Flight Delays

United 6043 is delayed for 90 minutes (projected) out of Halifax to Chicago and here I wait so patiently. The delay (if as projected) is no huge deal. With the (projected) 11:30 arrival I have a hope of making the noon connection to Houston. If I don’t there is a fallback seat saved for me on the 1pm flight to Houston. Arriving an hour later in Houston will be no big deal.

But as the multiple references to (projected) suggest, the issue is uncertainty. The delay arises from the flight crew arriving so late the previous night, they cannot fly again until 9:55 rather 8:25. That is a fairly fixed delay. But experience has shown that other factors can intervene to extend a delay. Experience also suggests that the noon flight to Houston will leave Chicago on time although a bit of delay on that end would be welcomed.

Travelling has a lot to do with managing uncertainty. Especially air travel where so much control is given over to other people, businesses, and government agencies. Although there are occasions for exercising assertiveness and quick thinking, there are occasions for which serenity is the only available option.

So, what to do? I have taken the opportunity to write this blog post.

The gate staff have been pleasant, explaining what they know of the situation and putting my backup for the 1pm connection into the system. Other passengers are reading and chatting. Canadian airports do not provide the jaw-dropping retail opportunities of European airports so there is little danger in incurring serious debt during the wait.

I find it also useful to find the inner Louis CK to marvel at the wonder of being able to fly at all.

While it may be difficult to find joy in a moment, it should be possible to find it bearable.


  1. Dear Dr. Leiter

    Your post reminds me my actual situation of uncertainity about my area. I’ve choose to make plans (plan a, b c… and so on).
    It is amazing how great chains of events depend on the right time of performance of a group of people and even a one person’s decision.

  2. Heriberto
    Your uncertainty is much longer than mine. It is frustrating to be awaiting decisions of other people who are so removed from your situation.

    I wish you success and clear direction in your career. It is a serious responsibility of management to provide those qualities to their employees.

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