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Our winter vacation is in the books.  Every year we spend a week at Snowbird in Utah to ski.  This year our vacation looked more like a sick comedy film than a vacation.  Here is our litany of woes:

  • Chicago was having a storm and planes were delayed.
  • Our plane finally makes it to Burlington.  After three hours it’s cancelled because of mechanical issues.
  • United is changing their computer system over and telephone wait times are forever.
  • We get re-booked but not until Sunday.  (We were supposed to travel on Friday.)
  • United doesn’t issue a ticket for Suzanne, I sit on hold with United for over 4 hours.
  • We finally get Suzanne’s ticket taken care of.
  • We make it to Utah and Suzanne (my wife) gets sick.
  • Our daughter in law dislocates her shoulder.
  • I get hit by a snowboarder going about 40 miles per hour.  (Luckily I didn’t get injured, but did get wind knocked out of me and was sore.)
  • United cancels my tickets back to Burlington.
  • We finally make it home more or less on time.

Here is what I learned from the experience:

Airlines need to stop punishing their customers.  When airlines run at 95% seat loads, there is no room for weather delays or mechanical problems.  I’ve come to accept overcrowded airports and poor general service.  I and the airlines customers need to get to their destination reasonably close to when they make a reservation.  We lost almost 30% of our vacation because the airlines didn’t have any extra capacity for weather problems.

It’s not what happens, but how you look at it.  Mel, our daughter in law, had the most amazing attitude about dislocating her shoulder.  She was in incredible pain, but at the same time truly enjoyed her vacation and having a chance to ski the really hard stuff.

Sunshine changes your attitude about life.  Most of the time we go to Utah for great powder skiing.  This year there was no powder and skiers were going faster than they should have, but the skis were bright and sunny.  It’s hard to have a really bad day when you have bright sunshine.

Always have a backup plan.  Travelling today is a challenge.  Have a backup plan in place for helping you cope with what the airlines or for that matter the travel industry in general might do to you.  A plan B is always a good thing to have in life.

We’re all booked for our winter ski trip next year.  Hopefully we won’t have another lost week but if we do you can be sure we’ll have a plan B.

Josh Patrick

I’m not sure that you can control what happens to you, but you might want to check out our people in transition resource center.  Click on the button below you’ll be able to choose from a variety of tools that can help you if you’re going through a transition in your life.


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