Travel troubles: how to turn bad luck into gratitude

by Betty Lochner on June 18, 2011

I have to say, I am lucky when it comes to the important things in life. I picked a good life partner, I am healthy, I have been blessed with great kids, I have a good job.

But, for some reason, I am not so lucky with travel.

I have had the travel curse for many years. It has included lost luggage, missed flights, delayed and cancelled flights, unscheduled stops, and major coffee spills on neighbors, just to name a few.  Friends generally avoid traveling with me, for then the curse is extended.

So, I wasn’t surprised when my recent  business trip to to Ohio had a few problems.

My travel trouble started as soon as I arrived at the airport. My flight was three hours late due to a mechanical problem.  Since  I’m all for fixing mechanical problems, I settled in and waited.  We eventually took off and landed in Detroit. Then it got a little dicey. I had to run to my connecting flight to get there in time to sit on the tarmac for another 1½ hrs waiting for a replacement strap that pushes the airplane out onto the runway. Several of us on the plane volunteered to get out and push it for them, but they weren’t interested.

I arrived in Columbus where everything went well until it was time to head home. Another delay. Another 3 hours. This time for thunderstorms in Atlanta were I was to connect. I missed the last flight of the evening so had to stay over night. I arrived home a day late.

So, what went right on this trip? Here are my top 10 things:

  1. Unexpected down time to just sit and think.
  2. My email inbox got cleaned out.
  3. Recreational magazine and gum shopping.
  4. More books loaded onto my Kindle than I could possibly read on my upcoming vacation.
  5. I worked on the outline for my online course, making more headway than I had in weeks.
  6. I met a really interesting man who does crisis PR for big companies and famous people. We had time for him to share some great stories about his work.
  7. I met a woman named Laurie from Houston. We helped each other gain new intelligence on the flight situation by spreading out and reporting back in. We laughed a lot.
  8. Laurie and I ended up in seats next to each and had a delightful conversation from Columbus to Atlanta. We’re going to try to get together when she’s in Seattle this summer.
  9. I arrived home safely!
  10. Next to #9, I think I am most grateful that I wasn’t Roger, the customer service representative that had to deal with hundreds of cranky, tired, and frustrated passengers.

I have learned that embracing the experience and counting the things going right is a better way to deal with my travel mishaps then getting stressed, frustrated, or angry.  For, this too shall pass.

It’s also a lot more fun.


Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.

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