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January 18, 2016

Real Talk: Sometimes Traveling Sucks

Let's talk about airlines.


I've never met anyone who hasn't had at least one miserable, horrible experience with a flight. I definitely have had my share of terrible flight experiences.

There was the time that my direct flight from India got cancelled after a bombing near the airport and I had to pay $600 in  fees to change my flight to one with two connections, one of which got rerouted, making it three stops before I finally made it home...32 hours later.

Or the time that I flew 15 hours on an international flight to Africa without food after I had requested a vegetarian meal in advance and the plane hadn't been stocked with them. 

How about the time that my bag got lost and when it arrived, it was COMPLETELY empty...as in EVERY SINGLE ITEM out of the bag had been stolen...dirty clothes and all.

I could go on and on...and on...and on...and on but you get it. Sometimes traveling really sucks. The problems I've had can happen on any airline. Flight problems are inevitable.

Airlines have so many moving pieces, it's a miracle that flights take off and land every single day.

My husband is one of the many moving pieces that make that happen. He flies anywhere from 3-5 flights a day and I'm constantly in awe of how he does it. 

He started flying commercially five years ago, at the peak of the recession, when most airlines had furloughed thousands of pilots and when finding a job as a pilot was considered to be nearly impossible. He is truly living his dream. He loves being a pilot...which is not an easy thing to love doing. It's stressful, it's tiring, it doesn't pay well, and he's never home. He's still working his way up in the industry so instead of flying to glamorous places like London and Singapore, he's flying to places like Cody, WY and Harlingen, TX, but he'll get there one day. He's working really hard to.

This is why it really grates me when people ask who he flies for, and their immediate response is "Oh that sucks. I hate that airline."

Umm. What am I supposed to say to that? 

This isn't an isolated incident. It happens all the time. I always respond with something like, "Well, he's really happy there." Then they proceed to tell me about some horrible story they've had and how they'll never fly that airline again. 

There are three major airlines in this US...they're known as legacies in the industry. My husband works for one of them and he's really proud of that. I'm really proud of that. So I'm sorry but I really don't care that you had a bad experience on that airline one time...and he doesn't either. 

The pilot rarely has anything to do with what causes your lousy flight experience. They're just there to fly the planes.

So the next time you meet someone who's a pilot (or married to one!) and they tell you who they fly for, just tell them that that's great and leave it at that. Save your horrible travel stories for brunch because honestly, they're much better with a drink in hand! 

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