Five Ways Home from Montreal


Some days I think travel is easy. Last week that was decidedly not the case. I had a quick work trip up to Montreal to cover the first flight of the Bombardier CSeries CS300. Plenty of non-stop options to and fro, but the budget was tight and the trip was absolute last minute so fares were all over the place. Still, I did not expect that I’d go through five different bookings to make the trip.

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Late on Tuesday Bombardier announced that the flight was expected on Thursday morning. I was able to snag an Avios award on the Wednesday afternoon LaGuardia-Montreal flight so that was wonderfully cheap but return flights were decidedly not. Ultimately my editor and I agreed that taking Amtrak back on Friday was the best play. It was inexpensive – only $75 for the fare – so even with the extra overnight in Montreal on Thursday night it was cheaper than the flight options. Plus Amtrak tickets have much better flexibility rules than most cheap airfares. Given the uncertainty around the schedule for the first flight that flexibility was important.

Read More: Bombardier CSeries CS300 Achieves First Flight

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Alas, shortly after I arrived in Montreal we got word that the Thursday attempt had been scrubbed with a possible try on Friday, but no guarantee that would fly. I immediately booked a seat on the nearly sold out Thursday Amtrak departure as if we decided to scrap the trip that was my affordable way home. By Thursday morning we decided to stick it out and hope for the best so I cancelled the train tickets and went hunting for a flight home. The non-stop flights purchased two days out were, unsurprisingly, ridiculously expensive but I managed to find a connecting trip on Porter Air for just under $400. Not ideal at all but reasonable given the circumstances. And, like many US carriers, Porter Air offers a 24-hour free refund policy after booking. That proved to be most useful.

Read More: The Bump I Didn’t Mean to Take

On Thursday afternoon as the 24-hour refund period was coming up on the Porter Air itinerary I checked one more time and happened upon a non-stop flight on Delta for about $350. Cheaper and non-stop was perfect for me. I booked that and refunded the Porter Air ticket; I was now on my 4th booking in 48 hours for a trip home.

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The inaugural flight event was great and soon enough I was headed back to the airport for my flight home. That’s where the oversold flight scene I previously described took place, ultimately seeing me booked on an Air Canada + Delta combined itinerary which ultimately is what I flew.

Just a simple trip up to Montreal, right??

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

2 Comments

    1. Ummm, no, I do not. I live in Manhattan where owning a car is generally a liability, not an asset. Also, The drive is relatively easy but far from quick.

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