I have a brilliant co-worker named Lori. While most people spend their free time after work going to the gym, quilting, reading, or raking the leaves, Lori practices Veterinary Medicine, reads French Poetry, or cultivates an unbelievable garden. She’s incredible; 50 hours per week as a technical trainer for database applications, then operating on the zoo’s tiger on a Saturday. If Lori has an Achilles however; it would lie in her grasp of a traveler’s common sense. Poor Lori recently got beaten up pretty severely by the travel gods and a lot of it could have been avoided.
Here’s the timeline of what happened:
– She was scheduled to fly from
Minneapolisto Dulles airport in . Her departure was scheduled for 1:00pm. Richmond Virginia
– She arrived at the MSP airport and her flight was cancelled. The following flight was cancelled as well.
– Lacking confidence in the last direct flight of the day, she took the option when they offered her a flight that routed her through NYC before arriving at Dulles.
Now, I applauded her for this. Having been to
– Flight delays made her late to the JFK but fortunately she made it in time for the connection. It turns out that she needn’t have hurried; because her connecting flight was delayed, and delayed again, and ultimately cancelled.
– It is now 9:00pm in
New York, 12 hours prior to her commitment to teach a full class of people in . Virginia
At this point, I would have pulled up the internet and checked the train schedule. “Train?” you ask, “Yes, TRAIN!” I say. There is an express train from NYC to
She was a “zone” though. A horrible zone inflicted by the airline where she’d been so beaten up by their ineptitude that she was floating like a zombie through their procedural maze. Let’s see the end of her story:
– They sent her to rebook her flight and then decided instead to bus her the 6 hours from NYC to Dulles. (Yes, “bus.” As in stinky, slow, diesel, bus). Two hours later, the bus arrived at JFK and she and her fellow trodden travelers all piled on, mindful that her 9am goal was now dashed.
– 4 1/2 hours into the trip the bus broke down. The driver managed to limp into a gas station and started to repair the broken fan belt with bungee cords (not a bright man).
– Finally, Lori decides to jump ship. She called for a cab, but the cab company didn’t believe her. It took an hour of calling and waiting before a cab was dispatched. After limping around an accident and enduring some traffic, Lori eventually arrived at her hotel 27 hours after her departure from MSP.
My advice to you, fellow traveler, is to stay aware of where you are and of all of your options. The more important your deadline is, the more options you need to give yourself!