Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Flight Patterns

You shouldn’t fly with me.

I might be the black cat of airline travel. Over the past five trips I’ve taken by plane, at least two of the flights have been cancelled, at least three of the flights have been delayed over two hours, and one plane was struck by lightning as we landed.

I abandoned checked luggage ages ago. I’m never on the plane I’m supposed to be on, and my bags aren’t, either.

Air TravelI booked my trip for Boston over a month ago, back in September. I like to book early for prices and for convenience. Besides, I need that time to allow people to abandon the flight before I actually make it to the airport. I usually give myself an extra day. I’ve spent two nights on separate occasions sleeping the Chicago’s O’Hare airport, once by myself; another time with over 1,000 stranded people.

It’s easy to point at O’Hare and say, “Kate, you’re flying to a bad weather hot zone.” Fair enough. My trips to Michigan are almost always in the dead of winter and the cause of my flight delays are the same reason I’m going up there in the first place: snow.

But, things were supposed to change. At the end of September, I went back to Dallas to surprise my friends. The day before the flight was supposed to leave, they cancelled it. They rebooked me on a flight that would have me landing four hours later and (consequently) ruining my elaborate construct of surprise. Orbitz (I will say again) ORBITZ! took my call and was able to book me on a different flight that routed through Denver rather than San Fran and had me arriving at the original time (no extra charge). Surprise saved.

I will always recommend Orbitz because of this. They took care of me.

On the flight back to Los Angeles, lightning struck our plane as we descended into Denver. It’s not very exciting.

On my flight to Boston (routed through San Francisco {or, as I told my dad “The new Chicago”}) the flight was delayed so long that my connecting flight had left San Francisco before I even left LA. United got me on a different flight and I landed in Boston at 1:00AM.

Which brings us up to today.Hurricane Sandy

I am sitting out a hurricane.

Now, it could be worse. I don’t have a job I have to get back to because I work from home. I’m missing my classes, but hopefully I can make them up later. My car is slowly accumulating day after day charges, but it’s only $10 per day, so an extra 20 isn’t going to break the bank.

I’m not going to stop flying anytime soon. I love that air travel makes our world smaller by hours. I love that I have income flexibility that allows me to travel to places like Michigan, Boston, Dallas. I’m lucky to have friends and family in these places that give me a place to crash.

Perhaps the moral of this story is that all my karmic dissonance plays out in the form of terrible airline travel. A few things I’ve learned, though:

  1. Flexibility is essential.
  2. Pack light.
  3. Pack extra underwear.
  4. Be nice to airline employees.

That last one is probably the most important.

If I live to tell the tale, I’ll post about what it’s like to sit out a hurricane on the MIT campus. This coffee shop I’m posting from is playing “Singin’ in the Rain” which is either genius or in very poor taste.

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3 responses

  1. I’ve been to O’Hare only once, back in December 2006, en route to Arlanda Airport, in Stockholm, Sweden. Talk about hectic? I thought I’d never get through the baggage-inspection line and, when I did board the plane, it was within seconds of their closing the door. That was my experience with O’Hare and United Airlines. The flight to Sweden, though, was really cool!

    October 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm

  2. I see you are using rapier wit and humor to see yourself through this. When they get you out of Boston, I’m hoping you don’t end up in Cincinnati sitting out a blizzard!!

    October 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm

  3. Pingback: Stranded « Kate Cornell

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