“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”
Traveling, more specifically flying, can go from a great experience to an awful experience in the matter of seconds. The thousands of people that are in and out of an airport on any given day can be there for so many reasons. It would be great if everyone was there for positive reasons – to go see a loved one, to go on vacation, to start a new adventure, to go see a newborn baby, a work trip that they’re excited about..there’s so many possibilities. And how dare anyone interrupt that experience on Cloud 9 with a delay, cancelation, bad service or poor attitude. On the other hand, are the people who are traveling for reasons that aren’t filled with as much joy and excitement – a work trip they are dreading, a funeral, to go fire an employee, to head back home after visiting a loved one… to say the least, to head anywhere that they do NOT want to go. And how dare anyone do anything to make them even more miserable than they already are.
Regardless of the reason for me flying, I don’t always have the best of luck. Yet again, who actually does?! This past trip, my first flight was delayed three hours so I missed my next flight. Luckily, I got put on the next flight. Upon arriving at my final destination, I raced to baggage claim only to find my bag was not there. Don’t worry, it would be coming in on the next flight just three hours from now and I could wait for it! Once it finally arrived, I headed outside to catch a taxi – only to find out they were currently out of taxis. Eventually, I made it to my hotel a little after 2am. Point is, I made it. Was it the ideal situation? Absolutely not, but hey, that’s life!
On my way back, my flight was delayed about 25 minutes – no big deal. Once we all got in the plane, we were quickly told we would be getting off the plane due to an issue with the computer that they were just made aware of. About four hours later, we finally took off and headed down to Charlotte. Again, not exactly how I wanted to spend my Wednesday night, but I can think of far worse ways to spend it.
I started thinking of all my trips over the years and the problems that I’ve encountered with airports and airlines. It can be REALLY easy to focus on all of the bad no matter how big or small of an issue it really is. So, let’s take a little time to find the good in the encounters that can be experienced when at the airport or on a plane.
- Traffic getting to the airport. – Just expect it. Airports are busy places. Rather than stressing about it, complaining and letting it ruin your mood start your day traveling experience with the mindset that right from the beginning things might not go your way. Oh, you’re running behind schedule? So is everyone else.
- Getting through security. – Oh, the TSA agent doesn’t seem happy to see you? Well, are you hitting them with your best smile and remaining calm? Try it sometime. You might not get a smile back in return, but you definitely don’t have anything to lose. Maybe you’re not being an @$$ to them, but the last 100 people in front of you were a pain in the rear. Think about how many times you hear the TSA agent behind them saying the same thing over and over again. They have got to hear that in their sleep at night. Yikes. I’d be a little (or a lot) bit grumpy too. Oh, you’re running behind schedule? So is everyone else.
- Delayed flight. – Whether it’s a five minute delay or five hour delay someone is going to complain. That person doesn’t have to be you. There’s typically nothing positive about a delay, unless you’re back in your adolescence and you forgot to do your homework and there’s a 2 hour delay and you get to finish it in time. We immediately need someone to blame. Seems like a no brain to blame the airline. “Delta always screws stuff up.” “Every time I fly US Air something like this happens.” “Why can’t they just get us another plane?” “I worked in this business for 20 years – I could fix this problem.” Oh, you’re running behind schedule? So is everyone else.
- The passenger in the back who pushes their way to the front. – You know every plane has one. Maybe, he or she has a really really good reason why they need to get off the plane before everyone else. Hey maybe, he or she just sharted and NEEDS to get off the plane immediately. Or maybe, he or she has absolutely no reason as to why they think that’s acceptable other than the fact they are impatient, tired, annoyed, entitled, superior… They probably are running behind schedule and who cares if everyone else is too?
- Annoying passengers. – Newsflash: They are on every fight. First off, let’s accept that people of all ages fly. This means babies. To all of the childless people of the world – you never know if your day will come where you have your baby with you. What goes around comes around. The loud talker. The sweater. The one complaining it’s too hot. The loud chewer. The snorer. The one complaining it’s too cold. The one sitting in the wrong seat. The one who won’t stop talking to you. The nervous flyer. The overhead compartment freak – no you don’t get the whole thing to yourself and no you don’t need to open it and close 50 times during the flight. The one who the rules don’t apply to. The tuna fish sandwich eater. The couple who things they’re the only ones on the plane. The most experienced flyer in the world. The comedian. The one that normally is in first class. … Clearly, I have never thought about this before and love every person that I’ve ever been on a plane with.
So, two out of my four flights were delayed, I missed a flight and they lost my baggage. Did I get to all of my destinations in one piece and get my bag back eventually? Yes. Was it the ideal situation? Absolutely not. Did I get less sleep than I would’ve preferred? Of course. However, due to the delay, I got a whole lot of work done, read the majority of Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”, caught up with a bunch of friends, organized my calendar, had plenty of time to eat, worked on my blog, wrote a blog post and reread all the amazing notes/cards given to me on my last day.
“As you go through life you’ll see
There is so much that we
And the only thing we know
Is things don’t always go
The way we planned”
This is from a song in Lion King 2. Thank you, Disney.
Hope for the best, but expect the worst. Recently, I remember my Dad saying that he will set his expectations low, to avoid disappointment. That way, his expectations can either be met or over-exceeded. What a pleasant surprise.
“See if you can catch yourself complaining, in either speech or thought, about a situation you find yourself in, what other people do or say, your surroundings, your life situation, even the weather. To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” – Eckhart Tolle
The next time you fly, try to find the positive in every negative situation that may or may not arise… and I shall do the same.