Picture this. You’re at your connecting flights airport. Experiencing delay after delay. You’re there because you’re flying into a city to meet up with your sibling who lives in another state. You’re going to an event that night and are incredibly excited.
You’ve been delayed again and you’re growing increasingly frustrated. It’s weather related. Your siblings flight just got canceled. This trip is not going to happen.
Oh, and it’s your birthday.
Your frustration and disappointment is valid and because of this, you’re finding it hard to show kindness and patience to the ones around you. When you go up to the gate counter to chat with the airline employee, you take a deep breath and explain your situation.
They are nothing but kind and helpful.
You’re switched to a different flight going to where your sibling lives. Not the birthday you expected, but still better than going home and doing nothing. Once you get down to your new gate, you exhale slowly, feeling better about everything. Checking the gate monitor to see if your flight is on time, you look down to your previous flight and see it was canceled. You think, “wow, lucky timing for me. I didn’t even have to wait in a line with other frustrated travelers.”
Your new flight is delayed, but not for long. You go up to the counter to just ask a few questions about when landed in the other airport, what gate I would land at, so I could let my ride know.
The airline employee is kind, helpful, and understanding.
You’re finally on the plane, settled in, and notice you’ve been sitting at the gate for a long time. The pilot comes on the speaker to let everyone know we’re just waiting for a car to push the plane back from the gate. 20 minutes later and we’re backing out. Then you notice, we continue to sit just feet from the gate. After another 30 minutes passes you’re informed the plane has to go back to the gate and let someone off. Everyone sighs in frustration.
Finally, a new flight attendant is on your plane, you’re backing out of the gate, and starting to make your way to the runway. You take off and your travel day is coming to a close.
The flight attendants start serving drinks and snacks. You’ve decided since it’s your birthday you’re going to treat yourself to some wine on the plane. You overhear the flight attendant telling the people ahead of you that it’s been a stressful day and she’s cried in the bathroom twice.
She’s still smiling though and taking deep breaths.
She comes up to you and asks what you’d like. You’re almost in tears because you’re so excited to be on the home stretch and getting wine (yes, the wine is bringing you to tears). You say “I’ll take a red blend because I’ve decided sitting in an airport all day on your birthday earns you some wine.” She wishes you a happy birthday and tells you this one is on her, because no one should have a birthday like that. You bond over how you’ve both cried twice that day.
She smiles, does her job, and everyone on the flight wishes they could buy her a drink.
I’ve never met anyone who can honestly tell me they’ve had flawless travel days. However, I can confidently say I experience frustrating travel days more than the average person. This was by far one of the most irritating and exhausting experiences yet. And yes, it was my birthday.
Yet, as I sat there pitying myself for being alone on my birthday in the Boston airport, something came over me during my last flight to make me realize, bad travel days aren’t just bad for the travelers; They’re bad for every single airport and airline employee.
Each employee I interacted with that day kept a smile on their face, even when their eyes showed their stress. Their patience was abundant and their kindness didn’t go unnoticed.
People are quick to find an airline/airport employee and take their frustrations out on them. And I’m here to tell you – that’s not okay. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen people sternly talking to or yelling at airline employees. Because the person missed their flight, or their flight is delayed, or canceled. And guess what, those people are met with colder responses because who wants to help someone being mean? I sure don’t.
Kindness will take you miles farther than anger. Be kind to airline employees. Show the patience they show you. Think of the stress they’re under whenever a flights delayed. They want your travel day to be as flawless as you do – if not more so.
Be patient, be kind, and have safe travels,
P.S. Massive shout out to jetBlue for having some of the most kind and patient employee’s I’ve ever experienced. I love you.
P.P.S. This was supposed to be posted last week – so this week you get two posts. You’re welcome?