Fear of Flying – A Glass is Half Full Approach

January 30, 2012 / 3 Comments

Can’t beat the view at Boston’s Logan Airport.

My friend and fellow aviation and travel writer Harriet Baskas reports on a survey that shows the majority of travelers think air travel is stressful. Not exactly surprising news, but the results of the HNTB study could help the aviation industry enhance how it interacts with its customers, which I suppose is the goal.

Hurry up and wait is common at most airports.

What ticks travelers off? Oh, you know, the obvious: invasive security, long lines to check bags, that sort of thing.

Here at GO HOW, I’m proposing that we take a glass-is-half-full approach to getting where we’re going by concentrating on all the great experiences we have in transit because I know we have them. So, with this post, I’m asking you to contribute your stories of unexpected delights you have experienced along the way, which I will publish here in the future.

To encourage you to sit down and send your favorite “It happened to me while flying” story, I will award a great prize – a cherry red, Ethiopian Airways business class amenity kit – to the person who contributes the very best tale. Send your story to me at . (You are welcome to, but you don’t need to send any photographs, your story will do.)

I’ll start.

Several years ago my friend Darren Gaines was visiting in Connecticut and we were going to travel together to Washington to attend the ISASI annual dinner. Wanting to show him the beautiful beach in my community, I stopped by the inn where he was staying and took him for a walk along the Long Island Sound. But I misjudged the time and as a result we were very late getting to the airport. Don’t you know, we missed our flight.

With Darren at an ISASI meeting in Florida.

Well, 99.9% of the time that means eating the ticket and buying a new one, but on this day in May, the sun was shining over the heads of both Darren and the Delta ticket agent who waited on us. With a drawl that cannot be native to the town in Ohio where Darren lives, he explained our situation to the woman behind the desk and she promptly booked us on the next flight to Dulles, no charge, no lecture, no problem.

Darren and I made our way to the gate, boarded the plane and were on our way as if I had not totally screwed up. An earth-shattering, life-altering experience? Nope, but the kind that can turn the sunshine on full blast for the rest of the day and serve as a reminder that an airline cannot exist without planes and airports and complex ticketing systems no more than it can exist without the traveler.

That ticket agent got that. And so too, did the airline that made it possible for her to push a few buttons and re-accommodate us hassle-free. For this, Delta Air Lines deserves a prize, but they’ve already got amenity kits.

That’s my story. What’s yours?

Send your story to 

Categories: Go How Know How, North America, Travel by Air

3 responses to “Fear of Flying – A Glass is Half Full Approach”

  1. Sabah Allen says:

    Christine, my dearest friend 🙂 I like your ” a glass is half full approach” . So next timwe I ” need ” to travel, I will remember to look at the bottom half of the glass 😀 😀

  2. Lee says:

    In transit through heathrow airport in London a few years ago, the security lines were hours long — seriously. Also, I could see that both the passengers and the security employees were in foul moods. I thought I’d kill an hour in duty free waiting for the line to get shorter. At the Harrods, wouldn’t you know they offered a Valentino crystal bracelet for about 1/3 of regular retail. I took advantage of the bargain, got back into a much shorter security line, and scored one of my all-time favorite pieces of jewelry.

  3. Catherine says:

    I have to offer a big kudos to an American Airlines ticket agent working at ATL on March 7, 2010. I had saved up for a Hawaiian vacation for my birthday and then, due to my own stupidity, got to the airport at 8:00 for an 8:20 flight on a Saturday morning.

    After I just shook my head at the idea of gate checking the bag — I’d never get through security and to the gate in time, not at ATL, and I knew it — she worked for a solid hour to get me rebooked so I didn’t have to go back home and take the next day’s flight. I finally had to tell her to stop and give me whatever she found; it turned out she had been desperately trying to keep me from having to spend the night somewhere even though it the whole situation was my own bleeping fault to begin with.

    Then, she only charged me rebooking fees. I was expecting to have to eat the entire ticket which would have meant no vacation (I couldn’t afford the replacement ticket). I think she felt sorry for me, but in the end I made it to Hawaii and had a great time.

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