mean some serious moaning from my girl though, and I was going to use the “seat and seat-belt only” experience on New Leaf for my next column, titled, ‘Mowing down New Leaf’.

I greeted Lauren when she got in the car. “Wow, how brutal was that?’ I asked.  “A bit of grief, with New Leaf?” (Back up title).

“I love New Leaf!” she said. “It was great.” What? How so, I asked?

“Mom” she said, “I paid less than $200, when I have had to pay up to $600 with the other airlines. And the delay was due to fog, so it wasn’t their fault.”

“Sure” I said, “but they probably nickel and dimed you with ancillary fees.” She said they charge $20 for luggage.  She figured hers was over-sized so paid a fee of $80 when she booked; but when she got to the airport she had her bag weighed and it was in fact within the weight limit.

Well that’s $60 that you kissed goodbye, I said.

“I called New Leaf right away and spoke to a CSR who credited my account” Lauren said,  “The airline actually has people who answer the phone and help you.”

“Yeah” I said, “but you know technically they are an airline ticket re-seller.” She shrugged. “So. If the service is as good and the fares are that low, I can come home more often.”

I like that reasoning. A lot. Perhaps my skepticism was just mulch ado about nothing.

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Pam Stellini

Pam Stellini is an original. Her quirky outlook and wry humour defy categorization. Readers have compared her to Erma Bombeck and Art Buchwald with a travel spin – and we're not about to argue. 

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