Sunday, March 25, 2007

My new travel tip #1

I'm in the middle of a spate of travel and it's a virtual certainty that at some point I will have some delays. I wrote some travel tips last year and I have heard from several people that they were helpful. My spouse invoked my travel rule #3 this past Monday and it worked out perfectly for her:
Tip #3: Sleep in your own bed whenever possible. If you're on the first leg of a trip, meaning you're still at home, then ask to be re-booked for the next day. The airlines will not present this to you as an option, you have to ask. When you do ask, they are more than willing to accommodate you. Also, more than once when I have been re-booked for the next day I've been upgraded to 1st class.

But when I read this Christine Kane travel post: Why your ego loves airline delays I realized I missed the most important tip of all:

Watch your language.

Watch out for the following words: Hate, Ruined, Sucks, Should’ve, and (today’s favorite) Ridiculous. Even though you’re traveling, and you don’t feel like you’re somewhere - you are somewhere, and your language still holds great power. Your thoughts do too.

So, if you’ve gotten that far, then you can take it to the next step. Be grateful. Yes, even in frustrating travel moments, there’s much to be grateful for. Be grateful that someone cares enough about your safety not to fly you into a storm. Be grateful that the pilot didn’t make you wait on the runway for 8 hours. Be grateful for your health. Or for Jim Cantore and his telephone poles. Or for airport french fries.

You really need to read Christine's whole post. I struggled trying to find an appropriate snippet. I had selected huge chunks of text, but finally decided on something shorter. These snippets never do a piece justice. So please do read the whole thing.

I'll conclude this with a story of my own. I was flying out of Orlando a few years back and the flight was delayed and eventually canceled due to a huge thunderstorm being parked over the airport. I was standing in the line to re-book, and the person in front of me was totally going-off on the poor ticket agent. I said something to the person about taking a look out the window at the lightening strikes, and asked "What do you expect them to do?" My comment didn't matter -- the person was intent on being a total jerk. When it came my turn the agent started off by apologizing, and went on way too long--she was clearly gun-shy after dealing with too many irate passengers. I simply said, "It's not your fault. You're doing the best you can." She responded, "How would you like to fly first-class tonight sir?" Which I happily accepted. So the old adage, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" applies, and being grateful doesn't hurt either. You'll arrive in a much better mood which is the only thing you have control over anyway. It should have been my travel tip #1. Thank you Christine!


Anonymous said...

+1 on the impact of your attitude.

I find that being conscious of your attitude and your language about it has two effects.

First, as you point out, it can have a positive effect on the staff you interact with - who, after all, generally aren't responsible for whatever difficulty you're facing but can in fact help you work around it.

Second, I find it actually creates a self-fulfilling prophecy or virtuous circle - if I decide to be relaxed and less stressed about flight delays or cancellations, and act accordingly, it actually works to make me feel less stressed or upset. Acting as though it is ok makes it actually ok.

On your other tip, though, I've found it challenging, since leaving the next day puts you more at risk of missing the meeting, conference, whatever it is you are travelling too - I agree with the principle, but find sometimes it is more easy-on-the-mind to get there the night before and not have to worry about the flight being cancelled or delayed.

Kevin Gamble said...

Great comments John! Thank you.

There are certainly situational considerations to take into account in regard to making the decision of whether to go or not. My wives recent decision to not fly until the next day had her arriving 3 hours later than she would have had she not stayed home.

I also find that missing an occasional meeting isn't the worst thing in the world. Life does go on. :) But,I do agree with you though that arriving earlier at the conference or meeting does lead to less stress, and it is something I do quite often.