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Always have a Plan B

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Two days ago I returned home after a few days in Melbourne, an hour's flying time south of my home town of Sydney. Our flight had been delayed and it was already after 10pm. I was tired and sent a text message saying "stuck on tarmac, be home late," only to realise my error - I'd sent it to one of my business associates, not my family.

I was lucky to have flown at all. The next day, the entire Qantas fleet was grounded. I was at Sydney International Airport to meet and greet those passengers joining the Sea Princess. Four passengers on a Qantas flight from London did not make it. Their flight had been cancelled. A family reunion would not happen, since two members were stuck in Singapore. Over at the Domestic Terminal, passengers who had managed to catch a flight with another carrier were relieved, some in tears, and some visibly shaking. One woman had organised for 15 family members to meet, only to then spend hours waiting for Princess Cruises to advise her that flights on Virgin Australia had been secured for her and her family. I don't know how many people approached me during that day frantically asking for advice or assistance about what to do. With the ship' imminent departure at 16.00, what chance did many passengers have of joining their cruise?

There are several lessons to be learnt from this. The first is that when you are tired, anxious or upset, you make mistakes. From minor, such as with me making an error with my text message to Ted who couldn't recall where he had left his reading glasses, to Yvonne who left her bag with her necessary medications someplace, she thought at home on the kitchen table and without it wouldn't be able to travel. The lesson here is to take extra care. Check and double check your documents and belongings and the actions you take.

Secondly, never, everfly on the day that your cruise is due to depart, and if you absolutely must, make sure the arrangements become someone else's responsibility, not yours, if things come unstuck, whether your travel agent or cruise line. I would encourage booking pre cruise accommodation for a night or two, just to give that extra buffer of protection against disasters happening as well as allowing yourself a bit of time to adjust to what might be a new time zone and climate. When you have a trip planned, I'd always suggest just jotting down what you might need to do just in case you need to revert to Plan B.

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