Monday, August 6, 2012

Missed planes and learned lessons

By Amy Char (San Francisco, CA)

My flight to SJP departed from San Francisco International Airport at 10:48 a.m. on a surprisingly clear and fog-free morning. I even had a flight buddy—Makenna May from Idaho—with whom I had bonded earlier after we discovered a shared love for pineapples and the New Zealand Indie pop band, The Naked and Famous. We had been emailing each other for a month before the program began, so I was looking forward to meeting her at the gate.

Too bad the flight took off without me on board.

I was still in the check-in line when my plane left. The self check-in line was longer than I had ever seen it. Several travelers who apparently did not know how to use the machines held up the line. Frustrated, I joined a group of unhappy travelers as we trekked to United’s “additional services” line to rebook our flights.

I can’t lie: the ordeal was stressful. But as I waited in another never-ending line, I realized it was a valuable learning experience. “Expect the unexpected,” people say. Most importantly, I realized how awfully people treat airport employees. I missed my flight for a number of reasons but I couldn’t take out my anger on the employee behind the desk and start complaining and swearing like a sailor. I was polite, remembering the Golden Rule, and the employee rebooked my flight for free, waiving the $75 charge. Luckily, my second flight departed at 3:48 p.m. I managed to stay sane during my five-hour delay after I made a trip to In-N-Out Burger for brunch.

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