I’ll put the disclaimer up front – this is a rant. I’ve had lots of glorious travel days, full of soft-focus sunsets and sweeping orchestral music. Every once in a while, though, the odds are not ever in your favor and you end up with a bad travel day. This was mine.
I suppose I was asking for this, since my last post talked about the illusion of control. That illusion was shattered last week when I tried to get home from a business trip.
Meetings ended a day early, so I switched my flights to come home a day early. So far, so good. I arrived at the airport at 8 am for a 42 minute flight to Newark. As we taxied to the runway, I smiled at the pink flamingos that someone had put in the grass at the far end of the runway. Cute, I thought. Then the captain announced that due to a mechanical issue, we were returning to the gate. Still not a bad travel day, just a temporary delay. We de-planed and waited for an update.
The updates trickled in throughout what became an eight hour delay. I could have driven to Newark twice in the time that it took to not fly there. To make things worse, this was not a large airport. Roughly the size of my high school. Entertainment and food options were limited. To say that I’d missed my connection to Hong Kong was something of an understatement. We finally arrived long after dinner time.
The airline put me up in a hotel near Newark. Thanks to the efficiencies of the New Jersey highway system, we passed the hotel twice in the shuttle bus before finally turning into the driveway. After a fitful night’s sleep, I schlepped my stuff back to the airport to try again.
I will hand it to the airline staff though. They were patient, courteous, and helpful. I appreciated that and I tried to show that appreciation by being courteous in return. Even on a bad travel day, keep in mind that the staff are not to blame.