I’m finally home from a 6-week overseas trip. I spent 2 weeks in Australia (which included a bit of downtime as Alicia and I went scuba diving on the Barrier Reef), then finished off with a 4 week, whirl-wind tour of New Zealand. Jokingly, at the end of the trip, it was dubbed the natural disaster tour since we ran into quite a few natural issues. There was an earthquake in Christchurch that leveled quite a few buildings, there was flooding in Wellington and a snowstorm in Invercargil. Needless to say, it was quite an adventure and I can’t wait to go back and do it again.
Sunday of last week had us catching a flight from Auckland to Sydney. We got to the airport at 4:15 AM as our flight was scheduled to depart at 6:50. When we got there, we noticed that the flight had a new departure time of 10 AM. Great, we could have slept in. We went ahead and checked in, the lady offered to put us in an exit row and give us a meal voucher to use at the airport while we waited. At least they were nice about it. It’s amazing how foreign carriers seem to have a slightly higher value placed on customer service than American ones do.
Alicia passed out in a padded chair and sat there reading a book on my Kindle. When the plane was about to board, I was standing in line near the gate and some little girl next to me started poking her dad. That’s him, she said, that’s him! He looked at me and said they had seen me the previous night on Channel 1 News. Quick side note: New Zealand has Channel 1, 2 and 3 as their main tv stations…very creative I think. Anyway, I thought it was funny and we headed up to the gate.
When they scanned our ticket, it popped up as an error and they had us go over to the desk and find out what was wrong…great, we probably got bumped from the flight, plus we had to stand in line again. After standing at the desk for a couple minutes, the lady scanned our ticket, tore it up and handed us new ones…in Business Class. In case you’ve never traveled in Business on an international flight, it’s light years ahead of “First Class” in the states. The seats lay out flat, the food is fantastic, the service is top-notch, it’s an awesome experience. We had a great flight back to Sydney, though I did find that after my seat laid out flat, it had some sort of a malfunction going on and I couldn’t retract it for landing. I wasn’t allowed to sit there for landing as it could be a safety hazard, so they had me sit in one of the backward facing seats the flight attendants use, which is something I’ve never had the opportunity to do before on a plane.
So a terrible morning became an awesome flight. As we were waiting for our luggage, we chatted with a few other people that had been upgraded as well. It turns out that all the people that had showed up at the airport at 4 something got upgraded. Missing an extra 2 hours of sleep turned into a great experience.
It’s easy to get upset and frustrated when things don’t see to be going right, but we always have to remember that things will work out in the end. I fly a lot and this is one of the few times something like this has happened for me. I don’t expect that every delay I have will result in this kind of upgrade, but I do know that when I’m delayed, God’s going to work things out for me. The key is to keep our attitude right when things happen. I had another experience where I got upgraded because I was nice to the desk agent when everyone else was yelling at him. How we approach things really does make a difference. Plus, it opens up a ton of witnessing opportunities. People notice positive attitudes when things are falling apart. How on earth can you be positive in a time like this? The bible tells me that if I’m following God, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28 I’m not excited about what’s happened, I’m excited by what God’s going to do through this. It may not happen right now, but in time, I’ll see it.