Air Travel and Having a Plan B

by Sherryl Perry on April 4, 2011

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For those of you who don’t already know, I took a quick vacation in Florida last week. The plan was to be back on a Monday and post my weekly article on the Tuesday. Well, in case you didn’t notice, I did not post an article at all last week.

Yes, I confess. I don’t have a stockpile of articles waiting to post. I’ve written about this before and even though it seems a bit out of character for someone who is normally quite organized, I simply don’t write ahead. So, please bear with me while I share what happened on our well planned trip home from the sunny state of Florida. – And then feel free to share your own travel horror stories in the comment section if you’d like. 🙂

Last Day of Vacation –Scheduled for 6:50 pm Lift-Off

Arrived at the airport at 4:15 pm approximately 2 ½ hours before the flight (thanks to a husband who believes in being “early’). Everything was on schedule to go – until the skies opened to unleash severe thunderstorms. (These storms were nasty.) And then the announcements started.

Flights were being diverted and canceled. Planes couldn’t land due to lightning. Planes that did land could not be refueled, due to lightning. Planes that were diverted to Miami could not be refueled because the week before, there had been a fire that had destroyed several of their fuel tanks.

Having a Plan B – When the Unexpected Happens

Well, on and on this went until it became official (at 10:55 pm) that the 9:30 flight that we were on standby for had only one standby seat available. Since my husband and I had already agreed that we were staying together no matter what, we passed. (As we walked away, another couple was flipping a coin for the seat. I wonder how that marriage is going.)

Luckily, thanks to Wi-Fi access, a laptop and plenty of time, we were able to locate a nearby hotel. We logged on, booked and were hailing a taxi in no time. Moral of the story is don’t arrive 2 ½ hours early for a domestic flight or expect the unexpected (oh wait – isn’t that the theme for a reality show).

I interpret the experience as the universe telling us that we needed to relax more and enjoyed our bonus day. I counted myself blessed that everything worked out, I only had a bad sprain and no broken bones (oh, I forgot to mention tripping over luggage and falling at one point) and we were able to afford and find a place to stay in the once again sunny state of Florida.

It did serve as a reminder that I really should have a plan B for my blog too. Sure, I have backups and documentation and processes in place but I really should be better prepared for the unexpected. Have you had a similar traveling experience? How did you cope? Do you arrive at the airport 2 ½ hours early for a domestic flight?

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April Yap July 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

There should always be a plan B. That’s what I always put in my mind right now when I experienced a long wait in the airport but I guess there are more things that should be done so that you’ll not get bored and at the same time, enjoy the time while waiting. Thanks for sharing this great read.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 1, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Hi April,
When I wrote this post, I didn’t have a smartphone. That would have made making my plan B a lot easier. I remember wanting to look for a place to stay because it was getting increasingly apparent that we would not be flying out that night. We did have our laptop with us but there was no place to plug it in. Every power outlet was being used by someone charging their phone or MP3 player. Fortunately, someone overheard our dilemma and offered to let us use an outlet. (They mentioned that booking a room was more important than listening to music. 🙂 )

Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed my story!
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Rudee
Twitter:
February 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Hi Sherryl
I agree with you always have a plan B, that way you are never disappointed. When plan A doesn’t work we get stressed and then nothing gets accomplished. I have traveled a lot in my lifetime and if we didn’t have a plan B we would probably never travel again. In life the unexpected happens, so you accept it and move on. Traveling outside of the US is very challenging with language differences. I have found that you if don’t get upset, for the most part, things have a way of working themselves out. Attitude is important

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
February 22, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Hi Rudee,
I agree with you completely. Getting upset doesn’t accomplish anything. So far, I’ve only traveled to countries where English is spoken. I can imagine that it would be a challenge to travel to a country where English wasn’t spoken. I do not have an “ear” for foreign languages at all. After studying French throughout my high school years, I was able to read and write it (I even took my SATs in it) but I never could understand it or speak it fluently. I have great respect for people who are fluent in multiple languages.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..If Your Website Was a Wheel – Is Your Blog the Hub or a Spoke?My Profile

Daniel September 29, 2011 at 10:37 am

Glad I came across this site, your articles titles are genius each one I’ve read I thought “You’re right!”

