If you ask most entertainers about traveling on the road, they’ll tell you, "That’s why they pay me.” Performing is the fun part. Travel is the part that feels like a “job,”and entertainers hate jobs. That’s why we’re entertainers.
I travel a lot in a year working cruise ships, corporate events, and sometimes comedy clubs. Most of the time, my travel goes smoothly. But every now and then it’s my turn to have a LONG day of delays, cancelled flights, and missed connections.
I was traveling to Barbados to meet the Norwegian Breakaway, one of NCL’s newest ships. My day started at 5:30 am in Fargo, North Dakota. My flight itinerary had me flying from Fargo, to Dallas, then Miami, and finally Barbados. Yeah, three flights, all with an almost three-hour layover between each one. Like I said, this is the part that feels like a “job.”
But it’s all about your mental attitude, right? I was ready. I had a computer full of movies, and some new joke topics to work on. The flight to Dallas was fine, and the layover in Dallas went by surprisingly fast. Once I boarded the plane in Dallas, the wheels came off the wagon. The doors on the airplane closed, then soon after the captain announced, “Ladies and gentleman, we’re almost ready for departure, but one of the mechanics outside has noticed a leak coming from the plane, so before we start the engines we’re going to want to know what that leak is.”
I thought this was a brilliant idea. Let’s wait to start the jet engines until we find out what liquid is leaking out of the plane.
About 40-minutes later we pulled back from the gate, and…sat there. For over an hour. Then the captain came back on, “Ladies and gentlemen, we apologize for the delay, but now we have a sensor that doesn’t seem to be working properly. So, we’ll need to go back to the gate and wait for a technician to come fix it.” We sat for another hour before we went back into the gate, and waited another hour before we heard the captain again, “Sorry again, but we’re still waiting for the technician to arrive. Once he can check out the sensor we should be on our way in no time.”
If I were in an exit row, I probably would have popped the door, gone down the slide, and checked the sensor myself. Being arrested seemed better than being in that damn plane at this point.
By the time we took off I knew there was no way I was going to make my connection from Miami to Barbados. I fly the day before I’m scheduled to board a ship for this very reason, so I’m trying to stay positive knowing at the very least, I’m not missing the gig.
We land in Miami 5 minutes before my flight left for Barbados. Obviously, I spent the night in Miami.
At this point, it’s been a really, really, long day. People’s nerves and patience were fried, but I couldn’t believe the attitudes being thrown at airline representatives working the counter. Here’s a pro-tip: Don’t yell at the first person you see in a uniform, it’s not their fault! And they’re the one person who can salvage your day!
By the time it was my turn, the poor man behind the computer looked like he had been water-boarded. I said, "None of this is your fault, and I’m sorry it’s become your problem.” He relaxed and a small smile grew on his face. I know he wanted to smile bigger but I think he was still afraid of the people behind me. He thanked me for my understanding and after a few minutes on the computer I had the 1st flight out the next morning, food vouchers, and a nice hotel. He leaned in and said, “I got you one of our nicer hotel partners because you were nice.” You see people?! You catch more flies with honey!
The moral of this story: Don’t make your bad day someone else’s bad day. We’ll all have better days if we do that.