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The Skies Are Friendlier Than You Think

William Golding could have penned last Wednesday’s scene at JFK. A blizzard raged across the runways, planes circled without landing, and passengers turned savage over increasingly-long delays. The storm’s arm wasn’t a short one either. With over 7,000 cancelations owed to the post-Christmas snow, travelers as far as California were feeling the delays–and the pressure was on for airline employees.

As Rachel mentioned in her last post, Steven Slater’s dive down the emergency chute brought a lot of attention to the plight of airline employees and the situations they have to deal with. While the last straw for Slater may have been a suitcase to the head, there are plenty of other instances where passengers have turned unpleasant: the assault on a teen who wouldn’t turn off his iPhone is only the most recent example. Indeed, instances of passengers behaving badly have become so widespread that we’ve even coined a term for it: air rage.

Maybe that’s why I was so surprised by the friendliness I encountered on my holiday flights.

From the absolute warmth of Frontier Airlines‘ flight attendants to the supreme patience of an overwhelmed United ticket counter worker, I found myself continually impressed with the way airline staff were handling the holiday crowds. Even when the turbulence was brutal and the planes were packed, they persevered.

And as far as above and beyond goes? When I lost my driver’s license on a flight to San Francisco, I had a JetBlue flight attendant contact me and offer to mail it back. Off the clock. Out of the goodness of her heart. And for free. So while some people may take the storms as an unpleasant New Year’s omen, I’ll take the thoughtfulness of that act as a positive one.

Found!!! Yay!!

How do you see your travel year panning out?


Photo Credits: “Plane flying into the clouds” by jackie weisberg; “Found!!! Yay!!” by Kate Beall


My name: Kate Beall

How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.

Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.

First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.

View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.

Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.

Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.


Cathy Hinojosa

OMG!!! 7,000 cancellations!!! I’m flying in January! Hope the weather is good!!!

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