When you are "on the pager" and that pager goes off, until you see your schedule, you never really know where you will end up going. Yesterday, when I got that call from scheduling I was heading to Canada, but that was just the beginning of my day. I was flying to Montreal, then onto Detroit and finally Columbia, SC for the overnight.
Here is the tricky part, I was Not operating the first flight from New York to Montreal, I was "Dead Heading" on it. (aka, sit in the back like a passenger to get me from point A to point B. Still technically "working" but that usually means reading a magazine or sneaking in a nap.) Once I got to Montreal, I was scheduled to only have 40 minutes on the ground before my next flight was supposed to be up in the air flying to Detroit. (Remember that we board 20 minutes prior to that and I have a pre-flight check to do as well). Normally, 40 minutes is not a problem except for the fact that I had Dead Headed into another country. In this situation, when I step off the plane in Canada, I am considered another passenger even though I have a flight to work. This means that I was expected to get all my things, head out through customs, go back upstairs into and through security, come back in through customs and back to the gate before getting onto my plane. With all that plus then pre-flighting and boarding, there was No Way that I would be able to do all that in 40 minutes. Of course, in Montreal (like most of our airports) our gates are at the end of a VERY LONG hallway. (Gate space is cheaper at the ends).
My gate agents were really nice about it and tried to talk with the higher-ups to see if they kept me in a "secure location" after getting off the first plane, if they could escort me right onto the next. However, that request was denied and off I went to the land of customs and back. As policy, if this happens, they automatically have to add a 1.5 hour delay to the flight. I was lucky with my timing and had short lines and arrived back at the gate pretty quickly and were able to get the flight out with a minimal delay.
Even though it worked out fine in the end, it was a Huge inconvience to myself, all of my passengers and the gate agents.
Just another example of things that can go wrong in the life of a Flight Attendant!