Note: I found this in my drafts from months ago. I'm traveling to LA now, which isn't quite as bad but this is still applicable.
The title of this post may be a bit misleading. I'm not learning to fly but I've found that flying every week across the country on a US airline is teaching me lessons in patience, kindness, and gratitude.
On Sundays, I take a 2:45pm flight from Phoenix which gets me into Harrisburg at around midnight. This week, when landing in Charlotte, NC for my connection, the flight was diverted to Knoxville, TN and then promptly cancelled. Two weeks ago, on the Friday I was supposed to have off from work and supposed to be driving to Las Vegas, my flight out of Harrisburg was so late that I was originally told that I wouldn't get to Las Vegas until Saturday afternoon. Six weeks ago, I spent the night in Chicago b/c my plane sat on the tarmack for over an hour and I missed my connection. Not to mention the number of times my flight has been delayed and I don't get home until midnight Phoenix time and have to be up at 6am to work on east coast time.
Traveling in the US isn't easy. And in each of those instances, I was more than angry and a little sad - it meant less time in my home with my husband. But I think I'm getting better about it. In each of these instances, I watched other passengers yell and mistreat the ground crew of the airlines. The delay or cancellation is not the ground crew's fault. They're trying to do the best they can. And I've learned, kindness in these situations really will get you farther. There's a gentleman that works for American Airlines in Harrisburg who knows me. And each week when I fly with them and my flight is late or delayed, he sorts me out first. I like to think it's because I'm friendly and I don't blame him.
I've also learned that patience is immensely important in these situations. Getting it fixed isn't going to happen quickly and if don't have patience, you're just gonna be angry and forget to be kind to those people trying to help you get home.
But I've also learned to be grateful for the opportunities I have. I work for a good company who thinks highly enough of me to want to fly me out to a project every week. I've amassed an obscene amount of frequent flyer miles and I'll be able to use them to visit my family and friends in Australia or Colorado. There are alot of people who don't get these chances.
Saying all this though, I would love to have more time at home. Maybe one of these days I'll be ready to move on from my company but that isn't just yet. In the meantime, I'll just amass lots of status points with US Airways and Hilton and Avis!