Wednesday, August 22, 2012

How to avoid being as stupid as me. Missing a flight.

I missed my flight. I got the dates confused. Now, I'm stuck in Bangkok for at least 5 more days . . . unless the wait list situation gets any better. I have a guaranteed fly out date, but I arrive on the 1st day of class instruction, and $623.00 USD down the fiscal hole. I may have to run from the tarmac to the classroom in a haze. I'm actually pretty calm. I could be like this woman in Hong Kong Airport.

Had I opted for the Business class option of $3,500 bucks they gave me, I would be like the HK lady. For the most part, I pretty much blew it on my part, and I knew it. I got a date fixed in my skull, the wrong date, and I didn't even bother to check. The other thing is that Korean Air sends emails predominately in Korean, and I had no idea what I was looking at. But then, unlike the HK woman, I just was really bummed. I had so many errands to deal with when I got back to the states, that any sort of delay was going to cause ultimate misery, at least for next week. I will be teaching in a stupor.

Tools for retarded travelers.

So, are there tools to make sure you aren't a retard like me? Maybe. Usually, I enter the flight and departure dates into my calendar program. I also usually carry a paper calendar, which I didn't do this time. Maybe that's why I'm sort of off kilter. I rely on my work's Outlook program and my Mac's Calendar program to keep me on schedule due to an array of meetings and projects that often get mushed into my skull. I often have a cramped schedule with a combination of family stuff, work stuff, artsy stuff and just stuff. I've become too reliant on technology, and I think that also was a factor in my brain fart. The other thing is that you don't want to travel with things on your mind if you can help it.

1. Put the actual departure time and date into your calendar program. Assign an alarm. That way, you won't be so dumb as me. Program it.

2. Tripcase. I used it before, and it has been a helpful app. For some reason, I didn't use it this time. You can share itinerary and other stuff.

3. Airline Apps. Korea Air doesn't have an iPad app, just an iPhone app. Since I used the iPad more than the iPhone, I missed out on that one. This isn't to say that it would have kept me on schedule, but some apps do give you alerts.

4. Do not rely on email notifications. If the notification is predominately in a foreign language, you might be clueless. Upon further inspection, I could see an English link, but seeing a sea of Korean didn't register in my head that I was seriously off schedule. Of course, if you book with an airline that uses English mostly, then this point is irrelevant. The other thing is that you often don't always have access to email.

5. Read that darn ticket carefully, and when you have connecting flights, don't look at just the arrival date. I got confused because when you leave the USA for SE Asia, you arrive on the same day. For some reason, I had a mental block and was locked into that concept. You leave and arrive the next day when you fly from Asia to the USA. You should probably HIGHLIGHT the DATE and TIME too. Again, don't be stupid like me. Time Zone issues often make reading a flight schedule tricky. Again, this is weird for me. I usually never make this sort of screw up.

6. Paper calendars. I've decided that I'm going to use paper calendars when I travel, and to refer to them. It's less busy than the iPad, and the act of writing down the time helps me to memorize it.

Pitfalls of missing a flight.

Given the fact that the airlines appear to be packing every flight like a sardine can with additional presurrization, if you miss a flight, you could be in for some big time trouble. Korean Air seems to be an airline that has very few margins for a passenger missed flight. I was intitially given a fly out date that was almost 3 weeks away on September 10. Not good, when the semester starts on August 26. I then had to bargain, and got on a wait list, and a guaranteed flight which unfortunately might make me go from the airport to work with no time to unpack. It's the earliest guarantee I could get, but of course, I had to pay some buckaroos.

I've done quite a bit of traveling in the past few years. Much of it has always been to Thailand, as I visit my best friend from high school, who teaches and does consultation work for a wellness clinic. So, this sort of mistake is really disturbing for me. I'm wondering if I'm having memory problems. In fact, I think it is because of some underlying stress that I have going on. When you are a person who is supposed to fix everything, you get a lot of stress to deal with.

When you go on vacation, do not leave with stress or unresolved issues. They will color the trip, and potentially affect your judgment. I've never ultimately been able to relax this time. If you miss an International flight, you may end up stranded. Well, I'm not really stranded now, but it changes how you feel about a trip. My stress levels are off the chart. It shouldn't be that way. I should be thinking, "Hell, I got 5 more days in Bangkok! Whooohoooo!" But I don't have that feeling. That's perhaps is the worst thing of all.