Flights and Frustration
Oh, don’t worry! By this title, you might think I’m getting ready to vent about delayed flights or lost luggage or the like. Negative. But, before I get into the meat of this notion, let me pose a question to ya:
Ever had your day totally ruined by one person’s comment? Could have been someone who just looked at you crossways. Or maybe it was a partner or spouse who complained about something you did. Or a cashier who acted like your patronage was just the biggest thorn in his/her side. But, c’mon, admit it, the actions of others sometimes have negative impact on our days, right? Unless you have incredibly thick skin, I’ll wager a shiny nickle you’ve walked away from an encounter hurt and angry and saying, “What did I do to deserve that?”
A few weeks ago, I did have a delayed flight. For five hours, but who’s counting, right? Again, I’m not complaining here, just stating fact. And observation.
I’m totally spitballing at this stat, but I would think 50% of people on airplanes are not frequent flyers. I could look up the real stats on this, but I’m lazy. And it’s not the point.
Just like anything, if you’re not used to it, an event can be uncomfortable. And nerve racking. And maybe a little scary. And, if nothing else, time consuming.
You’re catching a flight. You don’t know the airport. You don’t know when you need your I.D. and/or boarding pass. Heck, you may not know that a boarding pass is the same thing as a ticket. And you don’t know where to take your luggage to get it checked. And you don’t know how much it’s going to cost. And you’re unclear about the overhead announcements about liquids and gels having to be in a Ziploc bag. And under three ounces? But, you’ve got a 12 oz. bottle of mouthwash in your luggage. And it’s not in a Ziploc. And does it have to be a Ziploc brand plastic bag? And you don’t know exactly how to go through security. Do I have to take my shoes off? Everything out of pockets? Can I keep my boarding pass in my pocket? Do I have to take off my hat? My glasses have metal in them, will it set off the alarm? I’m not a terrorist, but the TSA agent is looking at me weird, like I’m trying to hide something.
Confusing? Yes. And, I’d think of the folks who don’t do this every week, month or year, by the time you actually get on the plane, you’re frazzled. And, if there’s a delay? OMG! Stress and frustration are as high as Everest!
So, back to my five hour delay. When we got on the plane, the flight attendant greeting everyone just couldn’t have been more pleasant. She said hi to everyone as they got on, apologized for the delay and said she’d do whatever she could to make it up to passengers.
Was the delay her fault? No. Did she like waiting for them to bring in another plane due to mechanical issues? No. Did it add an extra five hours to her work day? Yes. And still? She was courteous and pleasant and it was not her fault. Yet? Passengers still got on the plane and, after being greeted so sweet like, just berated this flight attendant. I felt horrible for her. I wanted to smack the other passengers and show them how ridiculous they were being. And yet? The flight attendant could do nothing but keep apologizing and promise they were going as fast as they could. If this flight attendant got rattled, she sure didn’t show it. I really admire her. Seriously, I’m not a fan of this airline, but this flight attendant was the bomb for her ability to NOT take things personally.
Know who this reminds me of? Nurses. They work 8 or 12 hour shifts, usually on their feet the whole time. They are taking care of people at their worst. People who are vulnerable, hurting and potentially on lots of pain killers. They get talked down to, complained to and, often, disrespected by someone who is in a losing situation…just like we were on this delayed flight. And still? Nurses keep that compassion going, letting insults and curses run off their back like they’re nothing. Keeping that calm, pleasant demeanor and NOT getting rattled by people who are in a losing situation is so, so admirable. Thank you, nurses, thank you, flight attendants, for not allowing the bad days of others to effect your care and customer service.