If we REALLY want to talk about conflict resolution, then, I need to share with you my experience last week on my trip to Atlanta from Chicago.  O.K.–settle in.

It all started very benign. My family and I boarded our 1 1/2 hour flight to Atlanta with joy–vacation time! And, by all accounts, everything was going smoothly. Until…

During our descent into Atlanta, the pilot informed us we needed to go around some storms to avoid hitting them. No problem. Then, a problem. We couldn’t outrun the storms. So, we diverted to Birmingham, AL. During our descent to Birmingham, we were informed the tower didn’t have radar. So, we can’t land there, and we’re running out of fuel.

Now, “Captain Happy” (as he started calling himself), told us we were going to divert to Columbus, GA.

airplane_take_offWhen we arrived, we were told too many planes had landed there, so we were not allowed off the plane. By the way, the tarmac registered 97 degrees. Oh, and did I tell you I have three small children? And, did I mention we had no more supplies on the plane? Not even water?

Fast forward three hours and, wouldn’t you know it–pizza arrives! Yes, the co-pilot had gotten off the plane and ordered Little Caesar’s Pizza! Another hour later, and it arrived to grateful, yet starving, passengers.

After four hours in the plane, we took off and landed in Atlanta. But, wait, we didn’t have a gate! So, it was about another hour on the tarmac.

My point of this blog isn’t just information–the real point is how it was handled by the crew. Not ONCE did any crew member get frustrated. Not ONCE did any crew member wipe the smile off his/her face. Not ONCE did they complain they weren’t getting home to their families.

Instead, they were helpful, kind, and respectful to all aboard–they looked at the potential conflict and decided they weren’t going to give it a chance to start.

So, here’s to the crew and the lesson learned on my end–if a potential conflict is looming, don’t give it a chance to take hold. Oh, and eat before you get on a plane…just in case.


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