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My daughter and I were talking about “expectations.” I once heard “expectations breed resentment.” As a grandmother, I have learned not to put expectations upon my grown kids or their children. It causes resentments to say

“We HAVE to have everyone here for Christmas Eve.”

That’s just an example of how expectations can breed resentments. I may talk more about family expectations in another blog. Today, I am talking about travel expectations.

Specifically, over my lifetime I have learned not to have expectations for perfect travel experiences. The plane may be late; the flight crew may miss their deadlines; the bus may get a flat tire; a road may be blocked due to an accident. These annoyances occur all the time, so I try to pad my schedule with extra time or to travel during less busy times of the year.

A recent trip to Washington state gave me a chance to put my philosophy into practice.

My friend Mary drove me to the Central Wisconsin Airport on a Thursday at 10:30 a.m. My flight to Minneapolis would leave at 12:30 p.m. After a short layover in Minneapolis, I would fly to Seattle and meet my daughter and two grandkids for a fun weekend exploring that city and then a drive through the Cascade Mountains for an additional week with them in Yakima, WA.

Mary and I crept along in a terrible fog. We commented on the number of people driving with no lights. At the airport, we learned the visibility was less than 1/10 of a mile. My expected plane was not at the gate and could not land, due to the weather. The flight to Minneapolis would be delayed two hours, at least.

Then began discussions with the gate agent about rebooking me, since I would miss my connection in Minneapolis.

“You can leave everything the same, just in case the Minneapolis flight has been delayed, too,” she said brightly. Talk about passing the buck.

“I think it is unlikely that plane won’t have left,” I replied, since I would be arriving, with luck, more than an hour after the scheduled departure.

There were no more availabilities on flights to Seattle until Sunday, cutting my visit short by three days. I tried to be philosophical and considered rebooking my entire trip later in the year. “That’s just the way it is,” I consoled myself.

Then, my daughter texted me a picture of a reservation from Minneapolis to somewhere called Pasco, WA.

I showed the picture to the gate agent and she got me a seat on that flight. Neither of us had ever heard of Pasco.

Making lemons out of lemonade, Mary and I went up to the Blind Rooster airport restaurant and ate lunch while waiting two more hours for the fog to clear. It’s so great to have friends who will stay with you during times like that.

Everything went smoothly from that point on. I had a four-hour layover in Minneapolis and then a three-hour flight to Pasco. To my amazement, I was given seat 1A in first class.

The Minneapolis gate agent said, “Somebody did something nice for you back in Wisconsin.”

I found out first class means:

  • Only one seat on my side of the plane

  • Double wide seat with a tray table in the armrest

  • Complimentary alcoholic drinks before we even took off (too bad it didn’t appeal to me)

  • Hot towels to wash your hands

  • A cloth napkin to cover your tray table and a second one to protect your clothes

  • A meal! My choice of a wrap or chicken salad, with chips and a cookie

From seat 1A, I was also able to listen to the flight attendants chatting in the tiny kitchen as they leaned against the walls.

“I hate this galley,” one said.

“… lab had puppies,” chatted another.

“….her kids are ten and eleven”……gossiped another.

It was a bit unnerving. I wanted them to have their minds on emergency exits or claustrophobic passengers.

Turns out, “Pasco” is one and one-half hours from my daughter. She picked me up and we arrived safely at her home about 1:30 a.m., my time. A long day, but it all worked out. I’ll see Seattle on my next visit.

My philosophy of “Expectations breed resentment,” worked in my favor. By ‘going with the flow,’ I learned about the Pasco airport and got to be the first one off the plane.

It also helped to have a creative daughter who took the initiative to find me another option.

How about you? Have you had any positive experiences due to travel disruptions?

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