Viewpoint makes cancellation a vacation
The wake-up call came on time. The cab arrived as promised. A pleasant ride to the airport hit no delays.
As my wife and I walked through the airport doors, I felt the sense of relief I always feel when I get to an airport on time.
That feeling didn’t last long.
On the flight board, the word “canceled” glared malevolently at us on the line listing our flight home.
At the airline counter, a line of angry passengers had formed. Venom spewed.
Harried women behind the counter punched computer keys and informed us it would be more than 24 hours before we could get a flight home.
Explaining I had to work the next day brought looks of regret and more punching of keys with the same result.
When I asked what hotel the airline was sending us to, the looks turned to frowns. The airline wouldn’t pay for our additional night’s stay because the cancellation was “weather related.”
Having just come in from viewing the sunrise, I pointed out that the weather was fine.
The problem, we learned, was thousands of miles away. The plane we were supposed to take hadn’t been able to fly in over night.
I felt anger rising. The airline could have informed us of the cancellation on the cellphone numbers we provided.
That would have saved us from getting up at 4:30 a.m. and wasting $42 on a useless cab ride to the airport.
For a moment my frustration almost boiled over onto the airline counter.
Maybe it was the experience of being a reporter who has been yelled at over the phone by people whose morning papers, which I don’t deliver, were wet.
The young women at the airline counter hadn’t created the problem.
Making a bad day worse for them might allow me to vent a little steam, but wouldn’t improve anything.
Later, after going a floor higher in the corporate structure, I concluded that even their supervisor had no power to get us home or even provide us with a room for the night.
Policies are dictated somewhere in an emotionless corporate structure.
I could spend the day with my anger growing as I tried to penetrate that structure, or my wife and I could enjoy a day added to our vacation.
Overcoming the part of me that wanted battle, I decided to satisfy my need for justice by simply crossing that airline off my future flight list and seeking a carrier with a record of fewer flight cancellations.
Rightly or wrongly, it was a different decision than I would have made earlier in life when I would have marched my demands to higher offices.
Instead, I called our hotel and arranged to get our room back for one more night.
Then Mary and I began to plan the extra day that had been added to our vacation.
Advocate Florida Parishes bureau chief Bob Anderson welcomes comments by email to banderson@