I’m a pretty organised person. When it comes to my work life anyway. I join calls on time. I arrive for meetings early. I prepare well in advance, and don’t like leaving things to chance.
Flying then, is not the most enjoyable of experiences for me. But working for a European company based out of Melbourne means long haul flights are part of the job. I travel to Europe for work 4 times a year. And despite all the stories of delays, cancellations, emergency landings and what have you, I haven’t so much as lost a single piece of luggage yet. Maybe because I’m organised, or perhaps I’ve just been lucky.
I did have a close call recently. I had planned a 3-day workshop in the Netherlands and wanted to spend as little time as possible away from home. So I organised a tight itinerary: departing Melbourne on Monday afternoon, with a short layover in Hong Kong, landing in Amsterdam on Tuesday 7 AM, for a 9 AM start. I would be back home Saturday evening.
I arrive at Melbourne airport early – as I said I don’t like leaving things to chance. I do however like the massage at the Aurora Spa in the Qantas International First Lounge (courtesy of frequent flyer status). So I have that massage (obviously) and relax.
Then, an announcement: “Boarding of flight CX104 is delayed by 30 minutes.” I have a 90-minute layover. Airlines build in plenty of buffers. No need to worry. I’m still relaxed.
That changes with the next announcement. There’s a “technical issue with the aircraft”, and boarding is “delayed indefinitely”. Indefinitely. I can’t afford to miss my connecting flight. I need to be sharp and focussed tomorrow morning. And I certainly can’t afford to miss the workshop altogether. Anxiety starts to set in…
After a considerable delay, we finally board. I fly to Hong Kong not knowing if I’ll catch my connecting flight. I try to think of a way to recreate the sense of calm I felt just a few hours ago. I rifle through my amenities kit and find a little “relaxing and hydrating facial mist” bottle. I toss preconceptions aside, and envelop myself in what can only be described as a soothing mist of Nordic pinewood forest dew, and take a deep breath. It works. It works really well – it actually helps me relax and feel refreshed.
Once in Hong Kong, it’s tight, but I catch my connecting flight, land in Amsterdam at 7 AM, and kick off the workshop at 9. Needless to say by that time the spray bottle is empty, but I feel surprisingly fit considering I’ve just travelled for the past 24 hours.
The workshop was a resounding success. I’m back home Saturday evening, as planned. And I’ve packed carry-on mist spray on long haul flights ever since.