Things To Be Thankful For

Even when a perfectly scheduled day-trip spirals into an overnight stay in the wintery Windy City

A seamless air travel itinerary that operates as scheduled can still generate stress within some people.  Interrupt their regularly scheduled programs with delays or cancellations; an array of behavior will appear.

I recently experienced my own perfect storm in which a comfortably scheduled travel schedule was suddenly disrupted by a flight cancellation preceded by subsequent flight delays that caused my easy day-trip filled with numerous business meetings to spiral into a dreaded overnight stay in the wintery Windy City.

Disappointment was an understatement.

Resentment began to rage within me.  I felt it.  My temperature rose as I recalled my 4:30am departure from family and our warm home morning to then be stranded.

Disappointment was definitely an understatement.

Processing that frustrating reality, I realized that I had to shutdown the alarm going off within me. I had to stop the rage that began to brew.

I had to face the fact of my new reality.

Things To Be Thankful For

At the point of finally calming down enough to truly process the events and to realize that I was not going home that night, I knew I had to redirect my mind toward the positive.  For my own sanity, I had to focus.

Plan ahead. The wintery forecast had prompted me to prepare for a possible delay. An interruption was likely, so I was thankful that I had chosen to pack a few toiletries and some under clothes, just in case.

Pack light.  There was definitely a benefit to my packing lightly for that day trip. Rebooking the multiple flights with checked luggage would have added much more stress to the situation.

Review the options. My final flight was delayed and that delay would very likely have caused a missed connection in another city further from home.  But still, I had options.

At the very worst, my team could have chosen to rent a car and make the 8-10 hours drive home along the snowy roads.

Or similarly, we could have boarded that delayed flight onto Washington, D.C. to immediately take a train to Baltimore, MD, find a hotel, and return to the airport the following morning to have access more direct flight options.

Though these available options were not the most desired choices, we did have choices.

For my trip, my team members chose to remain in Chicago and rescheduled our flights to depart first thing the next morning from O’Hare.  After that was finally decided, we quickly searched and found a special sales price for rooms at a nearby hotel using Travelocity. We contacted the hotel’s shuttle and headed to our overnight stay. 

Thoughtful Perspective

Arriving to the airport at 5:30am the next morning, I was greeted by a large dose of perspective, which awaited me through the security gate.

Two families with small children were there.  Each family a result of what appeared to have been interruptions in their previous day’s travel as well:

A young mother, alone with her infant strapped to her chest and a toddler.

A young father, also alone with two toddlers and a stroller.

Watching each of these parents calmly navigate their young families down the terminal, I became even more thankful. I realized the previous day’s travel mishap could have definitely been much more stressful if I was also having to care for my family.

My own travel experience no longer seemed so bad.

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In response to the announcement that over 2,600 flights had been canceled this week due to winter weather, CNN.com just published 8 ways to ease winter travel woes that I trust will provide some valuable reminder and information to you as well.