Thursday, June 07, 2012
Planes, Dogs and Automobiles
Life can be an adventure. My trek home for Boston this week was not without incident, but it was certainly interesting.
The first leg of the flight from Boston to Dallas was that I traveled next to a carry on dog. "Shorty" was a very cute King Charles Spaniel who was going with her owners to Seattle. She was placed under the seat in front, but it was best when she made a few appearances (see above photo).
The plane was in a holding pattern for over an hour because of bad weather in Dallas, making the four hour flight seem like forever. Thunderstorms had closed the DFW airport and cause several flights to be diverted, delayed and canceled. My connecting flight home was among the canceled.
While I travel regularly as a professional speaker, I honestly do not think I have ever had a flight canceled. I have had all types of delays, but never been fully stranded. While there were three other flights scheduled that night, there had been one other flight to Austin canceled earlier, placing me at number 73 on the standby list. The 9 PM, 10 PM, and 11 PM flights were already full... so I was unsure of if I would get home.
It was interesting to see how my fellow travelers reacted to the situation. While all were frustrated, some were down right nasty to the airline staff and the other passengers. Lines were long and some clearly just blew past lines to ask questions. The best was the woman who pretended she did no see the line of 40 people when she walked directly up to the counter. You can imagine the names people called her.
At one point an enterprising young engineer, Aaron, (from National Instruments) loudly announced that he had rented a car from Hertz and was driving to Austin and wanted three others to split the cost of the car and gas. I said "I'm in". Two others also joined our rag-tag group of strangers (Think "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"). I like engineers, as they are natural problem solvers. Hundreds of stranded travelers and he took action and discovered a solution for himself and a few others.
By 9:45 we were on the highway driving through more heavy rain (Thanks to Aaron, who did the driving). By Waco the rain was gone (it never rains any more near Austin!). I kept pace of the three remaining outbound flights through my iPhone Airline App. The 9 PM flight never left Dallas until 1:15 AM. The other two flights both canceled. We were back at the airport (after dropping the other two passengers off at their homes) as the only flight out lifted off and I was home in bed before it landed.
Clearly one of my more unique days of travel. Very nice people. Interesting conversations. And a new appreciation for how people deal with situations over which they have no control. Those who yelled and were pissy did not get home any faster than those who sought other options.
But I do wonder if "Shorty" ever made it to Seattle last night?
Have A Great Day.