Twenty-four hours before we were scheduled to fly from Dallas to Chicago from Frankfurt to Copenhagen, I made a BIG mistake. Joking about my mother's extended losing streak when it comes to flight delays, baggage lost, and unfortunate cancellations, I boldly declared that this never happens to me. Perhaps, I didn't "knock on wood" fast enough. Here we sit, finally on a flight from Dallas to New York, one day late for our European adventure, swimming in at least twenty boarding passes between the two of us. A few travelers' tips I have picked up in the past twenty-four hours due to my ultimate failure to leave the confines of the DFW metroplex:
2) When presented with a long line of angry passengers trying to find a new flight, don’t stand in it. (Go outside of security…people seem less angry there).
3) When you do have to spend the night in a nearby DFW hotel, I don’t necessarily recommend the Doubletree DFW Airport North, but I DO recommend that you go and eat at the hotel’s Flatland Grill. The blackened salmon chipotle lime salad and the roasted Tuscan chicken were a pleasant surprise. Coupled with a few glasses of the Velvet Devil Merlot and life suddenly didn’t seem so bad.
4) Delta connector planes are way more comfortable than United connector planes. I swear United just put a flimsy sheet cushion on those plastic chairs from Ikea.
5) Finally, and perhaps most importantly – get travel insurance! The experience was stressful. We are arriving a day late, missed our hotel reservation, and had to pay for another. However, after a quick phone call to Travel Guard, we were assured that all of these costs would be covered.
With all of that said, it could always be worse. One couple on our 2nd cancelled flight was trying to make it to Rome for a cruise that they ultimately missed. The father I sat next to on the plane had some great restaurant tips for Prague and Amsterdam, but he was crestfallen when he learned he would not be home in time to see his son and daughter in their performance the next day. Still, the moments of odd community that crop up during these unfortunate events remind of the bearability of humanity. A little German girl in the seat in front of me who is bored and doesn’t seem to speak English, but still is overjoyed every time she plays peekaboo with me between the seats. A shared eye-rolling with a gate agent when someone tries to “tip” her to get her on the next plane. Tag-teaming with the hubby across the terminal as you juggle phone calls to Priceline/United, text messages with family members, and tired employees with long lines. All in all, it could be worse, but shared moments with the people stuck with you tend to make it little bit better.
I leave you with your moment of zen, oddly discovered in the interfaith chapel in Terminal E of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.