The Perfectly Timed Flight Delay
Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.
I sat in Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, anxiously checking my phone. 4 PM. I’d been in the airport since 9 AM. Would I ever get to leave?
I was on my way home from Oklahoma, where I went to visit family last week. I’d arrived at my gate on time, well prepared with snacks and a magazine to read. I’d double checked that I had my boarding pass and ID on hand. Then, just before boarding started, the airline employee at the counter made an announcement.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have a packed flight,” she said. “If anyone has flexible travel plans and can take a later flight, we’re offering a free flight voucher as a token of our appreciation.”
Flexible travel plans? Not me. I had plans that evening. In fact, I’d have just enough time when I landed to make it to dinner with friends back in New York. But I heard a voice inside. Take the later flight.
I looked up at the counter. Only one other person had volunteered. Just do it, I thought. Your friends will understand. I shot them a quick text, walked up to the counter, and signed up for the later flight. The lady thanked me and printed out my flight voucher.
Now, though, I had to wonder if I’d done the right thing. I was grateful for the voucher, but spending all afternoon in the airport was making me restless. I’d already eaten lunch. Read my magazine. Walked around the terminal. And there were still two hours to go.
A voluntary flight delay, I thought, chuckling to myself. What had I been thinking? I needed to get home. I had work the next day. I’d messed up my plans all because of some silly little voice. No wonder only one other person had volunteered.
At 6 PM, I finally boarded my flight and slept the entire way home. By the time I made it home, it was 11 PM. I plopped down on the couch exhausted and checked my email.
One new message from my Aunt Jay, who lives in Seattle. I clicked on it.
“Hi Dan, I might see you soon! I'm thinking of coming back East for my friend’s memorial in New Jersey this September. I just need to see if I have money for the flight.”
The silly little voice that urged me to take the later flight? Maybe not so silly after all. I clicked “reply” and told my aunt she had nothing to worry about—I had her airfare covered.
Assistant editor Dan Hoffman became a part of a reader’s story.
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