Caught the Last Flight Out
Traveling can be such a stress. At this time of year, getting away to some sunny destination sounds so appealing. Many farmers are thinking about and planning that long anticipated vacation from the farm. Farm show is done, sugaring isn’t for a while yet and so the “slow” time of year is a good time to take off. Course the weather hasn’t really been to cooperative south of us with all of the winter storms hitting the mid-west and mid atlantic states. I got out of Washington late at night on one of the last flights out before Reagan National closed down again for another record storm. I also had a direct flight down and back, so making connections wasn’t really an issue. Philly is having issues though, as is Chicago and basically any airport south and west of us here in Vermont.
There are a couple of tricks I use to stay stress free when I am flying. In the winter I like direct flights. Less stress and hassle if the flight is delayed. But often in Vermont you can’t get there from here that easily and so connection flights are gonna happen. You can choose to have a good amount of time hanging out between flights, or you can choose to take a gamble on a shorter connection time. Just because the weather is OK here or where you are going, it might not be so great at the in-between place. Checking forecasts for the middle change-over places and making a “plan B” can help reduce the stress as well.
Most airlines and airports allow you to check in on-line, and if you are reading this blog, it means that you can probably do the “on-line” thing pretty well. Most airlines will also post a flight-alert if there is trouble, and some airlines will let you move your flight time forward a day or so without penalty. Before booking flights, find out what the change policy is. I was only allowed to move my flights around within a 7 day period before or after the scheduled flight, so postponing my trip for this spring and cherry blossoms wasn’t going to happen. It was a “now or never” situation.
Because the DC blizzard was so massive, I got the flight alert quickly the night before changed my flight to leave at 6 AM instead of noon, getting me in before the snow. Then I was able to change the return flight too from Sunday morning to Monday. I got to watch Superbowl in comfort rather than being stuck overnight at the airport, in a really uncomfortable chair. But, I had to keep checking on line for flight status updates and when my Monday morning flight was canceled, I was able to get a seat on the first (and last) flight out of DC at 10:30 PM.
Checking weather updates, flight and airport updates and booking with airlines that allow you to move flights around with out penalty makes it almost a fun adventure, rather than a hassle. The other thing that makes it less stressful is that I bring my medications, knitting, a good book and my blackberry in the carry on bag. Yes, you can bring knitting on the flight with you, and it can be the starting point for friendly conversation with fellow travelers. If you don’t knit, people watching is always fun and you can always get a bunch of postcards and mail them out to all your family for a nice surprise. ” Sitting in the DC airport waiting for a flight, wish you were here” . If you are having a good time traveling, then others around you tend to be nicer too. Reducing stress and even giving opportunity for a laugh along the way.