PDX // 5 Things You Can Learn From Flight Delays

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Sunday, March 02, 2014
Flight delays can make or break you.  Sometimes the people you're traveling with get cranky, the food is ridiculously expensive, and airports somehow refuse to invest in truly comfortable chairs for the waiting areas.  The problems with our flight happened slowly, starting with a slight delay in our first flight to Las Vegas and some mild turbulence once we got in the air, and then all at once once we landed.

Our connecting flight to Portland was originally delayed for only an hour but as time went on, our departure time kept getting pushed back further and further.  Six hours later, we were still waiting to figure out what was happening and the crowd was getting restless.  First, it seemed we had an aircraft and no crew, then we had a huge crew and no aircraft. There were rumblings of weather delays and a canceled flight from San Diego that was causing all of the problem for us.  Finally, around two in the morning the flight-gods decided to officially cancel the flight causing all of our plans for a fun Saturday in Portland to slowly dissolve - no Saturday market, no VooDoo Doughnuts for breakfast, no comfy hotel room in Portland to rest our heads in.

While initially we were feeling discouraged and almost threw in the towel and settled for an (expensive!) excursion into Las Vegas.  (What a huge sacrifice, right?  Not.)  Instead we took a moment to aire our woes, regrouped, made a new plan, and learned some lessons along the way.

ONE // AIRPORTS ARE DEAD BETWEEN TWO AND SIX IN THE MORNING
Once everyone from our canceled flight had calmed down and made alternative plans for the night, the airport completely emptied out.  The halls were empty and everything was so quiet.  There were no planes coming in or out and the only people up and moving around were the cleaning staff going about their duties.  It was almost surreal to be there during what felt like "after hours", but there was almost a feeling of camaraderie among all of the stranded passengers.  We might have been stuck there, but we were stuck here together waiting for our next chance to get where we needed to go.

TWO // YOU CAN SLEEP ANYWHERE - GET CREATIVE
Since we had been traveling since one in the afternoon Eastern time, my crew was already running on fumes by two in the morning, Pacific Time (five in the morning for us!).  We were exhausted, slap happy, and desperate to just rest our eyes, and so was everyone else in the airport.  I saw some very creative approaches to sleeping during those early hours of the morning.  People camped out in between kiosks, along the walls while cradling their charging smartphones, on two rows of seats pulled together - you name it, someone found a way to sleep on it.  I, myself, opted first for leaning on a table, then gave in to the (dis)comfort of the floor.

THREE // NOTHING BEATS A LATTE AND A FRESH PAIR OF PANTS
After a few hours of struggling to stay positive in a pretty terrible situation and maybe thirty minutes of actual sleep, sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective.  For me, grabbing a strong vanilla latte and a bagel and changing into some fresh clothes was a huge comfort and ultimately a pretty great reset button for the trip.  Feeling more comfortable and falling back into a familiar pattern of getting ready for the day helped me to feel less like a grumpy passenger and more like a normal person.

FOUR // SOMETIMES YOU WAKE UP IN A MORE BEAUTIFUL PLACE
I knew we were in Las Vegas, obviously because that's what our tickets said and we flew right over the strip the night before.  But having never been to Las Vegas before, nothing prepared me for the beautiful view of the Spring Mountains directly outside the windows at our gate the morning after the flight fiasco.  We were blessed with an amazing view of the whole mountain range as they slowly were drenched in the first morning light.  Had our flight not been delayed and ultimately cancelled we never would have seen this gorgeous sight.  I'm counting that as a win.



FIVE // (EVENTUALLY) EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY
As I draft this post, we are sitting at our gate waiting for our flight to actually finish our journey and get closer to our destination.  While things haven't gone quite as we had originally planned, the flight delay has given us an opportunity to add another fun leg of the journey to our trip - driving along the Oregon Trail!  Hopefully our oxen won't die on us and we won't run out of food or die from a broken leg. (Anyone else still geek out about the old Oregon Trail computer game?)  The biggest lesson we can learn from this situation is that eventually it will all work out.  There's no need to get worked up - things happen and usually they are completely out of your control.  Roll with the punches, regroup, and always try to see the upside.
1 comment on "PDX // 5 Things You Can Learn From Flight Delays"
  1. I love your positive attitude. Hope the rest of your trip goes much smoother though :)

    ReplyDelete

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