Regarding plan B, I definitely agree, although it might be hard to sit back and relax, sometimes you just have to roll with the punches. My last vacation was nearly prolonged by a week, albeit a week in an Italian hospital, there is sometimes no escaping it, so agreed Plan B works!

tonypix September 28, 2011 at 5:42 am

Grumbling and mumbling make things worst. Positive attitude brings in more good thinking, good disposition and instant solutions to problems though it was not a problem at all. Any way you can plan clearly if you have this positive outlook. Next time you are stuck up on an airport, count it a part of God’s plan. make use of that time.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 28, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Definintely! I looked at the whole thing as a bonus day and it turned out to be one of the most fun days of the trip. We did count our blessings. We were able to book 2 more nights at another hotel and just go with the flow. I suspect that there were travelers who had to make due with sleeping in the airport at best.
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Audrey Ross September 23, 2011 at 1:49 am

I hate it when flights get cancelled. It doesn’t happen to me all the time but when it does, everything tends to go out of hand. Now, the best thing to do in that situation is to be positive. Things are already so negative and you really don’t want to add to the negativity. I usually keep quiet and think happy thoughts. LOL.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

I agree that keeping a positive attitude is the best answer in that situation. On that last trip where we were stranded for days, I kept counting my blessings. It actually turned out to be fun. You sound like you’d be fun to travel with. 🙂
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Wayne Jordan August 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I traveled non-stop for about a year while I was working on cruise ships. My employer booked my flights, and seemed to ignore layovers and connection times. Unfortunately, the ship sails whether the plane lands or not. More than once I found myself chasing a ship by flying from port city-to-port city.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 30, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Hi Wayne,
I hate having anyone book my flights. When I used to travel for business, I would research and find the flights that I wanted and either book the trip myself or print out the itinerary for the person who was in charge of booking them.

I just checked out your blog, left a comment, liked your FB page and am following you on Twitter. I enjoy reading travel blogs. 🙂
Sherryl Perry recently posted..3 Steps to Develop a Branding Strategy for Social MediaMy Profile

John Knights May 30, 2011 at 2:42 pm

My first and somehow a bit worst flight I had is when I had a flight at Singapore. It was because I was about to take a pee cause I can’t take it any longer and that was exactly the time were not allowed to stand cause were about to land and it took for almost about 30 mins holding it off.. sweat!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 30, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Sorry I never replied to your comment John! Somehow, I missed this one. I can’t imagine how long a flight from Singapore must be. The longest flight I’ve ever been on was to London. It was worth it bur what a long flight!
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Terje Sannarnes May 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Like in air traveling, it is always important for an online entrepreneur to have a plan B. I think that if you already have one successful web project or online business giving you good income it makes sense to start another project.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

That sounds like a plan to me Terje!
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Jill Tooley
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Sherryl, you always look on the bright side and I love that about you! I’m sorry to hear that your trip was chaotic, but it’s good that everything worked out in the end. 🙂

I always try to have a Plan B, whether with work-related tasks or with personal tasks, but it doesn’t always work out like I planned. Sometimes my over-preparedness gets me into trouble more so than spontaneous occurrences do! It’s not very positive of me, but I tend to be a “worst case scenario” type of person… But now I try to go with the flow whenever possible and tell myself that it’s not the end of the world if something goes wrong.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Hi Jill,
Sometimes, we need a Plan C! I find it helps to stay positive by always thinking, imagine how much worse this would have been if …… Then, I fill in the blanks. For example, what if we hadn’t been able to afford to stay in a hotel another 2 nights and had to sleep in the airport – or what if we had been traveling with small children and a crying baby. I run my what-ifs by my husband. He usually gives me a side-glance and then agrees. 🙂
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Aybi April 11, 2011 at 5:23 am

Having plan B is indeed necessary in all aspects of life. I am not a traveller but I learn the importance of having plan B when my previous company was forced to shut down due to economic recession. It was really distressing as I have no other means of earnings and paying monthly bills is the biggest problem I need to face. That’s when I realized that having plan B is really important so that when things happened unexpectedly, you’ve got other options to put into action.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 12, 2011 at 10:31 pm

That’s too bad that you had to go through that when your company shut down. I’m the “victim” of downsizing myself. Hopefully, we both have landed on our feet.

I like your blog very much and I tweeted your post for you. I would have left a comment for you but it was prompting me to logon to WordPress for some reason.

