Hello! I'm Renee Garland. I've been traveling to Asia for the last 13 years in order to escape snowy Maine winters, hoping to live sunny adventures. My company began 11 years ago with $250 worth of chopsticks. I started selling them at craft fairs and festivals all over coastal Maine. Unfortunately, many people didn't know much about chopsticks! (or Asia for that matter.) Nonetheless, I trudged through the festival scene for several years expanding my inventory to clothing, accessories, gifts, and art. The mission has always been the same; to work with individuals, women's coops, and small home-based businesses to help support and encourage small enterprises. I opened my first store in Portland, in 2006 called "Waterlily." It's filled with Waterlily brand handmade gifts produced both from my travels abroad, and by local artists. I still go on buying adventures, 'cause that's what it's all about. . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In airplane world, is assertion necessary? -Or, is it an American thing? Part 1

The difference between flying foreign and domestic carriers is like night and day. Last week I used frequent flyer miles to fly from Portland Maine to San Diego Cali, I flew on Delta. (Need I say more?) Anyway, my title for that blog I was going to write was "In airplane world, assertion is key." So this is in a nutshell how it went down;
The flight coming out of Portland was delayed once we were on the tarmac due to mechanical issues. (not what you wanna hear before take-off) Because they waited until we had already boarded, they then had legally 3 hours to fix the problem before passengers could deplane and make other arrangements. If they had told us at the gate then passengers would have already been trying to make other arrangements- resulting in chaos, and no one probably would have gotten on the plane. So, there we sat for at least an hour and a half in the cold with no snacks waiting to hear if the plane was fixed so we could fly on to Detroit. Finally the problem checked out- and off we went without another snag until we landed in Detroit.
Nearly every person who was connecting was to miss or nearly miss their connecting flights. My flight to San Diego was due to take off at the exact time we were deplaning. I found out that it was too delayed for 20 minutes, so I had about 5 minutes from the time I got off the plane to run from concourse C to concourse A. I overheard a passenger talking about me somewhere from behind saying, "depends on whether she's a glass is half full, or empty person I guess. . . "

I ran outta the gate, and tried to ask the first attendant I saw to which gate I was supposed to head in order to catch the flight.  I didn't want to be too rude just to jump in and ask where is my gate? but the person behind me just belted out at the nice man "Phoenix!!" so, I knew that is what I had to do too. "San Diego!!" at the top of my lungs breaking up any conversation the gate attendant was having with polite customers. (This insistence felt weird to me, but I was taking cues from the older lady before me, and it worked. In this situation I guess that is what you are supposed to do. So then I RAN RAN RAN. Got to the gate. . . and . . . everyone was just standing around waiting to board. still. This flight too had been delayed due to snow. (wouldda been nice to know)
While I stood waiting I realized that I had a middle seat, which is a nightmare to a person with a bad neck, so I weighted my options. . . just let it go and don't cause any waves for the gate attendants who were already pulling their hair out to accommodate the long queue,  OR be firm and just ask. I didn't want to I really didn't. The part of my personality I inherited from my mom woullda just suffered in my seat. But, my new assertion worked a few minutes ago, and I was jacked on adrenaline from all the running, so I busted into the commotion, decisively asked, and the gate attendant was quick to upgrade my seat! Lucky duck! Wow, assertion did pay off in this case.
So, that was going to be it. My blog about how you just have to weasel in with these things sometimes to get what you want. Seems kinda American. Don't take a back seat. Stand up for yourself. You are important. Yada, yada.
A few days after, I was taking a flight from LAX to Bangkok on one of my favorite airlines, Korean Air when my latest realization was challenged. . . to be continued. . .