Last week was the worst experience with air travel I have ever had, and I have had some whoppers; lost bookings, rebooking, missing one flight so the rest of the reservation was cancelled leaving me stranded an extra day and buying a ticket home the day before.
This time however was not really any fault of the airlines. They can only do so much and control only what they can.
On my way to FCA in the morning for a flight out, there was a flake of snow here and there as we drove down the road. That is fine I thought, no problems. Well after sitting for the hour and a half, total darkness outside still, I did not realize a snowstorm had creeped up and was dumping pretty good. From 4 am to 6 am, it had snowed enough that the airport had to plow the runways and the plane had to be de-iced. My 6:00 am flight was now leaving at 6:45. CRAP! I made it to Seattle in time to see my connecting flight being pushed back. CRAP! Now it was rebooking time. After talking to the service agent and her making adjustments, making calls, and burning time, she comes up with an itinerary. But I have 7 minutes to rush to the gate. I made it though. So the rest of my travel was pretty uneventful. My day was long; 4 am Mountain to 2 am Eastern time.
One bag travel made it so I didn’t have to worry about luggage making the other plane in Seattle. I had everything right there with me. I cannot emphasize how being worry free about luggage allows you to focus on other things. It removes “my bags” from the strategic planning when things go into chaos.
Now on my way back, things were pretty bad from the start, two really close connections, delays starting to accumulate in Jacksonville due to weather, and getting home after midnight if I made all my connections. The airport shuttle was to leave at 5 am, yet, I was told not to book flights before 9 am by management. So my options were shitty from the start, so the flight I had booked left at 2:25 pm. I was able to catch a ride with a guy that had rented a car as opposed to waiting on the shuttle services.
According to the board my flight was still on time, until… noon. This is when the airlines had an inflight emergency and ended up diverting to Louisville. The problem sounded like someone on board had a heart attack. The diversion, resupplying the used medical gear, and something that a mechanic and part from Atlanta had to be flown it to fix, and the repair itself had my flight leaving at some point between 7pm and 8pm. There comes a point when you stop looking at the clock.
I arrived in Minneapolis and made my way to where customer service was, since the airline was providing hotels for the night due to the delay being a “mechanical” one. Single bag, carry-on only travel was wonderful right here. So other people needed stuff from their checked bags, or needed an airline overnight kit, or had to just go without their bags. I had everything I needed. This was one area I didn’t have to stress about. I could really focus on the next plan of action.
When I woke up, I knew I still had tight connections, and a flight leaving at 5pm and a connection in Salt Lake at 8pm. I started making calls. Wouldn’t it be less stressful to be sitting On the ground in Salt Lake waiting for my flight, than in the air over Casper, Wyoming wondering if I was going to make it home? I was able to get on an earlier flight and get to Salt Lake, everything from here is a breeze. No more connections, from here there are no other decisions to make. Ahh I’m headed home.
The Single Bag
Having just one small backpack takes practice to balance needs versus excess. I used to think I would need so many things, books, entertainment, and technology. I have come to realize, not so much. Luxury items rarely got any use. Smartphone technology helps a lot. I have video games, music player, camera, video recorder, and internet at my fingertips. I still pack a kindle e-reader though. In my opinion, it is easier to read than a smartphone and the battery life is long. When you get to sitting around a lot and waiting, reading, listening to music, and drinking coffee is a good way to pass the time.
One other trick for single bag travel, a vest. Or in my case this trip the field jacket. This allows you to pack the extras and keep them close, and in my case, you also have a jacket. They extra pockets are handy. I had my phone and charger, my kindle, headphones, and my tickets easy to get to. I cannot tell you how handy it was. I probably wouldn’t travel without a vest again. It is just so convenient.
Hopefully you will have your packing downsized and efficient before you hit any snags on any future travel. Traveling light is freeing and takes a lot of pressure off of worrying about stuff. I have been working on the perfect formula for years and this just happened to work out right at the right time.
Thanks for reading. DL