Done any traveling lately? If not, I’m sure you’ve heard the many news reports
about the passenger forcefully pulled off of the plane, fights over tray tables, hot tempers over delays and cancellations. I’m not defending the airline industry but shouldn’t we be prepared for the inevitable delay or cancellation?
In November 2016 a very close friend of mine and I flew out to San Jose California to attend “Unleash the Power Within”, a conference hosted by well-known Life Strategist, Tony Robbins.
We met at the airport at 11:00 AM, checked our bags, and waited. The plan was to arrive a full 24 hours before the event was scheduled to begin. Much to our frustration, an hour into our wait the flight was cancelled. We had to get onto another flight, or we would be missing part of Tony!
My friend, who is the more assertive of the two of us, had a lengthy and heated conversation with the airline and was able to get us both booked onto a flight through Las Vegas.
When we arrived in Vegas we found that our next flight was delayed 3 hours and wouldn’t land in San Jose until close to 11:00 pm! We waited around McCarran airport and even had time for pedicures in the airport spa, making the most of our layover.
It was after 11:00 pm when we dragged our bags through the airport in San Jose to a waiting rental car van and then to the rental car agency. Exhausted and starving we got to the hotel and waited in a long line of other conference goers to check in.
When we got up to the counter, the girl working the counter said, “Oh, didn’t anyone contact you?” “No”, I said. “We released your room. The hotel was over-booked and we sold your room because you booked through Expedia.” I said, “WHAT?! No… this can’t be. How could you do that, we had a reservation!” It was very late and we were so tired. Nonetheless, if you book through a third-party web-site like Expedia, the hotel reserves the right to give your room away. Our only recourse was to work with Expedia to book another hotel. Sitting in the lobby of that hotel feeling homeless, and exhausted, we called every hotel that showed up in Google Maps. The girl at Expedia was helpful, but with so many people in for the UPW conference, hotels with availability were non-existent.
Finally the agent from Expedia was able to get us a room several miles away from the conference area in downtown San Jose. “Amen!” we thought. We got back into the rental car and headed to our new hotel.
It was close to 2:00 AM by the time we checked in. This room was twice the price and half the size. In fact it was so tiny that the door didn’t swing all of the way open before hitting a dresser. I was sure going to take this up with Expedia as soon as I could. Exhausted and bedraggled (not sure bedraggled is even a word, but it’s what comes to mind.) we settled into bed.
The next morning we headed to the conference and waited in line for about 2 hours with roughly 8,000 other people checking into the venue.
We got our name tags, and booklets and headed to our assigned seating section. We had “general” seating (the cheap seats, way up and in back.)
With much fanfare the event started. Tony Robbins came out with all of his height and largeness and we were thrilled!
Shortly after the session started, Tony had a question. “Who here had a rough flight, raise your hand.” My friend and I raised our hands high, we were still recovering from our trip! Many people in the crowd felt they’d had a tough travel day, there were many hands raised high. We wanted to share our tale of woe with the rest of the crowd. Alas, Tony selected a girl from the audience who’d flown up from Peru. This girl talked about being stranded in more than one airport, and experienced multiple cancelled flights. Tony Robbins acknowledged that she’d had a long journey and an uncomfortable trip.
Then he followed it up with one question. “At what point did hurling through the atmosphere, tens of thousands of feet above the earth inside of an aluminum tube become an expectation of flawlessness and cease to be an unimaginable miracle? We achieve miracles, and those miracles eventually become expectations”
A journey that was only possible on foot and took months now takes a few short hours. What happened to the amazement that we even have this technology readily available?
Only in the last 100 or so years have transportation advancements allowed us the privilege of virtually limitless affordable travel. Our perceptions and expectations have changed so much we get frazzled because we have to pay for wi-fi during flight. We’re outraged if we get bumped, or our luggage arrives at a different time than we do. Can you imagine going back just 60 years and trying to take the same journey?
My friend and I took our hands down, and were grateful to slink back down into our nose-bleed seats.
The conference was amazing, and my friend and I are even closer for the experience.
Pit Bull was a surprise guest, that was cool. We flew home in a different state of mind that week. Appreciative of the trip, our families, our health, and remembering to be grateful for everything that we’d come to ‘expect’. Next time I think we’ll be better prepared for the likely-hood of travel problems.
Thank you for reading this article.
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