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Charla Huber: Travel woes still better than lockdown

The summers of 2020 and 2021 were rough and lonely.
Charla Huber writes that given the frustrations of recent flight delays and cancellations, she recently opted to drive to a couple of work engagements in the Interior, which offered its own rewards, including beautiful scenery. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

There has been a lot of travel frustration for people in our region and beyond. Gas prices are high, flights are being cancelled and delayed in record numbers, and our ferries are experiencing scheduling and staffing challenges.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my own experience with flights for a work trip. The message I was conveying was to be kind and patient with front-line airline staff. I wrote that column in the middle of my travel. I had more delays and cancelled flights after I submitted it and I thought to myself that even with my frustration, I needed to practice what I was preaching.

This week, I had to travel across the province for a couple events I was organizing in the Interior, and this time I opted to drive. Over the course of the week, I clocked many kilometres and spent several hours driving.

It wasn’t as quick as flying, but seemed like a better option, knowing that I could be moving towards a destination on my time, instead of spending a lot of time sitting and waiting.

I took various routes across the province, from travelling across southern B.C. along the border and then back through the mountains. Beautiful scenery, a jump in a river and an impromptu stop at a ghost town enhanced the journey.

There is no perfect solution, and travelling in a heat wave isn’t ideal, but when I think of the last couple summers we’ve had, even with the challenges, it’s better than sitting at home.

The summers of 2020 and 2021 were rough and lonely. Today, we can travel, host in-person gatherings, and visit people outside of our “bubbles.”

Back when it felt like I was locked in my house, I would have had no issues with delays, because I was yearning to do something.

COVID is not over, and now we are working to navigate our way through this period

There have been news stories saying airline staff are receiving threats and abuse from frustrated travellers, and that is not OK.

The front-line workers are not responsible for the delays, and I’ve had some tell me firsthand that some of the issues stem from short-staffing.

Being disrespectful and disgraceful to front-line employees is more likely to lead to more staffing challenges, ultimately increasing cancellations and delays.

I am grateful that we can travel for both work and pleasure, as many of us are. If you’ve travelled and tried to make a ferry reservation or book a rental car, I am sure you are aware of the difficulties.

When I’ve waited too long to make a ferry reservation, I’ve ended up having to leave a day earlier and take the only option for a reservation that was available.

I had to extend one work trip by a day while waiting for a rental car to become available. In both those instances, I could have planned better and factored in the timing. That falls on me.

There are some things we can control and other things that we can’t. There is a high demand for travel, and we all need to take ownership of the things we can control.

For the things we can’t control, we need to do our best to navigate our way though.

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