Keep It Simple.
This blog post is a little different than the my previous posts. Here you get to go on a journey with me. Now sit back and lets take off on my "simple" airport experience last week...
As I sit at the airport on my first, (almost), day of vacation it was a moment of quick reflection. Vacations are to make things simple right? Get some rest, enjoy the absence of phones, text messages, deadlines; someone else's agenda.
In the events leading up to my not being able to get on my scheduled plane I took a look at why.
I got up at 0-Dark-Hundred, did a quick work out and grabbed all my belongings to head for the airport. Normal drive is about 45 minutes so I planned on 90 minutes with an extra 30 minutes just in case. Why all the extra time, it was raining. Yes, I do live in Seattle and this year the rain is living up to it's fabled "everyday" status Seattleites hold so dear; it keeps people from California from moving up and discovering that there's more sun, "normally," than rain. Here's the problem, people still can't drive in the rain. So how long did it take to get to the airport? Just shy of 2.5 hours.
I left for the airport with over 3 hours of pad in the drive time. However, I did not know that when you have bags, you must be checked in 40 minutes before the plane is scheduled to take off. I missed the cut off point by 8 minutes. And to really burn this in, I travel on a plane 11-33 times a year, not my first rodeo.
It gets worse… I got all the great answers on how I could have made the plane shortly after being told I'll be waiting in the airport for the next 11 hours of my life to catch the next flight.
What were the options?
- My son got out of bed before the sun came out, impressive in its own right, and drove me down. First piece that I could have done; asked him to take my bags to FedEx and send them to my hotel.
- While I did call the airline while I was stuck in traffic, (staring at the fender bender and not moving), I did not ask the correct questions. I should have asked what would keep me from getting on the plane rather that how can the airline accommodate the delay that I was involved in. The simple answer was get rid of the bags. I'm already signed up for TSA Pre-Check; without bags, the time from drop off to plane is usually about 10-15 minutes, easy 10 minutes of pad time - no problem!
- Take the train. Drrrrrrrr, like, when was the last time the train was delayed by rain?
- Hit Google (or any active map system) to check all points on the route to make sure I was taking the fastest route. I could have shifted freeways when the fender bender blocked the lanes.
Here's where the simple comes in. When something is not going right, don't ask how to keep going on the same path, ask how many other ways the problem can be looked at. Ask who else might have solutions. Ask, "Is it worth it?” Ask what could keep you from being successful. Ask what the definition of successful is. Don't set up for plan "B," set up for plan "X."
And the real question, how big is the gift I have to get my wife for moving from First Class to coach on a 7 hour flight...priceless ... or is that bankrupt?!
Until next time, keep it simple.