Put me in any seat on a plane — yes, even a seat in coach — and I’ll be relaxed. Once my phone goes off, my headphones go on, and I watch the same episode of The Big Bang Theory for the eighth time, life is good.
Well, I just got back from a trip to New York with my parents and decided to fly United through Washington Dulles. Admittedly it’s not the most direct routing, but it was the cheapest ticket, I get high baggage allowances, and the miles aren’t bad either.
Every once in a while I travel with my parents, though it’s mostly in international first class on award tickets. Yes, they have it good. I do the redeye-filled domestic flying, and they do the redeye-filled international first class flying. Heck, I’m pretty sure every second security checkpoint they go through is in the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt. So that makes flying quite tolerable, when we’re each cocooned away in our own suites.
But gosh, I was legitimately stressed after flying two segments totaling 1,000 miles this past week. And now I can once again appreciate the beauty of flying alone or with very frequent travelers.
Now I shouldn’t get frustrated, but when you do the same thing often enough, the questions that used to seem normal start to sound stupid, like questions about taking off shoes, taking liquids out of bags, when they can put away their ID, whether they need their ID to board the plane, etc.
I did my best to guide them through everything and I think I did a pretty decent job. They were rather mystified at the concept of us getting our bags when we landed at LGA after leaving them plane side at Dulles. The endless questions about the bags almost got to me.
And don’t even get me started on the return, when our flight from LGA to IAD was canceled due to weather. Fortunately we got rebooked on a flight out of JFK connecting to the same flight, but that didn’t prevent utter panic on the part of my dad. Now I do take a pretty grim outlook on things when I have an hour layover at Dulles arriving on a regional jet from New York, there’s low visibility in New York, and I’m flying an airline that doesn’t have a very good on time record. But then again, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from flying like a crazy person, it’s that there’s no benefit to stressing out. Take things as they come.
But my dad had a mind of his own — “what if our flight is delayed?” Well, then it’ll be delayed. “What if we miss our connection?” Well, then we miss our connection. “What’s going to happen to our checked bag if we miss our connection?” Well, it kind of depends.
I can’t even imagine how tough it is traveling with young kids. I salute you guys…