Traveling Thoughts: Flying

Here are some loosely gathered thoughts about flying that occurred to me during my recent trip to Iceland:

  • Our flight out was delayed by 4 hours. The flight was scheduled to leave at 10pm. We were loaded onto the plane at 9:30pm when a mechanical issue, what turned out to be the startup controller for one of the engines, was discovered. The mechanics replaced one part, and then another, and, about 1.5 hours later, after attempting to get going, the replacement part failed. At that point, we were taxied back to the jetway and deplaned. They brought in pizza. It’s never a good sign when they buy pizza. You know if pizza is coming you’re going to be in for a long night. But, eventually, the issue was fixed, we were loaded back on, and the plane finally left the ground at 2am.
  • Now, flight delays can be a very frustrating experience for any number of reasons. Even I, Mr. Buddhazenmindfulnessitiswhatitis, can feel my ire arise in such situations. But, this time, I need to give credit where it is due. The entire team assisting our flight, the gate agents, the flight attendants, the pilots, and the ground crew were friendly, communicative, graceful under tremendous pressure, understanding, and reassuring while at the same time forthcoming. Despite the delay, it was by far measure the best customer service experience I’ve received on a flight in years. It made the entire incident bearable. So, to the entire crew of Delta DL260 to KEF… Kudos!
  • Delta must have had some company wide customer service training recently because the return crew was equally great.
  • I don’t think I will ever understand the far too many people who leap up and crowd the gate as soon as boarding commences. It seems the moment the gate agent starts the “We are set to begin boarding flight…” 75% of the plane jumps up and starts herding to the jetway. It’s ridiculous. Especially, because it generally causes nothing but issues and delay for everyone including those seeking to get ahead for that all too precious overhead bin space. Are you a PriorityDiamondMedalionSuperSpecialSecretClub member with FirstBusinessSmallChildServiceMember seating? No? Then sit the heck down! Me? Well, I sit and enjoy not being packed together like cows waiting for the chute for the slaughterhouse to open. I wait until my zone/row/seat is called. I sometimes wait even longer and let others go ahead of me. If there is no room for a carryon they will gladly gate check it for no charge, so why rush? Enjoy some extra peace and let the rubes fight for their to-little-for-too-much space in the tube. Your seat isn’t going anywhere. It will be there, unoccupied, waiting for you when you get there.
  • Related: The older I get the more I realize what a mistake it is to rush, hurry, and jockey for position one’s way through life.
  • If you fly Internationally only once, Global Entry is worth it. We (My wife, daughter, and I) were through the TSA Precheck going out and through US Customs on the return in under five minutes. Imagine arriving at Customs with your other herd-like 300 plus other passengers. Now, imagine that other International flights have arrived before you have. People have completed Masters degrees in shorter times than the wait in some Customs lines. With Global Entry you skip all of that. Go to a kiosk, scan your passport and your fingerprints, take the receipt and hand it to a friendly Customs agent and walk out. Done. I now can’t imagine flying any other way.
  • Many of Craig Mod’s suggestions are helpful.
  • It seems all European airports are actually duty free malls with jetways attached.