Friday, July 29, 2011


Dear Travelers,

As expats, we are often frequent travelers. And if you are like me, you are an "Often often" traveler, so it just stands to reason that at some point the best laid travel plans of mice and men will, as poet Robert Burns said in 1785, go often askew. (Ok, I paraphrased.)

But the point is that the more we fly, the greater our chances are of having something go wrong. (I think that is a mathematical notion, but I don't speak math, so I am not 100% sure!)

Wednesday was one of these "askew" days for me.
I was supposed to leave DFW airport at 440pm, putting me in Billund, Denmark at 1:20pm on Thursday. Mads had already arranged to take the afternoon off to pick me up and we had a cosy evening planned with just the two of us and Albert and Emmitt, of course! 

Well, the 440 flight was going to take me to Memphis where I would catch the big bird to take me across the pond, but it was suddenly pushed back to a 515 departure (meaning that my time to catch the big plane in Memphis was going to be really tight). Then the 515 became 635 and then the 635 became "We're sorry, but this flight has been canceled due to technical problems." So my best laid plans went really askew....

And I, like the other dozens of folks on that flight, headed over to the ticketing agents to see about rebooking on a new flight. I already knew at that point there was no way I was getting out of Dallas that night... 

(image from:
This is the point in the story when I met "Linda", the Delta agent whose line I was in. 

Well next to Linda were three other agents, doing the same thing she was doing....trying to get folks to their destinations, but their lines looked a bit different than mine did. You see, I determined before I got up to the desk that my "NOT getting home on time" was NOT Linda's fault and I was not going to let my frustration and sadness ooze out onto her. 

I only wish that the other travelers in the other agents' lines had done the same because you see, each of them wanted the problem solved in the ONE WAY that would suit them best...regardless what that computer screen was telling the agent. They sighed. They grunted. They threw their papers down. They raised their voices. All behaviors directed at people who I am 100% certain did NOT cause our flight being canceled.

Linda and I, however, had a lovely time. I was tired, but I stood there as patiently as possible while she searched for options. I was one of the only folks on this canceled flight whose ultimate destination was international, so Linda had to work extra hard.

Well, I can report to you travelers that my attitude affected her attitude which affected the service that I received. Not only did she get me rebooked on a better flight for the next morning, she got the baggage guys to find my luggage so I would not be in the same icky clothes for the next 2 days AND she got me a window seat on the international leg of my flight.. all without my asking.

A little attitude goes a long way---- but the direction of the long way is determined by what KIND of little attitude you give to people.

I hope all of us frequent flyers will remember that those ticket agents did not cause our heartaches and they are really doing their best to fix them... so show a little kindness. I guarantee you will make someone's day, as well as your own, BETTER, no matter how frustrating the situation is! 

 (written from a Ramada Inn airport hotel, as the planes fly overhead)


Susanne said...

I totally agree with you Kelly.
My niece is a ticket agent for Lufthansa, and I cannot believe the horrible stories she is telling us! Hope you made it home safely!

Jan said...

I guess the others went with the idea "a squeaky wheel gets the grease"...doesn't usually work, though! 'Hope your next round of flights is better! :-)

Skogkjerring said...

Hey girl,
I was catching on to the fact that your flight didn´t go as planned on fb but hadn´t had enough time to really pay attention to what happened. I totally agree with you, you win more bees with honey...attitude is everything...and you definitely reap what you soe. Hope I spelled that correctly!
I think if you have ever worked in customer service of any kind you have a different respect for what those people go through...
Glad you got home safely finally!! Enjoy your evening with your boys :-)
OH and yeah, I figured Albert would like to hear there will be a bichon joining the Kippernes gang...will make coming to Norway a little more tempting next time maybe??? hehehehe...I think we are going to call her Cookie ;-)))

Anonymous said...

You have such a great attitude to life! And a positive attitude is contagious!

Corinne said...

The ONLY time I've lost my temper with a ticketing agent was when I was re-routed around California (from LAX to Munich my flight was changed to LAX to San Diego to San Francisco to Munich) because of Lufthansa strikes. And then because of delays through security caused by said strikes, I missed my Oslo flight by a hair, and the woman at the ticket counter raised a brow and asked, "Why exactly did you miss your flight today?"

I know it has to be a standard question, but I lost it then and stamped my foot like a petulant child while answering quite huffily that the Lufthansa strikes caused me to miss my flight, thank you very much. Not my shining moment, I tell you.

But I agree with you that it's not the counter agent's fault that mechanical failures and other issues cause delays. I know many of us are cranky and hate being delayed, but we should do our best to be polite. I had great service this last trip when I missed my connection in Newark, and the lady at the counter busted her ass to get me into Los Angeles that evening. She saved my sanity!

Mark said...

Great post!

And I can assure you, that it works in many more places..

Before I started studying, I worked at the service desk at Kvickly Xtra (a store that sells food, clothes, electronics and lots of other stuff).. I know from myself and every single one of my coworkers at that desk, that if a costumer came to the desk with an aggressive or negative attitude, often they would get nothing more than the level service they were entitled to..
If a costumer comes with a positive attitude, it's a lot easier to go that extra mile or stretch the rules if possible (e.g. a thing like the 2 weeks return-period could easily be extended a couple of days if needed)..

So always keep that in mind.. You might blow of some steam by shouting, but it'll be a lot easier to get what you're asking for, if you behave yourself and smile.. :)

Unknown said...

I agree with this 100% I once had a flight cancelled, and behaved in the same polite, patient manner as you, and they ended up squeezing me on a Frist Class trans continental flight the very next morning. It was worth the wait!