Fear of Flying – A Glass is Half Full Approach

January 30, 2012 / 3 Comments

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.

What ticks travelers off? Oh, you know, the obvious; invasive security, long lines to check bags, that sort of thing.
Here at FLYING LESSONS, 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 pleasant surprises you have experienced in your travels by air, which I will publish in a future post.

To encourage you to sit down and send your favorite “It happened to me while flying” story, I will award a really great prize – a cherry red, Ethiopian Airways business class amenity kit – to the person who tells 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 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.

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 deserves a prize, but they’ve already got amenity kits.

That’s my story. What’s yours?

Send it to .

Categories: Flying Lessons, Uncategorized
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3 responses to “Fear of Flying – A Glass is Half Full Approach”

  1. Rakesh says:

    wow! Great nice blog.

  2. Christine

    Great idea!! I look forward to reading everyone's stories!!

  3. Cedarglen says:

    This is old and I understand that I may not be seen, but I still have to write. Flying it self is not stressful for me, perhaps even pleasant. However… Getting to the runway threshold is a whole different ball game. I hate the process so much that whenever possible, I find another mode. That won't work for a tras-ocean trip, but it does work for most domestic trips. I understand that the safety stats call me a fool for driving, but the process is nearly stress-free. I travel with folks that I know, I don't get groped and I can carry as much junk as I wish. I cannot drink, but I don't drink on airplanes – either, so not loss. A long trip costs a little more, but I'm not in a rush. While flying is fun, the ticket, luggage, boarding gate and stoage game have become too much for me. Flying is FUN, but it is NOT, repeat NOT a competitive sport. And for those with some 'elite' status, who seem to believe that they are entitled to everything, at the expense of everyone else, please go [fill-in] yourselves. YOU are the one that make the experience so unpleasant, not that fat broad in flip-flops!

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