I got this…right?

The flight has departed?!? That’s not possible. Look at my boarding pass…um…

I’m a fairly experienced traveller. I’ve missed a flight before, but it wasn’t my fault. The crazy weather in my part of the country was the problem. Lightning blew a whole in a tarmac somewhere. Who could have predicted that!? But today, I’ve just missed two flights in a row. I’m in Orlando, typing this up at gate 107 waiting to hear the call for boarding…the call for boarding I somehow missed twice already. There’s no lightning in sight, so what’s the deal?

You might expect that at this point I’m just not attentive to details or that I’m just bad at planning. On the contrary. I’m more prone to over analyze a plan or obsess over the details. Those who know me are nodding in the affirmative or laughing in sympathy. How does someone like me miss not one but TWO FRIGGIN’ FLIGHTS IN A ROW!!??!

Part of the answer might come from my wife. She and I were traveling together. She had only flown a few times before many years ago. I took pleasure in showing her the ropes. If I’m honest, probably too much. The proverb,

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)

sums it up nicely. Unlike other travels, I was puffed up by what I thought was ample evidence of my traveling prowess. After all, I’ve accrued nearly 60,000 frequent flyer points ;).

The other part is tougher to tease out. It has something to do with why I didn’t take steps to avoid the same mistake again. I think it has everything to do with my desire to be that savvy traveler even in the face of evidence to the contrary. Eric Dietrich captures this wonderfully in the concept of the expert beginner.

Now I have a choice. I can suffer the loss of that coveted perception of myself or embrace the illusion and keep missing flights.

Like my imaginary travel savvy, what are your expert beginnerisms? Mine cost me a layover in Dallas. What might yours cost you?

Post Script

I’d like to give a special thanks to Southwest Airlines who were fantastic throughout. Likely I wouldn’t have had the humor to open up and learn from this had you all not courteously rebooked me each time I missed those flights. I’m grateful to you all that this lesson only cost a nights hotel stay instead of two plane tickets and a hotel stay :). Thank you for treating me with respect. Because of that, I could ease up, not take myself too seriously and learn my lessons.


Jason is a developer, Scrum Master, writer, teacher, coach, husband, father, and community leader out of Tulsa Oklahoma. He's been delivering software since 2007 and absolutely loves the values and principles of agility especially as given form by the Scrum framework.