Travel Lesson No. 1: Missing Your Flight
The first day of our adventure: October 5, 2017.
After spending 20 minutes trying to close my tiny backpack while my husband sat on top of it (minimalist traveling is tough), we were ready to head to the airport. Breezing through security with 2 hours to spare—a rarity at the Orlando airport, we decided to check out the lounge.
We recently opened a new credit card that grants us access to airport lounges around the world. Unfortunately, this particular lounge is located in another terminal. After a quick debate, we decided we had enough time. Plus, we’re not ones to pass up free food!
As we walked into the lounge, we received an alert saying that our flight was delayed an hour. “Great,” we thought—“good thing we decided to make the trek over here!” Now we have plenty of time.
About 30 minutes before our new flight time, we decided to grab some snacks to go, fill up our water bottles, and head to the gate.
Once exiting the terminal, a TSA agent stopped us and said, “this area is blocked. You will need to go back through security to get to the next terminal.”
With only 25 minutes before our flight was scheduled to leave, we bolted through the crowd praying we would make it in time. If you’ve ever visited “the happiest place on earth,” then you’re probably familiar with the Orlando airport’s usual pandemonium.
45 MINUTES TO GET THROUGH SECURITY—read the flashing sign above our heads.
We didn’t move for 23 minutes. The crowds were so bad that they shut down the entrance so that they could get more people moving, which meant that we had to wait outside of security until it progressed.
By that point I had already found the next flight heading to Washington DC and accepted that we were going to miss our original plane. My optimistic husband, on the other hand, held tight to his hope that we would still make it.
Standing next to the conveyor belt waiting for our bags to come out, we heard a TSA agent question “whose bags are these?”
Confused, we raised our hands and claimed our bags. (Hadn’t we already gone through security once today with no problem?)
As he approached us, he said: “don’t you know you’re not allowed to bring water in?”
We were in such a rush to make it through security we had completely forgotten that we filled our water bottles in the lounge.
“You’re going to need to go back through security and empty your water.”
Before we even had a chance to beg him to let us go through, he handed our bags to the next TSA agent who promptly began inspecting them.
Thankfully, the new agent took pity on our predicament and gave us a choice to either exit security, empty our bottles, and go back through OR we could relinquish our bottles and avoid the 3rd trip through security.
Bye-bye brand new water bottles.
Running through the airport, wearing ankle boots and a small, but surprisingly heavy backpack is no easy task—but I’m proud to announce that I didn’t trip! Despite my lack of clumsiness, we watched our plane slowly pull away as we approached the gate.
We didn’t make it.
How was it possible that after getting to the airport so early, we still managed to miss the first flight of our new adventure?
Ashamed of our situation, we walked over to the gate agent and admitted that we needed to be on the next flight. Rather than condemning us or questing why we hadn’t made it on time, she just said: “ok, no problem.”
Within 2 minutes we were holding our tickets for our new flight—free of charge.
Filled with gratitude towards the merciful attendant, we sat down, looked at each other and broke out in laughter. The perfect situation to point blame, but instead…we laughed. Because really at that point, how would arguing help?
The important part: we didn’t lose any money, and we were on the next flight. The only thing lost was a bit of our pride and a few extra hours exploring DC with our friend.
It’s easy to lose perspective in situations like missing a flight. Frustration gets the best of us, and we have to take it out on the person closest to us (or at least we think we do).
But what if we take another approach? What if we choose to use unfortunate mishaps as moments where we practice grace instead of criticism?
We both accept blame for the unfortunate series of events that led to us missing our flight. Granted certain things occurred that were out of our control, but we each played a part in delaying our arrival at the gate. And we’ll both admit it.
So instead of arguing, we designated our first mishap as a lesson in “what to do if you miss your flight.” We recognized that our delayed trip is probably the first of many problems that will occur on our adventures abroad, so we might as well accept our need for flexibility. Plus, we figured what better way to start our new life than with a story, right?
(And don’t worry we have TSA pre-check now.)
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