Aybi May 9, 2011 at 8:01 am

Thank you for re-tweeting my post. I really appreciate it. With regards to logging in to Wordpress, that’s something I need to change on that website.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 9, 2011 at 11:10 am

You’re welcome Aybi. I just tweeted this post for you too. It’s a good article but I still couldn’t leave a comment for you. It’s a simple fix under Settings > Discussion. Actually, I emailed someone else this morning about this same thing. Neither of you have contact forms either. There are lots of plug-ins for that. The one I use is Contact Form 7 but there are plenty to choose from.
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Billye Survis April 8, 2011 at 9:32 pm

My worst travel tale started with a 3 mile walk to the train station because there were no taxi’s available….that was the best part of the trip! My family and friends will no longer travel with my and after 4 years of marriage my husband has only gone on 2 trips with me. Seems like emergency landings, aborted take offs, lost luggage and armed military raides seem to follow me wherever I go. At least I always end up being able to laugh about it! 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 9, 2011 at 1:54 pm

LOL – You and I better never travel together. I once spent a week at a business conference wearing sneakers and a few casual items that I had in a carry-on because my luggage was lost (again). My bags are frequently searched and I’ve had to go through the full body scanner before. My husband swears it’s because I’m too friendly. His theory is that they look at me as someone who won’t complain if they harass me. But… emergency landings and armed military raids? You’ve got me beat on that! Maybe traveling with you wouldn’t be a good idea. No one may ever hear from the 2 of us again. 🙂 Bet we’d have a few laughs tho!

Dennis Salvatier
Twitter:
April 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm

A plan B is definitely a plus to have in your pocket. So sorry that you had to go through this, but the great thing is you used it to teach a valuable lesson. That’s so great! I’m like you and don’t really plan ahead for my posts. Mainly because I enjoy the immediate passion I feel about a subject and want that passion to be in the post. But I do title posts I haven’t written yet, so when I log onto to my blog I can run with the title and build upon it. Still, you’ve given me something to consider.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I look back on the delay as a “bonus” day and count my blessings that we didn’t have to camp out in an airport. I’m glad to hear that you don’t write ahead either. Someday I may but I think you make a great point about writing with passion. Our readers can surely see the difference. Have a good weekend Dennis. I’m glad you left a link to step 2 of your design process. I’m finding this interesting.
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Patricia@lavender-oils April 8, 2011 at 12:14 am

Hi Sherryl

Yay to your husband for arriving early. I do the same thing. And if it is an international flight at least 3 hours ahead LOL

When I was living and working in UK I would happily go 4 hours early as then I would know that if there was an accident on the motorway or snow slowing the journey down to the airport, I would not miss my flight back to Oz to visit my family 😉

However, one year I got there early and we were first fog-bound then snow-bound for 36 hours! Cos I was flying Qantas we were put up in a nice hotel and given meals. Some airlines just gave their passengers a rug & a pillow and they had to sleep at the airport!

I can’t understand when people complain when for safety reasons planes are grounded. I think at least when we do eventually take off, I will eventually land safely at my destination!

And as for visas. I was speaking at a conference in Spain, got to the counter to check in to leave UK and they wouldn’t let me get on the plane. No visa!!! Had been told didn’t need one but they had changed the rules. Didn’t let me know.

HELP had to let organisers know I was stuck at Luton airport. Had to go to London, get new visa (usually takes weeks, they did in couple of days when saw I was speaking in Spain) find somewhere to stay and try and stay calm LOL

Eventually got there but only had couple of days there instead of nice restful 5 days. I now check everything myself, whatever the tour operators say.

Patricia Perth Australia

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 8, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Wow! Snowbound for 36 hours. Thank goodness they put you up in a hotel. You sound like a calm traveler. I can’t imagine how early you would arrive at the airport if you were traveling with my husband. 🙂

Patricia@lavender-oils April 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm

I’d probably arrive the day before LOL But even though my friends in the UK would laugh at how early I wanted to get to the airport, many times it was just as well cos the traffic going into London is horrendous and also if it snows then the roads are treacherous so have to go very slowly and so I always got there on time 😉

Mind you, as I usually went home for Christmas or in the UK winter, even when I was leaving Perth to make the trek back to the UK and it was summer, not much traffic and not the crowds of Heathrow Airport; I still got there with hours to spare. My family know me well and whatever time I would say I needed to be there they would agree to LOL

Then we could sit and relax, have a refreshing cuppa and know I would be getting on the plane with time to spare 🙂

Patricia Perth Australia

Tia Peterson April 7, 2011 at 6:54 pm

I love plan B’s!! Good for you that you got a break from your blog. Didn’t it feel even the slightest bit freeing!?

I don’t write ahead, either. I plan ahead, but I don’t write ahead. If I had that kinda time, I’d become a professional blog writer. 🙂

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

It did feel freeing. Blogging should be fun. I felt like I was giving myself permission to put myself and my marriage first.

