I watched the guy in front of me as the attendant informed him that he’d missed his flight because they hadn’t arrived at least 40 minutes before the door closed. The truth hit him squarely and sadness washed over his eyes. His wife pressed close to him to hear, as three young children pulled her in three directions. And I wished nothing more in this world than for a do-over to his day. It was apparent why he was late, but rules are rules and I wondered what happened to that family and who was waiting for them on the other side of that missed flight as I rushed off to my own flight.
And this is the new travel in coach. Not at all like business travel, this is a hundred things on your mind and a nagging fear of what you forgot travel. And it’s brutally unforgiving. Those who say the journey is half the experience wipe the worst moments from the memory bank. But hey, maybe we’ll all laugh about it someday? I hope so for those parents.
When you finally sit down in your seat, and (if you’re lucky) with your baggage stowed safely in overhead, relief washes over you like that sadness in the father’s eyes. You’ve cleared yet another hurdle in a race above the clouds. There will be more, there are always more, but one less than before. Travel is one step at a time across a minefield, but we do live it, even if it doesn’t always love us back.
But hey, at least we have Wi-Fi?