Next to traveling by train through Europe, air travel to some of my favorite international destinations is by far the best. Having a first or business class window seat looking out during take off and as the plane soars through the clouds and especially during an overnight flight as day breaks during landing and seeing the scenery of the country that you’re touching down in. Some of those experiences are priceless and when I look back at my passport and all of the stamps, I realize that I wouldn’t change it for the world. But with all of the fun times in traveling, there are of course those not so fun times, the stressful times which fortunately, I haven’t had many (knock on wood) to complain about but they’re always linger around especially if you don’t know how to navigate through the system.
Today marks my first international flight since the world wide lockdown and I can’t begin to explain how excited I am to be returning to Helsinki Finland, a place that I’ve been coming to since 2007. An extremely beautiful country that’s lush and green with great food and some of the best parties I’ve played or been to. Being my first international flight, I was hoping that everything would run smooth as I took the Philadelphia to Chicago flight for a short layover to depart Chicago in route to Helsinki. But smooth as I’d hope wasn’t the case especially after getting a notification that my Philadelphia flight was going to be delayed by an hour which would make my arrival into Chicago at 4:48 with my departing flight to Helsinki at 5:35p. Sure if this was a typical domestic flight I could’ve probably made it but being this was an international flight and there is most likely only one flight leaving for the day, I didn’t want to risk it.
In my early days of travel I wouldn’t have known what to do to get around this situation but as a seasoned veteran and frequent flyer you come to know the in’s and outs and how to move flights around. Most times when there are flight cancellations people rush to the customer service lines to get rebooked which is what you should do but what happens when everyone on that flight is in the line and they’re trying to rebook people on other flights?
Here’s a tip: While waiting in line, use the airline app to get faster booking options. This way if by the time you get to the counter there are not more options, you’ll have already gotten something hopefully via the app. Another option which works perfectly especially if you have priority status is to call the dedicated customer service line (also while waiting in line). Most times you can get bumped to the front of calls because of your status but in the case of there being an overwhelming call volume, you’ll still get to speak with a customer service rep before not status flyers.
After a 10 minute call this morning with customer service, they quickly rebooked me onto an earlier flight to Chicago which got me in a couple hours before my Helsinki flight which gives me enough time for lunch, to make my way to the Admirals Club lounge to kick up my feet, check emails and get some work done before boarding and passing out on my flight.