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Welcome to Insights and Implications!

From time to time we like to share insights from the participants in our programs. While this month’s guest author describes a trip over the winter holidays, her insights are relevant year-round. We love hearing from you so please keep those insights coming.

All the best,

All of us at Insight Principles

Travel Delays: Always A Chance for Insight

Over the holidays I traveled to Orlando to visit my family. I was excited to see my mom, brother and baby niece. I booked a red-eye flight on December 23rd with a 2.5 hour layover in Los Angeles, which would give me plenty of time to have some food and be early for my next flight to Orlando.

My troubles started in SFO with a 2.5 hour delayed departure. Due to bad weather, no flights were allowed to land at LAX. I later learned that 200 flights to LA were delayed or cancelled that day. Think about that: a flight has an average of 150 passengers, making me 1 of 30,000 people with a delayed or cancelled flight!

When I finally made it to LAX, I ran to my connecting gate. As I reached the gate the agent told me the flight was closed – I had to be rebooked. My first reaction was, “What??!! My plane is right there! I can see it from the window!” I was fuming, furious. My mind created a horrible picture of my next 2 days: I wasn’t going to be rebooked, I was going to miss Christmas with my family, and, worst of all, I was going to be all alone in some random airport.

As I stood in line at the customer service desk, angrily envisioning my tragic future, a loud grunt brought me back to the present moment. The customer at the front of the line clearly wasn’t happy and was taking it out on the airline employee. Seeing the angry man, I realized that given my own thinking, I was going to have a similar reaction if I didn’t calm down. I wondered: Is the employee really responsible for bad weather? How can he rebook me on the next flight if all the seats are taken? As my turn got closer, I realized the poor employee was having a worse day than me. He looked exhausted but he was keeping his cool despite every single person in line yelling at him.

In the time that it took me to stand in line, my perspective (thinking) changed. I did not allow my angry thoughts to take over. I was able to get out of my own head and observe what was going on around me. When it was finally my turn, I was calm and I greeted the employee with a friendly, “Hello, how are you doing tonight?” His face was priceless. He looked so relieved to not have another angry customer.

Everything turned out ok. I had to find a hotel for the night (paid by me and not the airline) and deal with my interrupted travel plans. But I was in Orlando on Christmas Eve, surrounded by my family and holding my beautiful niece. And to this day, I’m pretty proud that I was able to see my own thinking, get out of my head, and not yell at the employee. I’m proud that I was able to take control of my emotions and not allow a weather delay to ruin my whole trip.

-Carolina Salazar

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