August 26, 2012
Sometimes the best laid plans can go right off the rails. Travel today seems to be fraught with problems and delays, and it takes a certain kind of fortitude to navigate past the obstacles.
This cruise adventure – a sailing from Istanbul to Athens with Voyages to Antiquity- has been planned for some time. We thought we had taken care of every detail and we had double checked everything. But who can prepare for “mechanical failure”? And who can foretell the consequences that delay will put in play?
Our outgoing flight to Frankfurt was delayed by three hours because of mechanical problems that required a change of planes. The delay was not posted ahead of time, so we arrived at the airport early and ended up waiting for hours. Then our connecting flight to Istanbul was missed and we ended up in the middle of 300 people who needed to make new flight plans.
It was pretty crazy. We finally got a seat on another flight, but it didn’t leave until ten in the evening, which meant more long hours in the airport, and a 3 a.m. arrival in the airport in Istanbul.
My advice when this happens? Relax. Take a deep breath, make a new plan and squeeze as much pleasure out of the situation as you can. The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing you can do to change things, and getting heated up and angry will only hurt one person — you.
Ask the desk attendant for food vouchers if your plane is delayed. Most airlines provide these, but you often have to ask. In our long wait in Frankfurt, we had 30 euros to spend and found a good bistro type place with big windows looking out over the runway. We had sausages and sauerkraut and a few glasses of cold local beer. My husband chatted up a fellow diner who turned out to be an excellent conversationalist. The waiter was from Turkey, and he gave us insider tips about Istanbul. There was a pretty sunset. So it wasn’t so bad at all.
Some of the people trying to get new travel arrangements got angry, and directed their anger at the ladies from Lufthansa who were working to make the new arrangements. It struck me as so unfair, as these nice ladies obviously had nothing to do with the original delay. I think , also, that people are more willing to do their best for you if you display good manners.
We dropped our poor tired bodies into our hotel bed around 4 a.m., tired, but somehow philosophical. We are frequent travelers, and the law of averages means we will encounter travel troubles on some of our travels.
I believe that if you keep calm, take a deep breath and try to make the best of it, travel woes will be easier to survive with your good humor intact.