The Season: Keep Up With Travel Plans

During a recent visit to central Michigan I decided to stay a couple of extra days and poke around, see if there might be any fishing opportunities, and just hang out.

By Alan Clemons, Southeast Managing Editor

I’d also thought about doing a little hunting recon in the area. Found out there may be opportunities but it would take a little more time. No problem. Whatever hunting I might have had in mind would most likely be for 2013, anyway.

The weekend was nice, relaxing and I enjoyed the town I was in. It was a bit touristy and a holiday weekend but that’s fine. Nice area. When I got to the airport for my return flight home, the desk attendant said, “Hmmm, where are you? Oh. You missed your flight.”

Flying? Label your gear or tie on something like blaze orange tape to avoid someone else grabbing it, write down serial numbers of checked gear, and be friendly to the nice airport desk lady who you might need for help in a pinch.

I’m rarely dumbfounded but you could have knocked me over with a drag line dipped in Tink’s. For a moment, honestly, I couldn’t compute what she had just told me. Missed my flight? Missed it?

I try to plan ahead well, I get to the airport early and I’ve never missed a flight. I almost did once in Little Rock, before the 9/11 attacks. I believe I locked the keys inside the rental car, checked my luggage at the desk and clodhoppered through the airport. I caught the walkway door closing and was, literally, the last guy on the plane.

But I digress. When the very kind and helpful American Airlines lady said I’d missed my flight, we finally figured out what happened. She said the airline changed the flight, and an email sent to me didn’t go through. Or something like that. All I know is I didn’t remember getting an update.

At that point, I could do nothing. Ranting, yelling or being a butthead wasn’t going to be helpful. We ran through flight options. Being a holiday weekend, there was nothing available. Being in a midsized (maybe smaller?) city meant fewer flights. She offered to put me on standby, but I was able to book a flight on Delta to get home the next morning. I stuck around one more night, enjoyed some great pizza and watched the final season half-season finale of “Breaking Bad” while texting thoughts about the show with my wife, who was home.

Long story short: if you’re traveling on a hunting trip and are flying, especially with guns or bows, make sure you double-check your flight schedules. Sign up for and get free apps for your smart phones. Provide emails to the airlines or register for their free frequent flyer programs to get flight updates, changes or deals.

Check out this great travel bag if you’re going to be on a short trip or gone for the weekend.

Another thing: Being friendly and realizing you have to move forward is better than being a jackleg to the person who can help you. I’ve seen men and women act like complete jerks to airline associates and guess what? That offer to help becomes less of an offer … “sorry, nothing’s available.”

I’ve traveled with guys who have had guns disappear. Oops. Gone. Others had bags show up days after we got to camp. Write down the serial numbers, make/model and color or characteristics of any weapon that has been checked. Maybe inventory whatever you have in your checked bag, too: clothing, boots, broadheads, multi-tools or knives, etc. That way you’ll at least have a record to present should your bag be delayed or lost.

Flying on airlines today isn’t as enjoyable as it was before 9/11. But if problems happen, keep calm. If you were wrong, suck it up and move on. If you believe the airline was wrong, pursue your options. Just remember it’s better to use honey than vinegar.