How do you handle delays? Do you feel frustrated and impatient? Do you get angry? How do you handle when unpleasant occurrences happen? What do you spend your time doing during delays? In this blog, I am sharing about a recent short work trip that I was on and the incredible amount of delays and some unpleasantries that occurred as an example.
This particular work trip was to be a three day trip. I drove to the airport and checked in at the counter after a significant long wait at the ticket counter. After I was checked in, then I waited in another long line to get through security. I quickly stopped in to grab a bottle of water. I knew that I had to hurry as the long lines did not leave me with much time to get to my gate.
When it was time to board then I was back in line to get on the plane. Once on the plane, I tried to get organized with my laptop and ipad. We were close to the time that the plane should began moving down the runway when a strange announcement came across the plane. “This is your pilot, and I need to tell you that the plane is broke. The plane has a hole in it, and I have talked to the ground crew, and it will take approximately 2 ½ hours to fix it.” There was a wide range of emotions expressed from those around me after this announcement was made ranging from laughter at the pilot’s choice of words to frustration and anger.
I think in that moment I was primarily feeling some anxiety as I knew that would make me miss my connecting flight. I only had an hour at the next airport, and I had quickly calculated from the pilot’s announcement that I would need a new connecting flight in order to reach my destination.
The flight attendants began having us deplane. Once I got off the plane, I made my way quickly to the long line that had already formed at the counter. Clearly, many others were concerned about their own connecting flights as there were already many people waiting in the line. I got in line and prayed for a good connection option in order to make my work meetings. I had many people in front of me. As the line slowly crawled forward, I was again surrounded with people expressing a wide variety of emotions. I tried to use my time standing in the line to answer work calls, texts, and emails. It was the middle of the work day; therefore, there was plenty for me to do as I continued to inch my way closer to the front.
After an hour and 30 minutes, I was almost to the front of the line with only two people in front of me. I was getting excited as I could hear the airline employees finding many others connecting flights, and I was anticipating that they would do the same for me. Just then one of the workers made an announcement. She said, “The plane is now fixed, and we must get you back on the plane. Therefore, we will not be helping anyone else, and you will have to get your new connecting flight once you arrive at the next airport.”
I definitely felt discouraged at that announcement. After 90 minutes of standing in that line then I had hoped to go back on the plane with my next flight settled; however, there was nothing I could do to change her mind. I prayed for a good connecting flight to be found when I got to the next airport. I settled back into my seat as the pilot clarified his previous statement that he had made before we got off the plane. He said, “We did not have a hole in the outside of the plane. The hole was located in some tubing (He gave a technical name that I do not remember.) and everything is completely fixed now. Some people again reacted with laughter and others reacted with anger and frustration. After that, the flight was uneventful, and we safely made it to our destination. Once I was able to deplane, then the race began. My connecting flight had left 30 minutes prior to our arrival. I went from one counter to the next trying to find someone to help me. They would not. Each worker continued to send me further down the halls to a place that they called the Delta hub. They said that once I got to the hub that I was to pick up one of the phones and that a Delta worker would assist me. I ran down the halls to find the hub. Once I located it, then a friendly worker helped me to find a new connecting flight. I was thankful that one was found and ran back down the halls to get the gate as it was to be leaving soon.
I was back in line after I arrived at the gate as I needed them to print a boarding pass for this flight. Severe storms had just come through the area which had their computers out. Once it was my turn, I was trying to work with a very frustrated worker that was unsure what was going to happen due to the computer issues. An announcement came that said there was a technical issue occurring and that we would experience a delay. I continued to wait at the counter. A lady behind me was very angry. I continued to wait. The lady shifted me over to a different area and said to wait there. After a short time the technical issue became resolved, and they began boarding. I continued to wait. Finally, a different worker spoke with me and resolved the issue. As I got to my seat and settled in for the next flight, then I felt extremely thankful for the connecting flight. I was simultaneously feeling very concerned about my luggage and wondering if it would make it to where I was going with the change.
When I arrived at the airport, I was so exhausted but could not wait to get to the hotel. My luggage arrived with our flight, and I was grateful. I rode the airbus to the rental car place, and after receiving my car then I drove to the hotel. I could not wait to get to sleep as the day had been long. Everything worked out, and I was thankful that I would be able to get to my early morning meetings. After I checked in to my room, then I immediately noticed the warmth of the room and went to work on the air. It would not work. I was too tired to change rooms and just wanted to try to sleep for a few hours before I would have to get up and be ready for my meetings. I was trying to work on closing the curtains completely as I was on the first floor of the hotel; however, they would not close leaving a gap for someone to look in. I convinced myself that it was not necessary to change rooms as no one would be able to see anything when I had it completely dark. I went over to the bed and pulled back the covers. Guess what? The bed was crawling with ants. This would not work. I was going to have to change rooms after all. By the time I got to go to bed, then I was so tired. I was excited to be able to sleep for a few hours.
