Listening to Intuition When Traveling
By Candyce H. Stapen
Do you listen to your intuition when traveling or do you disregard this non-rational voice telling you to act a certain way? I’ve learned to trust my intuition more and more. Maybe it’s a “woman thing.” Who knows, but here’s the event that reminded me to go with my “gut.”
About two years ago when returning from Turks & Caicos, I stood in the American Airlines’ business class line--not that I was flying business class. Having logged more than a million miles with American allows me the perk of checking in on the business line even when flying coach.
After politely waiting 25 minutes for the agent to solve the issues of the four passengers ahead of me, I looked toward the coach line. The agent called me over, saying "next."
Seconds after I reached the counter and handed the agent my passport, a twentysomething man in the coach line ran up behind me, screaming. He was abusive and threatening, spewing four-letter words, waving his arms and yelling “I was next.” I attempted to explain that when the business class line moves slowly, the coach agent checks in those waiting in the business class line.
The man kept screaming, preventing me from talking. The agent,obviously afraid, said nothing, but she processed my ticket in about 3 minutes. At the counter, the man kept yelling "What kind of service is this? What can you do for me? How dare you take her ahead of me?' Oddly, no security person came over to see what the problem was or to quiet "abusive." Was this issue one of islander versus tourist; younger man versus older woman? I have no idea.
Once through security, I kept my eye on "abusive." Somehow this man received priority boarding. And much to my shock, he occupied the aisle seat behind me. The agent must have given him this seat to quiet his yelling.
“Abusive” kept standing up and arranging bags in the overhead compartment above me--not above him. I took a deep breath, told myself not to be paranoid and sat there. For three minutes. Then I listened to my intuition and got up.
When I explained the situation to flight attendant B, she laughed it off as a coincidence, reminding me that the plane was packed. I told her that this was no coincidence and that in all my considerable travels, I have rarely requested a seat change and never for this reason. The flight attendant reiterated that she could only intervene if the man hit me or if objects fell on me from the overhead. But not until then. Duh!
That’s when I vowed to honor my intuition. I explained the situation to a man standing near me. He kindly switched seats with me. Now, I sat 9 rows ahead of "abusive," who looked even angrier now. Once airborne, the senior flight attendant listened to my story, telling me I did the right thing. She gave free drink coupons to me and to the man who took my assigned seat.
Intutition or paranoia? Often, it's hard to know. But I have learned to respect those gut feelings, especially if it's easy to do. I wasn't asking for another flight, or to kick off "abusive;" just not to sit in front of or near him. At the very least I didn't want to endure three hours of seat kicking between Provo and Miami. At the worst, who knew?
A woman's intuition can be powerful. I'm going to listen to it.