Through The Eyes of a Chance Passenger
Have you ever tried betting on the lottery? In my 32 years of existence I can’t ever recall buying a lottery ticket. But the lottery can come in many forms. And in the past few days I’ve realized we can get lucky in many different ways that may pass us by. You don’t even need to buy a ticket! If we keep our eyes open and look out for opportunities there are so many good things that we can be grateful for in our everyday lives.
Here is just my latest “I have won the lottery moment”.
Have you ever been a chance passenger for an airline flight on standby?
My friend kindly showed me and offered how I can get seats for free. Through a perk of being an employee in an airline, paying only taxes, with a ‘buddy pass’.
Having a stopover in Narita from a trip, we set of to book a flight with this pass from Narita to New York. Seeing the flight opportunities we saw there were many seats available. And seeing there were even opportunities for the premium or business class seats. Everything went well for the first leg from Narita to Chicago. But with a little time to spare from the delay of the flight and with a long line for clearance, immigration and customs this is where my adventure began.
An Adventure of a Lifetime
The lady who took my luggage for the connecting flight was even my cheerleader that told me to “go, go, go – you better hurry if you want to make it,” So I ran really fast and made it to the gates for Chicago to Newark. Little did I know that even if I made it to the gates, being on a stand by flight you are the last to board.
The 5:55pm flight was full. So the airline automatically puts you on standby as a chance passenger for the next flight. It was at 6:30pm, I still didn’t make this one, and to the next at 8pm and at 9:30pm. At this time, I was already trying to trouble shoot different ways of getting to my destination. Because I heard on the speaker phone that the airline overbooked flights and were offering revenue passengers compensations and a place to sleep for the night. Some options were travelling to Philadelphia and taking a bus from there to New York. But I also didn’t make it.
But I still tried to be optimistic about the situation. So I asked familiar faces that I saw waiting on these flights and some who regularly do the buddy pass. One was even there at 1:30pm and already waiting. Little did I know that of course, being a Sunday and mother’s day- flights were extremely full. With passengers just wanting to get to their destination those that were paying were first on the list. An addition to this was New York is one of the busiest airports. All of this was in my lesson learned and NOTED memory box.
New York was so near yet so far as a chance passenger
So Near, Yet So Far
This was the first time I had experienced being on standby as a chance passenger. So I made the most out of it. I was thinking, it is just like having a really long lay-over. Being my extroverted self, I even made some friends. I took advantage to catch up on the many work I had to finish and worked away. Little did I know, with many to catch up on it was bright and early at 5am in the morning.
I waited at the gate for the 6am flight and it was another full flight. So really, being number 23 on the stand by list, what were my chances? Already missed that one and there was a next plane for departure at 6:30am, Being a little bit nervous about the situation because my cousins were already waiting for me to come and we only had a week together. Spoke to one guy who does stand by frequently. And he said the longer you stay on standby the longer you wait. I then went to a different gate to see if we could get on a flight to Philadelphia. There were a whole lot of people on standby too. Understanding the reality of our situation, I just went back to the gate and checked out my name at standby number 27. Meaning there were 26 more people ahead of me in a full flight… what are the chances of me getting on flight? Very, very slim.
Hoping for Miracles
I was still hoping and saying Hail Marys and waited for more names to be called but I was not among them. The lady seeing me in front of her asked me for my name and number and said “nope – you are still far down the list.”
While waiting patiently and still not able to do much, the lady on the speaker was calling different names. Some were showing up glad to get a seat and some possibly were tired of waiting and thinking they wouldn’t get the flight, weren’t showing up. My heartbeat went on faster, with the hopes of miracles in these situations. And then, magically, just like winning the lottery, there was someone who wanted to deplane the flight. I remember him vividly carrying a cup of coffee coming out of the airplane. Still the lady, continued to call out people’s names, less and less of them were showing up. And in instance, numbers 27 came up and I boarded the flight to La Guardia. Phewwwwwww, with a big SIGH and SMILE on my face. What were the chances, sometimes we just get lucky?
There are always two or three or more ways to see every situation, choose to see the good in everything, and everything will just flow. ☺
I was able to enjoy the week and enjoy and work in my favourite spots in the city.
This may be a little story but experiences like this happen to people every day. We can choose to get stressed, become anxious or remain calm and make the most out of the situation. Just like in life, even if we don’t win all the time, it is important to be optimistic and create possibilities to do so all the time.
Here are some few tips for any chance passenger:
- Be prepared for the adventure, have a good book to read or work you have to finish – you will spend a lot of time waiting, might as well be productive.
- Wear comfortable shoes – I checked my pedometer and that day in the airport I made 22,000 steps! It was a win-win! I even got my exercise on check while looking for different gates to go to next.
- Travel light – not knowing if you will be waiting for a while or having to change airports, traveling light always helps.
- Bring the essentials – bring an extra set of clothes in your carry-on and all your toiletries you may be needing for an extra night that you may have.
- Take advantage of meeting people through your adventure – take the time for small talks (for people that are interested of course) the way you get to know a country is through its people, with a lot of time to spare meeting and hearing life stories of people will find a way to teach you something.
- Always be vigilant – keep your belongings close, have all your travel documents ready and organized, and from time to time always ensure you know what gate and time the next flight may possibly be.
Living life taking these chances of being on ‘stand by’ made me realize that even if we don’t win a million bucks in the lottery, the exhilaration of others’ “wins” gives us exciting and interesting times. It is all up to us to make the most of it. Remain calm and sooner or later we will get what we have been waiting for. Being patient, pro-active and journeying with others is what life is about. Rejoice in their success too and once in a while it will be our turn to win – when numbers like 27 come up against the odds.