A recent trip reminded me of the importance of that old saying: You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It’s a classic tale of an airline delay, a scramble to reschedule and how to avoid the madding throng of panicked fellow passengers.
Here’s what happened:
We planned a trip back east that included the weekend leading up to a week when Greg had to stay for work. The weekend was for fun. A friend was celebrating a big birthday blowout party and they invited us to join in the festivities. We booked our trip and I planned to return home on Tuesday, opting to “cheap out” and use points to fly home. That meant I was on a connecting flight with a three-hour layover in Boston.
Tuesday morning I got up, hopped on the DC Metro and made my way to the airport. I checked my bag then headed to the lounge where I nibbled on my complimentary avocado toast.Just before boarding my short flight to Boston, I got a text that my connecting flight to Phoenix was already delayed. Bummer, but I was fully prepared to take things in stride.
When we landed, there were two more texts with two more delays! My initial three-hour delay was now approaching six hours. UGH! As I checked into the lounge I asked the attendant if she had any information beyond the texted delay. She noted it was a maintenance issue, but other than that, nothing. I ordered a complimentary cocktail and settled in for a long wait.
Within 20 minutes another buzz jostled my phone. The delay now had my flight departing Boston after 10pm. I went back to the front desk and very nicely asked if we could be creative about rerouting me to get me home. I laughed that since I am retired my schedule is utterly flexible. I offered connecting through any major hub. We laughed and chatted as she clicked away on her keyboard to no avail.
Laughingly I said, “What if you send me back to DC and put me on the direct flight to Phoenix tomorrow morning?” She clicked a couple of times, smiled brightly and said, “Sure, that’s easy! Why would you want to do that?”
“My husband is in DC for work,” I replied, “so I have a place to stay and an extra night with him is always a bonus.” She remarked how sweet that was and asked if I wanted my bag sent straight to Phoenix or to DC for the night.
She took care of the tickets, offered me seat choices, rebooked my bag and I was on my way to the gate and headed to DC before my original flight to Phoenix would have left Boston. As I settled into my seat, I texted Greg to let him know he’d have a roommate for the night.
I heard the original flight to Phoenix ended up departing Boston about 2am … almost 10 hours after its original scheduled departure time. The passengers were, no doubt, frustrated. Some were undoubtedly angry. I, on the other hand, had a good night’s sleep and a pleasant flight one day later than planned.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. Being flexible and pleasant can go a long way to easing the frustrations you will inevitably encounter.
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