Booking one of those fabulous flights from Orbitz that features a 45-minute connection somehow guarantees that my first flight will be half an hour late, and I’ll end up doing a mad sprint across freakin’ Chicago O’Hare or Dallas-Fort Worth with little streamers of stress streaking out behind me.
I can use my willpower to squash the pain down, or ignore it completely for a short time if I need to get something done. Like getting from one airplane gate to another. The price of this act of will is high. I’ll make it to the stupid plane seat, and then spend the duration of next flight in eye-bleeding agony. I’ll lose at least one (extra) day of travel time at my destination recovering from this. It’s not worth it.
Let me repeat that: It’s not worth it. Almost nobody in the history of air travel has actually died of missing a connection. Worst case scenario? I miss a day or two at my destination, or have to reschedule my trip altogether.
So what? I could stress myself out about missing the plane and beat myself up up one side and down the other. I could blame the airlines and work myself into a rage and scream at all the airline and airport staff I can find. (Because that’s always such a productive use of time and energy.)
Or I could…not. I could take a few deep breaths, smile ruefully at the gate attendant, and ask him to help me get to my destination as soon as possible for as little cash as possible. Then I may head to the Info desk to find a hotel for the night, and a place to eat. Maybe I’ll even look up a friend who lives wherever I’m stuck. Or find the hotel bar and strike up a (platonic) conversation with a friend-to-be or two. What started as a tragedy becomes an adventure! Or at least a chilled out evening reading in a motel room.
The bottom line: missing a flight isn’t the end of the world. It’s not even the worst thing that could possibly happen. Yes, it’s frustrating, but it’s not worth creating a stress-based health flare over. It can even become the coolest travel experience ever.