Tuesday I was to take a simple two hour flight from Kansas City to Denver. I received a text from United Airlines early in the morning saying that my flight had been delayed by one hour. No problem. I took my time getting to the airport and even stopped off for coffee.
When I arrived, they pulled my bag at security because of my camping spork. They wanted to make sure it didn’t have a blade attached. After kindly unpacking my bag (which took some work to organize) they dumped it out and left it for me to repack.
I boarded my plane an hour and 1/2 late. I kicked back with a book and prepared for a quick flight. We made it as far as the runway before turning back for the gate. We were notified there was a problem with the plane and we would sit tight at the gate while they fixed it. Half and hour later we were asked to get off of the plane because it was a mechanical issue that could not be fixed.
We gathered our things and got back off of the airplane. We then had to stand in line and rebook new tickets. I decided I was not going to let anything ruin my day (even though United was already trying). In an effort to lighten the mood of the guy who had been dealing with a plane full of angry passengers, I tried to joke and asked what was for lunch. By this time I was should have already landed and been eating lunch. As a result for keeping my cool, I received a voucher for lunch.
I was booked for an evening flight but was told I could stand by for one leaving within the hour. I waited at the gate. The new plane was now delayed half an hour. As a result, I was given a seat. I boarded the plane and got all comfy. Once again, we started to pull out of the gate when the plane stopped and turned back around. We were told we would have to get off of the plane because they forgot to put fuel in it. I wont lie, I wanted to get mad. Instead, I laughed. This is par for the course when flying with United. I have never once had a good flight with them, and as a result it has been years since I’ve flown with them.
We gathered our belongings and exited the plane. We crowded together at our gate along with all of the people waiting for the next flight. I decided to take the opportunity to get something to drink and eat from the small convenient store by the gate. After about half an hour we were let back on the plane. Because of the plane being so small they made us gate check all of our carry ons.
Just as I got comfortable, got my book out, and got my head phones on, a woman tells me I need to move because I am in her seat. I look at her ticket and she indeed has my seat number. I pull out my ticket and double check it. I am in the right seat. She goes off angry and accuses the stewardess of double booking the seat. The stewardess notifies her she is on the wrong plane. Now our plane is full of people on the wrong plane because they didn’t check boarding passes getting back on.
I bit my tongue, put on my headphones, closed my eyes, and took a nap the rest of the way. When we arrived, we were let off of the plane onto the tarmac. We were told to wait in the rain while they unloaded our carry ons.
Normally I would be fuming mad. I chose my attitude early on. Getting angry was not going to change my situation. Instead, I handled the entire fiasco with as much grace as I could muster. As a result, I had a good story to laugh about, minus the ulcer and anger. I’m working on this whole handling chaos with grace thing.