Thai Airways and the Joy of Cancelled Flights
Thai Airways has been in hot water for recent flight cancellations to Europe. The cancellations, a result of Pakistan’s decision to close off its airspace, left thousands of travelers stranded at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
This turn of events was definitely a logistical nightmare for the airline, as well as the airport as a whole. Travelers lined up in queues longer than an afternoon at Changwhattana for seemingly no reason. Those who attempted to call the customer service center were guided through a labyrinth of automated call screeners only to find that no operators could be reached.
Events like this are often described as frustrating, stressful, and inconvenient. Photographs of weary passengers, squatted uncomfortably on top of their TUMI luggage, are circulated as evidence of the torment that these victims of circumstance are forced to endure. At some point one must look at the coverage with a critical eye and wonder, are cancelled flights as bad as they’re made to look?
It doesn’t take a multimillion dollar PR firm to find the upside of cancelled flights. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why being stranded at an airport can actually be a good thing.
You’re not here forever.
As tedious as waiting in an airport terminal can be, it’s important to remember that at some point you will be on a flight home. It has been reported that customers holding Thai Airways tickets for cancelled flights will be able to change their itinerary at no cost.
Flight delays are an opportunity to practice patience as you learn to accept the things you cannot control. Being trapped in an airport with no explanation or timeline is one of the only times in your adult life when you’re not responsible for the inconvenience you’re facing. Speaking of which…
You get to be irresponsible.
Have you ever seen that Tom Hanks movie “Big”? If you haven’t, you really should. Basically, this kid wishes that he could grow up and be an adult. Next thing you know, he’s Tom Hanks living in New York, playing pinball in his penthouse and nibbling on baby corn at a five star restaurant. How does this relate? Well, if you’re stuck at an airport through no fault of your own, you get to be Tom Hanks.
Stuck in the terminal? Go wild at the airport bar. Tequila sunrise for breakfast, Sex on the Beach for dessert, then fill your tipsy tummy with some overpriced Burger King and fall asleep near an electrical socket. Who can judge you? You’re a man with no country!
Not yet checked in? Enjoy the extra few days of vacation. Even if you don’t have the budget to party at a nightclub, find a cheap hotel with free wifi and “treat yourself” for a few hours. No one can hold anything against you when they think you’re screaming obscenities at ticket counter like a stock broker in the 20s.
Speaking of late 80s/early 90s family films, isn’t being isolated from the people you care about one of the most relatable, fun aspects of the “Home Alone” franchise? In that case…
Being stuck in an airport makes you feel detached, and it’s great.
Beyond the freedom to be irresponsible, being stuck in a foreign country gives you an inimitable sense of detachment that resembles opiate abuse but without the crippling addiction. There are no bills to pay, no loved ones to feed, and though you may feel uncomfortable with your body odor, none of the thousands of pedestrians waddling around you will ever have any direct effect on your life.
Feel free to wander the walkways of terminal 3 with your headphones in, observing the matrix of life swirling around you as if you were a ghost haunting the Cinnabon. Turn off your phone and meditate to the sounds of crying infants and business calls. For the next few hours, your existence is inconsequential, and it’s beautiful.
You’re a victim, take advantage of it.
Booking a hotel room for the night? Request an upgrade. It’s extra effective if you can mention the funeral you’re missing. Need some extra cash? Make up some extenuating circumstance and create a GoFundMe about it. Having trouble in your relationship? Gripe about it through text and insinuate that you expect a lot of charitable acts when you get home.
Ben Franklin said, “God helps those who help themselves”. So help yourself to some unapologetic attention grabbing. You deserve it.
If you’re not actually affected by this, take advantage as well.
Oh, you’re not flying today? You don’t know anyone stuck at the airport? Well, don’t worry, you’ve also got a few options.
Remember, thousands of people have been stuck at the airport waiting for their flights. Do you have any idea how many Air Pods, Beats headphones, and power banks have been lost at their gates? Do you know how many Air Pods, Beats headphones, and power banks YOU’VE coincidentally lost at one of those gates? When things calm down, call up ‘lost and found’ and describe your extremely common, easily misplaced electronic item and hope that they’ve got a handful of them waiting to be returned.
So, as flights get rescheduled and travelers return home, it’s important to remember that every cloud has a silver lining. The next time you experience an unexpected inconvenience, remember to look for the positives. Or, at the very least, detach.