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With most schools out for winter break last Friday and some workplace started their two-week holiday shutdown, the busy holiday travel season officially kicked off last Saturday December 17, but so did the stress that come along with it:
- My friends took the Friday redeye flight to JFK (READ: 4 tips for sleeping on a red eye flight in economy), landed on time but the plane had to wait on the runway for a long time without a gate due to snow. It took them over 13 hours door to door. They weren’t too happy with whoever wished for a white Christmas.
- Another couple flew United to Florida to catch a two-week back-to-back Caribbean cruises but their flight was delayed for three hours due to incoming flight delayed. Luckily they had access to the American Express Centurion Lounge at SFO (READ: Should pets be allowed in the Centurion Lounge?), more time for free food, alcohol and online shopping, but hopefully not one click away from bankruptcy!
- My family got up at 3am to catch the 6am flight on American Airline to get to Mexico through Phoenix. Our flights were on time but everyone was a zombie all day!
Holiday travel always involves lots of uncertainty due to unpredictable weather condition across the country. There is no way around it and we can only pray Mother Nature would be kind to us. Sometimes plane breaks down unexpectedly and at that moment you probably wish you never fly again during the holidays.
My family often travel during the December holidays. It is only other time during the year besides summer that we can possibly take a two-week trip. Over the years we had our fair share of delays:
- Five years ago, we had a seven-hour delay for our flight to Los Angeles from Shanghai on American Airline due to a mechanical issue. When we were finally on the plane, the purser thought my husband was a famous writer. How else could your whole family would be in first class, right? (He obviously wasn’t in the points/miles game!) We missed the connection to SFO but made it home finally two days later than originally scheduled.
- Two years ago our Delta flight to LAX was delayed by five hours due to all-day pouring rain in the Bay Area. We got to LAX airport hotel at 2am only to get up 4 hours later to catch another flight to Puerto Vallarta where we spent two full weeks in the sun.
- Our AA flight on Saturday was not delayed. However, AA called me two days before the flight forcing me to downgrade one of us to coach because they “oversold the flight”?! I bought those five first class tickets way back in March! AA did offer compensation but honestly I rather kept the family flying together.
On Saturday night after dinner I had to swing by the front desk around 10pm to get a key because my husband managed to lock us out of both rooms (Yep don’t ask how!) I was shocked to see the front desk was packed! Apparently the Delta flight to Atlanta was cancelled after a six-hour delay due to mechanical issue.
Passengers were put up at Hyatt Ziva for the night and flight was to leave early next day. It looks like they all made it to Atlanta today.
Yes holiday travel could be stressful. But when you are finally home with the rest of the family cheering at the Christmas dinner table and opening presents by the fireplace, or lounging by the beach under the sun and watching your teenager kids playing soccer with other little kids on the beach, or sipping your morning coffee over this beautiful view, no stress is too big and all the effort of getting to your final destination is so worthwhile!
Safe travels and Happy Holidays! If you have a holiday travel story, we would love to hear it!