Flight cancelations happen all of the time, but somehow I have been fortunate enough to have never been affected, at least that I can remember. A few weekends ago I was supposed to be on the East Coast, visiting Washington D.C for one night and then heading up to Baltimore for Friday night and Saturday and Sunday.
I arrived at the airport for my 7am flight, and discovered that my flight was canceled. Through the process of figuring out the next step and consequently having to cancel the trip, I learned a very important lesson.
Don’t be the obnoxious, screaming person, but don’t be the easy going, too understanding person either.
While I was waiting in the 20-plus person line to learn about my options and hopefully rebook, I was surrounded by people of all different levels of upset. After one of the ticket agents made an announcement that the next available seats were for Saturday, two days later, there was the guy who screamed “f*** you, I’m finding a different airline” and jumped the line rope and ran off. There was the guy in front of me who was going to miss his sister’s wedding and was brainstorming all kinds of rental car and train options with his girlfriend. The couple behind me was due in the Caribbean for their honeymoon and would lose out on a $700/night suite. And then there was me. I was very frustrated and disappointed, but by the time it was my turn at the counter, I’d gotten a big dose of perspective from the predicaments of my fellow travelers.
I of course wanted to see my friends in DC and my family in Baltimore, and this is a very important time of year for us, but I wasn’t missing a once in a lifetime event like a wedding, I wasn’t going to lose a huge amount of money on the hotel and I thought about how many times I’ve traveled with few or no issues. So when it was my turn, I was calm and nice to the ticket agent (like an adult should be) and listened as she once again confirmed that the earliest I could get to my destination would be Saturday afternoon. I was due to return to Denver almost exactly 24 hours later.
She then proceeded to say that the weather was supposed to stay bad and that there is a huge backlog of passengers so it was uncertain how the rest of the weekend would play out for traveling– implying that I might have some issues returning home on Sunday. Logically of course, going for 24 hours didn’t make sense. But I do wonder whether being a little bit more visibly angry or clearly frustrated would have helped my case in some way. Here’s hoping I’ll never have to try it out, but I’d love to hear the experiences of others and dealing with extreme delays and cancelations. Has keeping your cool helped you get to your destination, or did making your frustrations known get you better options?