I like the idea of planning ahead rather than writing ahead Tia. I’ll start thinking of all those notes of random thoughts as planning. 🙂

Fred April 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Heh, life is always the most important. Most of my blog reading time is spent reading blogs by vacation related bloggers. I wonder how the whole travel and blog thing works for them sometimes. Seems like it would just ruin the fun of it.

Nabil April 6, 2011 at 9:13 am

I also don’t get that. Blogging while you’re on a vacation makes your vacation so much boring, unless you’re a full-time blogger living off of the income generated.

That way, you’re technically on vacation for free which rocks! 🙂

/Nabil, from Sweden.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

I was just hired to set up a blog for an author. She and her husband are heading off to Europe and are planning ” to walk the Santiago de Compostella pilgrimage trail”. Their plan is to walk 25 km a day and she plans on blogging from Internet cafes. There is such a sense of excitement and anticipation in her voice. I sense the difference is that writing is her passion and documenting her vacation will only enhance it for them.
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Keyuri Joshi
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm

I am a very type A person who tries hard to have a plan B. But alas the best intentions don’t always work out!

Got stranded in Salt Lake City on Christmas Eve. Plane had technical issues and pilots weren’t allowed to work over 12 hours (yet surgeons are.) We made the best of it and tried to look for a silver lining. We found some which helped. In the meanwhile, I learned to pack clean underwear, a couple of good books, necessary meds & vitamins not to mention my patience on my carry on luggage.

Now about the plan B for a blog…. I need to work on that one. It’s a great reminder. Thanks Sherryl!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I love the thought of packing patience in your carry on luggage! That’s another thing that I was grateful for Keyuri. We rarely check luggage. It’s just an opportunity for the airlines to loose it.

We should touch base every once in a while to see if either of us have that plan B for our blogs. Actually, I just decided to up my game and post twice a week. Let’s see how that works out. Something tells me, I’m never going to have that stockpile of posts I aspire to. 🙂

nazimwarriach April 5, 2011 at 12:01 pm

“Plan B” can be a topic of a Hollywood Action Film or of a Suspense Novel.
Best Wishes for your happy married life.

Susan Oakes
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 2:20 am

Happy Birthday by the way Sherryl.

I had an experience that was a double whammy. I was travelling back to Australia from Canada on a business trip and was going to be in transit in LA. As they clear you for US customs in Canada I was in breach of the visa and it is called Transit without visa. I was held in a special area with passport and ticket taken. Escorted on and off the plane by a security guard and by the looks of people passing I don’t think they were saying nice things. The plane to Australia was delayed for 3 hours and instead of enjoying the time in the business class lounge I had to sit with the security guard in the departure lounge. At least he had a sense of humour as we chatted while we waited.

Eventually we boarded and I got my passport back. The funny thing about this was at the time I was head of marketing for Australia and the company was an international travel company and the person who booked the flights didn’t think of checking my US visa which had expired. I would hate to think what would happened in the same circumstances today.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:58 am

Wow Susan! Both you and Catarina have such interesting stories. It must have been so disconcerting to have been sitting there next to a security guard without either your passport or ticket.

That is ironic that you were on a business trip for an international travel company at the time. Sounds like you made the best of a bad situation. I too wonder how your story would have turned out if it happened in the times we’re living in now. Air travel has definitely become more stressful.

(Thanks for the birthday wishes!)

Samantha Bangayan April 4, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Glad you’re okay and took the opportunity for an extra day of rest, Sherryl. =) Great attitude!

I’m also the type to plan as much as I can and arrive as early as I can, but if Peru has taught me anything, it’s that we can’t plan for everything. =P The last time I got kicked off a flight, it was the airport’s fault and had nothing to do with weather. As things often go wrong in Peru, I’ve been learning to take things in stride and laugh about it.

Looking forward to your next post! =)

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:49 am

Thanks Samantha. I always look forward to reading your posts about your adventures in Peru. I’m with you on taking things in stride. I do think my husband does tend to overdue the getting there early thing just a tad. I don’t want to be running through the airport but 2 1/2 hours early is a stretch for me.

