While riding the bus to LaGuardia on Thursday I checked my email to discover that the flight for which I was heading to the airport had been canceled. I quickly flashed through a range of emotions that made me realize that anyone heading to the airport who receives a flight cancellation notice flashes through these 6 stages of grief:
1) Denial. I received two emails from Continental, each with the same message that my flight was being canceled. But when I received that second email I thought to myself, “oh, since I got two emails, maybe their email system is broken and the whole thing is just a mistake.” I re-read email #1; then email #2. They both said the same thing. Wait, I thought, this is not a mistake.
2) Irrational Anger. They suck!!! Suck!!!! Screw it, I’m only flying Delta. Continental never canceled flights before they merged with United. They always cancel flights now. Hell, they always canceled flights then. Have I even ever been on a flight that took off? They canceled that flight because they knew I had to be in Cleveland this afternoon. They’re doing it to get back at me for some reason. Did I write something about them they didn’t like? They always cancel every flight. I don’t think Continental even flies out of LaGuardia. Why did I book that flight? Obviously they’re going to cancel. That’s it, I’m mailing back my elite card.
3) Rational Thought. Hold on. I can’t even think of the last time my flight was canceled. They probably didn’t cancel this flight just because I’m on it. That doesn’t make sense. And it’s foggy. Very foggy. Soupy. Soupy fog. No one is flying in this. They aren’t out to get me (probably). I’ll just call the airline. They’ll re-book me. Yeah, I have status. They’ll rebook me. Or move me to another airline. Yeah, they’ll do that. Maybe an earlier flight is delayed and I can get on that. Yeah – I’ll get on that earlier flight that hasn’t left yet.
4) Acceptance. What are my options? There’s no flight before 1? That’s not going to get me there on time. What about other airlines? All full? OK, fine, I get it. I’ll take the 1pm. But why am I even bothering to go – I’m going to arrive after my meeting is over.
5) Relapse. Arrive at Presidents Club. Note that earlier flight is indeed delayed and not yet departed. Ask agent if I can be placed on earlier flight. Not so fast, Blank. 50 seats, 49 checked in, #3 on waitlist. Maybe if I start crying, they’ll reconsider.
6) Elation. Head down to the gate, even though I know I’m basically #52 on a flight with 50 seats. Stand around. Talk with other standby passengers. Make joke about the mixed feelings I’ll have if I get on as, on one hand I cleared waitlist, on other hand I will then find myself in Cleveland. Realize person is from Cleveland and does not find joke funny. Hear name called. Somehow clear waitlist. Get on plane. Depart. Arrive before original flight would have arrived. Success!