Flight Delays, Ugly Cries, and Why You Shouldn’t Talk Religion in Airports

Many people loathe the entire flying/airport experience – the long lines, insanely expensive food, angry TSA agents, oddly intimate pat-downs, crying babies, lost luggage…the list could take up this entire blog. And another. And another. 

I, on the other hand, don’t mind it all that much. I’ve always seen it as the first stop on my vacation – one I’m usually too giddy about to pay attention to anything else. So a few weeks ago when I schlepped my stupidly full suitcase through the DIA airport to go to Virginia (to see some ridiculously awesome people), I was all smiles and sunshine. 

Then I got call #1 – a polite recording from Southwest Airlines saying that my flight had been delayed one hour. No big deal, free Wi-fi and I’m all good.

Two hours later, when we finally boarded the plane, I still was unfazed. Then, shit hit the fan. My connecting flight, one that was supposed to leave from Chicago to Washington D.C. on the same airplane, would be “snubbed” (their word of choice) all together. Damn right I’d been “snubbed.”

Normally, I’m a big complainer. You know, the first person to get their food spit in because they’re so intent on having things done the “right way.” That’s me. Well, that’s the me I’m trying to not be anymore. So I kept that smile plastered to my face and told myself I would be getting on the next available connecting flight – the one that got in at 11:45 pm instead of 2:00 am (my original arrival time was 7:30 pm, mind you).

So when I’m told in Chicago I’m on the flight that “probably” (the words of customer service) gets in at 11:45 I thought all my positive thoughts had paid of.  Thirty minutes later I realize this information was wrong on all counts. The flight was already delayed until 12:00pm.

Patience, I told myself, was a virtue. Then came a series of flight time changes. How many? NO LESS THAN TEN. 

After realizing that my flight would now be getting into D.C. at 6:00 am (that’s right, 11 hours after my expected arrival) would mean I’d have to rent a car, I burst into tears. This wasn’t just a sweet little sniffle, this was the kind of cry that has you snorting and wiping away snot. The embarrassing kind of cry.

Since I had been sitting with a few fellow travelers for some time, I thought I might get a little pat on the back. Nope. Not even one. This, along with the fact that anyone else I might call was sleeping peacefully back in Denver, made me cry even harder.

Pathetic? Perhaps. 

This was precisely the moment that my oblivious fellow travelers decided to talk religion. Not the nice kind of religion talk where everyone shares their views politely (wait, do those even exist?). No, this resulted in one  woman sharing her ideas on why one particular religion was a cult, why hers was the “right” way to believe, and why she made it a habit of throwing religious texts that contradicted her own in the garbage.

This coming from a woman who couldn’t offer me one word of support during my loud display of distress. I had to sit on my hands to keep from pummeling her.

Needless to say, I made it. Tired, hungry, probably smelly, but I did arrive at my destination. I also was able to rent a car and drive in a city I didn’t know – a fact that I am (childishly perhaps) proud of.

In hindsight, this trip from hell made me realize one thing: the worst situations, always, at some point or another, come to an end. There is always a solution – maybe not one you’d counted on – but a solution all the same. And of course the things that seem absolutely tragic today may only be a blip on your radar tomorrow. It’s all a matter of perspective. 

And I guess patience – and avoiding religion talks in crowds of irritated people – are good things to remember to.