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
April 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Years ago I was returning from a training assignment in Florida and was told our flight to New York would be delayed. I asked how how long. She said she didn’t know but the plane was still on the ground in Portland. I asked – Portland, Maine? No, Portland, Oregon! Don’t you have a back-up plane? No. We have to wait for that one. I was anxious to get back home because my husband was having a major operation the next day. No flights to NY on any carrier. But across the corridor there was a flight about to leave for Philadelphia. I (and a few other passengers) hopped on board. The motto in travel is to keep moving. I got to the Philadelphia airport and took the shuttle train into the city. By a few seconds, I made a train to New York, where upon arrival I hopped into a taxi to the hospital. But the driver started driving west instead of east (the hospital is on the East River). When I asked him why he said it would be quicker! I disabused him of that idea — and arrived at the hospital at 8 pm. in time to wish Charles the best, and kiss him good night.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:45 am

That’s quite the story Jeannete. You had a great reason for being so motivated. That’s wonderful that you arrived at the hospital in time to see your husband before his surgery.

You do have to be proactive when traveling. On this trip, after the announcement that our flight was canceled, everyone rushed into the same long line. It took me a few minutes before it dawned on me that I could go to any Southwest agent to book a flight. After quickly getting into a shorter line, a man actually heckled me and mocked me for not staying in the line he was in. Since the earliest flight I could get out was in 2-days, I can’t imagine when I’d have been able to fly out if I had stayed in a line that was about 100 deep. As you said – keep moving.

Rick April 4, 2011 at 1:29 pm

LIFE TRUMPS BLOGGING – so no posts while dealing with life issues should be the norm. Glad you guys found a way through it all.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:39 am

“LIFE TRUMPS BLOGGING” – I love it! You’re right, sometimes we just need to step away from it all and enjoy life. 🙂

Julie Weishaar
Twitter:
April 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Hi Sherryl,

I agree with you that the universe was telling you to relax more 🙂 I don’t travel much so don’t have any stories to share. But hopefully the universe will send me a message soon too and I will do some traveling and come back with my own stories!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:38 am

Hopefully Julie. I’m sure your stories will include some cool videos too!

Sue Reddel April 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Sherryl glad everything worked out in the end – you got to enjoy a longer break and nothing catastrophic happened. I think the recent grounding of a lot of Southwest flights must have also put a huge kink into a lot of folks business and travel plans.

I like your husband am in the ‘get there early’ crowd it leave a lot more flexibility for me. There is always the chance that the flight will be canceled but if you’re wi-fi enabled and have your laptop you can change your plans (like you did) work or relax. All good options.

As for having a Plan B – I’m with you and don’t keep a lot of extra content available I prefer to post fresh content that’s hopefully relevant. Part of being an entrepreneur is being able to shift the mold to fit to you not the other way around. I’m guessing your audience missed you but will still be listening none the less.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:36 am

We were very fortunate to have only been inconvenienced. There were lots of passengers worried about where their luggage was and a young woman was fighting back tears because she was all alone and obviously not an experienced traveler. She may have been a college student on spring break.

It’s so good to hear that you don’t keep a lot of extra content either! I have lots of notes and partial paragraphs of ideas but sometimes, I like to just sit down and “rant”. Hopefully, some readers will enjoy it. I’ll continue to sprinkle in the more planned business stuff too. 🙂

Catarina Alexon
Twitter:
April 4, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Once I was flying Air France London-Paris-Johannesburg to connect with a flight from Jo-burg to Victoria Falls, where I was attending a seminar with leaders of African countries.

The fligth from Paris to Jo-burg was severely delayed so I missed the last flight to Victoria Falls. Air France hence arranged for those of us with connecting flights to check out and spend the night at a hotel.

Got to know a wealthy Mozambiquan woman on the flight to Jo-burg and she was going to the same seminar as me.

When we got to customs however we were separated, because all caucasian people, including me, had to open their bags. The woman who was going through my clothes said that I she thought I was going to sell my suits, shoes, bras actually everything in South Africa.

Explained that the only reason I was entering South Africa was because Air France’s flight from Paris was delayed. But she would have none of it.

To make a long story short, I just had enough of her accusations of planning to sell my clothes in a country I wasn’t going to and got Air France’s staff to explain to customs that we were entering South Africa by default. And that took care of it.

It’s interesting to note that they didn’t check my wealthy Mozambiquan friends suitcase, despite all the gold she wore.

Understand that that kind of racial profiling was the result of apartheid. But what would have happened if I had been an investor coming to SA with the intention of possibly investing? Was sitting next to Thabo Mbeki in Victoria Falls a day later and told him about my experience. Seems he had people look into the behaviour of customs officials since I never heard of other people having such bad experiences in Jo-burg.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 5, 2011 at 10:30 am

Catarina,
That had to be an unnerving experience. It’s impressive that you were savvy enough to elicit the help of Air France’s staff. It’s a truly sad commentary on racial profiling. Years ago, flying used to be fun. Thanks for sharing your story.

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