Christmas is not the season to travel anywhere. I mean, it is the season where you should travel, to see friends and family, to be home for the holidays, but it is hardly a good idea. Well, this weekend, when I decided to return home to California to visit, it couldn’t have gone worse.
So far and life I have had pretty good luck with air travel. Like most of you, I have had the occasional weather delay, or spent an absurd amount of time waiting on the plane for take off, but the plane has always taken off. Not so this time around.
Long story short, the plane was broken, and I lost a whole day in Denver International. Though it was hardly how I hoped to spend my first day off, in the age of portable digital entertainment, it was hardly miserable. If your plane fails to take off, there are a few things you should know:
- Don’t freak out – Seriously. It will all be okay.
- Don’t freak out at the staff – You know that saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? Well, in this case, EVERYONE is the squeaky wheel. Don’t be that guy. When you are the 20th person in line waiting to have your ticket re-booked the way to make yourself stand out is by being a pleasure to help – they might even bump you up to first class like they did for me.
- Don’t yell at the employees – a follow on to the previous suggestion. Do not make airline employees cry, it isn’t helping anyone. Seriously. You wouldn’t like it if someone came to your job to berate you.
After a one day delay, my travels continued west, and I was given money for food and a hotel room that night, so all’s well that ends well. Whether people were less forgiving of the airline than usual because of Christmas time, I can’t say, but I was shocked at how rude some of my fellow passengers were. Unless you have evidence that one of the flight attendants sabotaged the plane, just calm down and try to get through the experience with as little pain or annoyance as possible.
Any other frequent travelers have similar experiences?
Took a flight from San Francisco to San Diego yesterday morning. It wasn’t terrible. It, however, may have been due to timing.
My way up north on the 21st I took an 11 hour train/bus/train ride. Fewer lines, fewer people. But again, timing. I left SD at 9:20pm.
I, for one, am determined to not travel next year. It took me 11 hours to get from New Jersey to Boston yesterday. And that was from a car to a train to a bus to another train – and pouring rain on the walk home from the train station to top it off. It was only my Playstation Vita and Final Fantasy VIII that kept the day from being completely miserable.
To quote an anonymous author
“Don’t freak out at the staff – You know that saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? Well, in this case EVERYONE is the squeaky wheel. Don’t be that guy. When you are the 20th person in line waiting to have your ticket re-booked the way to make yourself stand out is by being a pleasure to help – they might even bump you up to first class like they did for me.”
My boys flew out to CA from MI two years ago. My boys seats could not have been further apart. We had approached the abnormally small desk at the airport boarding gate with the dilemma, and that they would like to be seated at least in the same row and anything they could do would be most appreciated. She said she would do what she could. She was able to sit them back by the bathrooms together in the rear. We thanked her and then sat in the waiting area together and I taught them the value of politeness.
Lo-and behold here comes “That guy” . .”I booked this flight weeks ago, how can you not have my seat, blah blah blah. .” He was very agitated and rude, but not quite abusive. . although I’ve seen those types too. What great timing for that guy to show up, as I was able to cite him as an example to my boys of how to NOT behave.
Shortly after his disturbance, my boys were called up to the desk and the attendant quietly (Almost whispering) explained that with some movement in the seats, she found “That guy” a couple of seats in the rear with the bathrooms and the boys were being placed in first class first row next to each other. . the lesson went quite well.
GREAT POST Sir David of Winchester. Happy New Year.
I travel often and extensively for work and I think you’re spot on, David. The golden rule when travel goes awry is “keep calm and carry on.” Your politeness and calm demeanor will be appreciated by those who are in a position to help you resolve your problem.
One thing I’d add to your list is: join a frequent flier program. Even if you don’t travel enough to “justify” it, or you never earn enough miles for that free ticket to Paris, just having that silly number on your ticket can mean the difference between being 4th on the standby list for the last flight out of Chicago before the big blizzard hits, or the 24th on that same list… (I speak from very recent experience).
Incidentally, I too spent a night at the Denver airport in the past week… Small world.
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