Apparently there was a storm in Budapest tonight. A big storm. A storm so big that the plane I was on from Belgrade had to turn back. Weather happens.
In Belgrade, we had a choice. Wait until 10.30pm tonight and catch a bus for a 5-hour trip (minimum) to Budapest Airport. Or stay overnight and catch the evening flight back to Budapest tomorrow evening. Or be rescheduled to anywhere else we wanted to fly – tomorrow.
We had a choice. A choice. And to hear some of my fellow passengers go on, you’d swear that choice was between having teeth or toenails pulled. Perhaps I was mellower than usual because I was so tired. In Skopje last night, I lost my apartment key and couldn’t get old of the booking agent so I had to check into a youth hostel across from an outdoor concert that went on until 3am. I’d just gotten to sleep when the agent called me back putting paid to any more sleep that morning. So I was tired.
A sleepless me can go one of two ways – I can be obnoxiously cranky or mellow to the point of it seeming brownie-induced. Tonight I was mellow. So when Mr Austria started mouthing off at the airline official and calling her a liar and asking her if she had a pilot’s licence, I had to interject and point out that no matter how talented the girl was, even she couldn’t make storms disappear. Get a grip mate; it’s not her fault.
Then Miss America started demanding a full refund and saying that her dad would take care of these morons (the pilots) as she’d seen the airspace over Budapest and it wasn’t as if it was San Francisco – I mean, what could the plane smack in to? Duh. She ended up renting a car to drive back to BP. Patience dear.
Then others stepped forth with their plans and their meetings and their needs, demanding satisfaction. We had three choices …. what part of that didn’t they get?
It’s been a long week. A good week. A week that didn’t exactly go to plan. And at the end of it all, I’m so very grateful that I was too tired to get worked up about cancelled flights and unscheduled changes. I’m grateful, too, for the realisation that I always have a choice, even if it’s simply choosing an attitude. Of course, it helps that I can work from the office here in Belgrade tomorrow so all that changes with my day is where I’ll have breakfast 🙂
I was once on an inter-city bus in eastern Turkey in my wasted youth, and as it ran ever farther behind schedule passengers began to complain to the driver and his assistants. I clearly remember one such complainant being told ‘Efendi, yolculuk belli olmaz’ – Sir, travelling is an uncertain business. But a friend of mine did land at L.Ferihegy during the said storm last evening and found the experience alarming to say the least. Perhaps Easyjet pilots suffer more acutely from ‘push-on-itis’ than those that you intended to ride behind!
I was on a flight from Anchorage to Valdez once that was so turbulent, the steward fell and broke her arm when she got up to quiet a hysteric passenger. Since then, I prefer to err on the side of caution when it comes to weather and planes.
A few years ago, during a large storm over Europe my flight was canceled. As where many others. Even though I had to wait in line for hours with hundreds of others to rebook, when I got to the ticket window I smiled and was pleasant. Quite a different mannerism from the hundreds of other delayed passengers that ticket agent had to deal with before me.
She upgraded me to a first class seat on a flight the next day.
Not saying being nice always gets such rewards (nor do I seek any, as I think being nice to others is its own reward), but being a jerk never does.
Considering they cost nothing, it’s amazing how often manners are conserved rather than used…