The next day went well. Everything went great with my meetings, and I felt so relaxed as I was not experiencing any delays or unpleasantries that I had encountered the day before. The next day I had more meetings, and everything went well. When it was time to go to the airport, then I was hopeful that all would go well! After all, I just had one flight that was direct to my destination. When I got to the gate, then an announcement came that we were delayed due to a technical issue. I settled in to a chair with my laptop and my phones and worked on returning emails and calls for work. After awhile another announcement was made that stated that the technical issue was fixed, and it was time to board. Once we were all on the plane then we spent some time waiting, and the flight attendant looked as if she was pacing. I was forced to check my computer bag along with my suitcase as the plane was small. They stated that they had to check it when I was checking in. I kept my laptop and ipad out for the plane and had the rest of my work items and paperwork in that bag.
We continued to wait. The flight attendant made an announcement. “The pilot is missing ” she said. Everyone started to murmur, “Missing! What does that mean?” She continued to talk and said that we would be delayed but did not have a timeline. I burst out laughing. I could not help it. My mind could not even believe how many delays and issues had surfaced. I did not know what else to do but laugh. We waited and we waited. At last she received some communication over the phone, and she made another announcement. “The pilot has been found; however, we are unsure when he will arrive at this flight. He was on another flight that was delayed.” At first, she was going to deplane us. Some discussion occurred with a few passengers, and she made another announcement that some passengers requested to stay on the plane. She asked for a majority vote. Most passengers indicated that they wanted to wait on the plane. She then announced that we would not be leaving the plane.
We waited about an hour and everyone clapped for the pilot as he walked onto the plane. When we arrived back at the airport then I spent approximately an hour waiting for my luggage to come out. With this airport, then I am used to long delays in receiving my luggage so I did not think anything about it. However, when a gentleman came to began taking the suitcases off the belt then I became concerned. There was a group of us left from my flight that were still waiting after an hour. I asked the man where the rest of our luggage was. He directed us to United’s office and said that we would need to make a report to them. I burst out laughing again. How could my luggage be lost now? I was concerned on the way there with the chaos but this time I was just not even concerned about it. The man beside me asked me what was so funny? Was I not mad?
I looked at him and tried to answer in between my laughter. I told him that I had experienced so many delays and issues on the travel of this trip that I did not know what else to do but laugh. By this time we had walked over to our next line to the office to report our missing luggage. A lady came behind us in the line and informed me, “Honey, I don’t know what you are laughing about, but I am ready for this United worker.” I just smiled and kept laughing. At this point, I was so tired. When I got to the front of the line, then the worker told me after I completed my paperwork that they would drive my luggage to my house once it arrived. They said that they would call me. The worker apologized to me. I said to her, “I know it is not your fault. Thanks for the help.” The lady behind me looked at me crazy and loudly said, “What!” I just smiled as I walked away and told her to have a good night.
On the way home, I had to stop and buy a few items like contact solution and case, etc. I was pretty bummed that my glasses were in my suitcase along with a whole variety of items. That night when I got home, I called the help line which informed me that they were trying to locate my luggage. I called three times the next day and received the same news. The next day I also called three times. The last call was finally different. On this call, they informed me that my luggage was found and that when it arrived at the airport that they would drive it to my house. I was happy as I was beginning to wonder if I would get it back. I heard nothing more from them that night. The next morning was Monday, and I had to get back to work. I called and asked them when they were bringing it as I heard nothing the night before. They said that they had a delay, but they would start driving at 9:30 am. I told them that I would be at work and gave them my work number. I went to work, and later called them to check on how everything was going as again I heard nothing from them. This had now turned into a 3 day delay on getting my luggage back. When I called that time then I was informed that they were 4-5 days behind and that maybe I would receive my luggage by Friday. I could not even believe what I was hearing. I informed them that I would be driving to get it. I drove the 2 hours to the airport to pick up my luggage. I was able to quickly get my luggage and then drive the 2 hours again back home. I could not even believe the trip that I had. Talk about delays and unpleasantries!
It is always interesting to stand in long lines or sit with others while you wait. It is fascinating to listen to those around you. Some people find joy in the moments and enjoy the people that they are with. Some people increase their feelings of frustration as they focus on the amount of time they are “losing” as they wait. There are always many reactions. I know that throughout this trip that I could have had a variety of reactions. How do you handle those times in your life when you are waiting? How do you handle delays? How do you handle unpleasantries like ants in your bed or lost luggage? This trip seemed to bless me with lots of opportunities to see how I was going to be handling these things.
Sometimes in our lives when we experience delays or unpleasantries then we get so focused on those things that we waste that time that we could be using for other things. Sometimes we let delays or unpleasantries steal our joy. On this particular work trip then most of my delay time, I used to complete work items that needed to be done. For the most part, my attitude stayed in check with the exception of some anxiety and some frustration over my luggage delay. Let’s challenge ourselves to use those delays to be in the moment and to use that time for good. Let’s challenge ourselves to not let life’s unpleasantries have the option to steal our joy. I am accepting the challenge… will you join me?
“Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of the opportunity when it occurs.” Mario Andretti
“God’s time is always perfect. Trust His delays. He’s got you.” Tony Evans
“You have been praying for a breakthrough, and it seems like it’s delaying. Despair begins to fill your heart, but I pray that God will grant you strength in the face of adversity. May the spirit of discouragement be broken. Your breakthrough may delay but you will not be denied.” Pastor Mensa Oabil