Seeing the delays that our summer evening storms produce for flights leaving and landing in Denver, I opted to take an earlier flight out of Denver on Sunday. The original flight offered a mere one-hour layover in San Francisco to connect up with the once-a-day flight to Sydney and then on to Auckland, New Zealand for the first leg of my journey. My revised flight would give me a comfortable three-hour window to change planes in San Francisco.
However, a mechanical problem with the aircraft delayed its departure from Denver. These things happen. With a three-hour cushion, I felt reasonably sure that my intuition to take an earlier flight would still prove to be wise.
However, as our wait continued and approached (and then passed) the departure time of my original itinerary, I received an insight that I’d never considered before.
Those of us who travel frequently (last tally about 1.3 million miles with United alone) consider air travel so safe that we focus more on the missed meetings and waylaid plans than the inconvenience of our aircraft falling out of the sky. Unexpected emergencies just don’t happen that often. Sure, when they do they get a lot of coverage, but in the big scheme of things, it’s rare.
So, while so many fellow passengers chose to exercise their adrenals and increase their cortisol levels, I mostly smiled. Regardless of the resulting inconvenience, I’m so thankful when they discover these sorts of mechanical problems on the ground where they are easier to fix!
The delay has caused me to miss a speaking gig Tuesday night at the alumni dinner for the New Zealand College of Chiropractic. Sorry about that. And it will require an increased level of presence as I lead The Conversation Debrief within a mere hour of landing Wednesday morning. Like I say, part of the glamour of international travel.
Oh, and if I hadn’t changed to an earlier flight plagued with mechanical problems? Turns out I would have still misconnected in San Francisco. It was delayed too. The one happy result is an unplanned afternoon in San Francisco with my brother.