Traveling by plane can be stressful, even if you don’t have a fear of flying. Because there is just so many things that might go wrong! Here are 7 most terrible scenarios you never want to experience. Trust us – we do not want you to experience them either.
It is usually like that: you plan your trip in advance. You book a place to stay, you tell your boss, you’ll be gone for a couple of weeks, and, naturally, you buy your tickets, hoping that the weather will be merciful. Then, even though you know 1 month forecasts are as accurate as a teenage boy cleaning his bedroom, a few weeks before your trip you start tracking them. A week before you already check them compulsively. On the day of the flight you hope there is no fog, no hurricane, not even one cloud in the sky. Because when bad weather happens, your plane is either delayed or cancelled, directed to another city or returning to where it came from. And that’s not exactly what you planned, is it?
You were really careful not to be late. You came to the airport a few hours before the flight to calmly check in, pass the safety gate and maybe even drop by the duty free shops. And then you hear some of the most unpleasant words a passenger could hear: The flight № – wait a minute, isn’t that your flight? – from Belfast to Johannesburg – shoot! It is your flight! – is delayed due to some unexpected events.
You hate it when they are so unspecific. Because you never know how long you will have to wait. It can be 10 minutes, it can be 10 days! With a phrase like that you can expect just about anything: from a bad weather conditions, through volcano eruption that’s polluted the air for a couple of weeks, to even worse – Nicki Minaj’s arrival in South Africa for a concert. And you are stuck, because the crowd of crazy fans welcoming her at the airport devastated the terminal.
AIRLINE EMPLOYEES STRIKE
You understand them. You really do. Their jobs are not easy, the money could be better, the hours shorter… You are sympathetic, because they are only trying to fight for what they deserve. But honestly, how much longer can they strike? They made their point, right? The CEOs understood already that without them the airline would go bankrupt in less than a month. And for heaven’s sake, why do they have to strike today?! This is your first trip in years and you’re missing it, because some people decided they aren’t going to work today. You were supposed to enjoy your holiday, and spending them in the airport is not exactly what you had in mind.
Somehow you checked in. You found your gate and even entered the plane and got to your seat. Only to find that for the next couple of hours your neighbor is this chatty, fifty-something lady, who won’t stop showing you pictures of Princess, Daisy and Poppy, her three not-so-adorable cats. Oh look, in this one they are hunting a rat together… And all that before your plane even took off. So you desperately search for a way out. You check your ticket again, and apparently you made a mistake – your seat is not 86. It’s 98! You excuse yourself and go to the proper seat. Which is right next to a guy that’s acting strange and is all sweaty. The moment you realize he is afraid of flying, you suddenly get curious about what Nancy has to say about her visit to the vet the other day… But it’s too late now, so you just sit and try to relax, which is normally not a problem, but in these circumstances, you are having trouble staying calm. You know this is ridiculous, yet you re-check your seatbelt. And then it hits you – the fear of your co-passenger is so strong, it somehow transfers to you. You will feel uneasy the whole flight and there is not a lot you can do about it…
This situation is actually really serious and the most terrifying of all mentioned in this text. You don’t even want to think about what would happen if a plane had a malfunction, because, well, for starters, you are 10 km (over 30 000 ft) in the air. You expect a coffeemaker to work flawless, not to mention engines! However, machines are machines, and on very rare occasions some parts stop working the way they were supposed to. But when they do, you know there is absolutely no need to panic (easier said than done), because the constructors of the plane designed a number of safety mechanisms to prevent serious accidents. Also, you remember, that the personnel is excellently prepared for incidents like that. Every pilot undergoes the same trainings as capt. Sullenberger, who in 2009 landed safely on the Hudson River after bird strike and engine failure. Or capt. Wrona, who performed a textbook belly-landing in Warsaw Chopin airport after a mechanical failure of the landing gear in 2011. With pilots like that, there is nothing to worry about.
You finally arrive to your destination point. You leave the plane, go to the terminal, walk to the baggage claim and you wait. First for the carousel to start. Then for your suitcase to come up. There are less and less people around you. You get a little anxious. Now there’s noone left but you. And then the carousel stops. At this point, you were already prepared for that, since you spent nearly 40 minutes waiting. You go to the customer service office, and they tell you it is impossible. That you must have overlooked your luggage. Someone else must have taken it. Are you sure you don’t have it with you? You kindly wait while they make a few phone calls and after that you are informed that they are truly sorry, they don’t know how this happened, but instead of Boston, Massachusetts, your suitcase was accidentally sent to Turku, Finland.
MISSING THE FLIGHT
You are prepared. Your suitcase has been packed for days now. You are leaving for the airport early, willing to sacrifice a couple of hours on waiting. And something unpredictable happens. Like a traffic jam in a place you would never expect to be stuck. Or a friend that is supposed to drive you to the airport, who informs you over the phone he’s just got a flat tire. Or halfway to the airport you remember, your passport is still where you left it: on the kitchen counter in your apartment. And suddenly you know: you will miss the flight.
WHAT TO DO?
In cases like that, there’s unfortunately not a lot you can do. It’s hard to predict them, they’re almost impossible to prevent, and usually you can’t even blame anyone. So basically the only option you have is to make sure that the consequences of those dreadful situations are as harmless as possible. The best way to do that is to choose highly recommended airlines, that are known for their punctuality and standards. They have protocols for almost every incident and are able to help you fix the problem. You can also buy the insurance which not only offers assistance for most of the cases, but also, what is more important, allows you to stay calm and relaxed. Come what may – you are covered.