Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I surrender to the travel gods

When I got bumped to #52 on the standby list with United, I finally accepted it was not meant that I should leave Chicago before Sunday morning. So I made use of United's discount at the Hilton connected to the airport -- I can walk between the hotel and terminal 1, underground, instead of having to find transportation -- and checked in and had a nice long soak in the tub. Then I took a nap and ordered room service and went online to check into my flight for tomorrow...and now feel human, again, instead of like a number.

I still found myself slipping into this "What'd I do to deserve this?" crap, which does nothing but make you feel worse, so just flat decided not to let that happen. It wasn't easy...but by reminding myself that I --

1. did not freak out on anybody but kept trying to work within the chaos of United's non-system (until I WAS about to lose it and pulled back to get this room) and --

2. found I can handle travel delays the like of which are happening more and more, these days (partly due to the weather and partly due to airlines cutting themselves so tight, when something does go wrong they haven't got the ability to adapt), and --

3. I'm back to a point where I have the flexibility I needed to handle it (having space on my credit card and cash in the bank so I didn't have to face this hungry or stay at the airport another night without bathing or changing clothes) --

I've seen that I can still roll with the punches, more than I was able to 25 years ago.

I will say this -- I'm finding I get as good of service and a much better deal at lower end hotels than upper end. Staying at La Quinta includes free WiFi and a breakfast. Hilton charges for absolutely everything, and not minimal amounts, either. $18 for WiFi that can barely stream news videos? Another $8 to use the Business Center to print your boarding pass? $37 for fish and chips and a beer, and they couldn't even get the order right? Not worth it.

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