Plane travel can be taxing. There’s a lot of hanging about, anxiety around getting away on time and is exhausting especially when multiple time zones are being crossed.
I spend a lot of time on planes and at airports for my work. There’s no glamour or curiosity about those experiences anymore, it’s just like catching a bus except these ones have wings. For the most part I try to allow extra time for the inevitable delays and itinerary hiccups to manage stress and frustration levels. I have to confess; I’m not the world’s most patient traveller especially when kept waiting for what appears from my world perspective to be the result of ineptitude and inefficiency.
So when I find myself standing in a queue for over an hour having arrived at 4.20 a.m. to check in my bag for an international flight, with no obvious explanation for why nothing is happening and little being volunteered by the ground staff, I notice I’m getting a little “testy.”
The mood of the crowd of the flight being kept waiting has shifted from anxiety “will this we ever get this flight?” to frustration “B*^^@* airlines, can’t they get anything right?” “I’m never flying with this mob again,” “This is pathetic, how hard can it be to check us in?”
It’s normal to get upset, irritated and annoyed when things aren’t going as expected.
What makes the biggest difference to how we get through these times is how we choose to respond to those emotions being generated.
Clearly, glowering at the staff wasn’t going to achieve much, nor was making loud negative comments. All it took to defuse the mounting tension on this occasion was the offer by a stranger in the queue, to go and buy some coffees. Hurrah we cried and gratefully accepted. Stress hormones fell and now revived by the surge of a caffeine infusion, the wait that had previously felt unbearable became less of an issue as we chatted amongst ourselves exchanging stories and backgrounds. Even the airport coffee tasted good.
Reframing your perspective around a difficult situation can quickly shift your mood, boost your coping skills and empower your ability to seek alternative solutions.
With the technical problem eventually sorted, we were all quickly whisked through customs and onto a plane that not only managed to leave on time but also got to its destination slightly ahead of schedule. Passengers happy, staff relieved and all was right with the world.
Whoever said miracles never happen?
How do you reappraise a situation that appears to be going pear shaped?
Who do you have in your support crew to help you maintain perspective at these times?
Do you have a tried and tested technique that prevents you from falling into the abyss of negative self talk and helplessness when things aren’t going to plan?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.