Dear traveler, It's not all about you

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We're all going to be stressed out while traveling on the holidays. And we could all use a reminder that maybe, if we look around us, someone is having an even more difficult time--and we could help them out.

One of our readers, Diane Smith, has shared this neat story:

I was flying out from a Killeen, Texas, airport on a Continental bug smasher. Something was wrong with the plane that was to take us to Dallas. It was about an hour and a half late. Now Killeen is mostly a military town, home to Fort Hood. As I sat there, I started up a conversation with a young lady who was holding her six month baby. Since her husband had been shipped off to Iraq, she was going to go to Florida to see her Dad. Since we got in very late, I was lucky to get another flight to Vegas (where I live). At the time I was talking to the gate people to get on my next flight. The airline employee at the counter (with an attitude I might add) told this girl that she would miss her flight to Florida. She could wait and take a flight out in the morning. End of that conversation. The look of despair on this girls face was unbelievable. We have all been there. Alone, holding a baby, bags, bottles, diapers...and lucky her, having to wait for 12 hours at the airport!

If only I had a cape, you'd have thought that Wonder Women had arrived (can we hear the tune?). I demanded of the girl at the counter, what was going on. The airline owed this girl a room and food. She argued with me until I reminded her the delay was the AIRLINES FAULT! The girl behind the counter with the "tude" finally took care of this poor girl. If I hadn't known better, she and her child would have spent a miserable night at the airport.

Now, Diane did a great thing. It's important to point out that Continental's ticket rules (called the contract of carriage, and downloadable here) don't guarantee this solution. It was because Diane stepped up to the challenge--and because a Continental crew member was flexible--that this story has a happy ending.

Safe travels!

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