But there are options although not palatable. Interstate and intra-state trains still run, there remains sleeping berths or sitting cars, then there are coaches running hither and thither in every direction, or the hire car option is available, buy a bike or even a push bike, and walking remains an option. Yuck!
The reality is that when an airline check-in glitch happens it is one of those modern day annoyances that we learn to live with. For example, in August (I could have chosen any airline) Virgin had a meltdown. (www.abc.net.au)
In August 30 Virgin flights were cancelled. Passengers travelling from airports including Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane faced disruptions. Their check-in system went down, wait for it, for only two hours. It took them several days to clear the back log for passenger transhipment.
The same responses we get whenever this happens from which ever airline.
The first is that the manual check-in system takes much longer, it is very slow and cumbersome but the same security measures need to be taken. Hello! Any would be terrorist wouldn't wait around.
Then we get the message to reconsider your travel needs to help relieve their congestion. Hello! This was the day we booked. Had we wanted to travel on another day we would have done so!
Passengers will be compensated wherever possible and practicable. Hello! We missed our daughter's wedding as we missed the connections.
We "apologise" doesn't cut it
We sincerely apologise! Hello! That doesn't cut it. Name the supervising manager, the IT technician, whomever, who didn't do their job. We never hear who was responsible and action is taken to ensure it doesn't happen again.
It's the hapless airline staff at the check-in counter or their supervisors or the air hostess personnel who get the 'crap' from the annoyed paying passengers. Why doesn't the airline's Managing Director front-up at the terminal and give a speech – if only we had rotten tomatoes at the ready.
It's fascinating watching those Airport television programs where the travelling customer fronts up against an implacable situation whereby their plans get thoroughly mucked-up. The stony faced check-in staff who have heard it all before must wonder, although never said, who on earth can't "our technical people" keep the system's working (or the aircraft flying).
I am constantly surprised that such staff simply go home sick whenever this happens as they must get fed-up having to deal with the full brunt of it all. If only a few managers had to down tools at their precious offices and front up to the disgruntled paying public! Pigs might fly!
Being a Christian missionary does not provide an exemption – sadly we too get caught up with delayed flights and the rest of it when such things occur.
But there is no guarantee that trains won't get delayed dude to track maintenance or freight trains being derailed, there is no guarantee that the coach won't break down in the middle of nowhere, and hiring a car for an interstate trip in Australia means a long drive.
The fact that we have such a remarkable airline system in place in Australia is something we can give thanks and moreover, even with the occasional delay we do exceptionally well.
In 2005 my wife Delma and I had a Jetstar flight booked from Sydney to the Gold Coast. We had arranged to meet on arrival at the airport a real estate agent as we had two places in mind with a relocation from Moruya to Tweed Heads.
The flight was delayed from 9.30am to 4.30pm due to initially fog in Melbourne from whence this aircraft was coming, and then technical issues.
When we arrived it was too dark to see the second place as the first one was unsatisfactory for our needs. The owners of the second place did not want to be disturbed at dinner time, and we were scheduled for a Country Town Tour the next day in SE Qld.
We engaged in our ministry days and then five days later came back and then saw this second place by which time the price had come down and we liked it and negotiated an ever lower price saving well over $70,000. Thankyou Jetstar!
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html