Travel is stressful, let’s admit it. Especially the days just before departure when you are frantically getting ready and checking things off an endless ”to do” list. The last thing you need is not knowing whether your flight will take off or not!

I woke up Saturday morning, only 6 hours after I went to bed, and almost immediately started feeling the adrenaline. My heart was beating too fast. I knew I wouldn’t fall asleep again. We had to make a decision, and quick.

When I had first heard about the Air France strike action one week prior, it was supposed to end on September 26. Since our flight to Malaga (via Paris) wasn’t until September 29, I quickly forgot about it. A few days later, as often happens, it was announced that the strike would continue until September 30. Even then, I was under the impression that code-share flights were not affected. I had booked my flight on the KLM website after all.

When I mentioned this to my travel companion on Friday night, we took a closer look at our flights. The flight number did start with AF and I had received emails from Air France about it… I started getting a little nervous but somehow convinced myself that our flight would probably take off. Denial is a powerful thing! Only later that night did I research the situation further and discovered that our flight had about a 50% chance of being cancelled and that we would only know if this was the case 24 hours ahead of time. The strike notice “strongly” suggested rebooking our flight – free of charge – for a date between October 1 and 16.

This was problematic because we had already booked all our accommodation (and the tickets to the Alhambra) for our 16-day trip to southern Spain. Changing the flight date meant cancelling other bookings and possibly having to re-arrange the whole itinerary.

However when I woke up with a start that Saturday morning, I knew that I didn’t want to play Russian roulette (with very bad odds at that) with our trip. Frankly, I just don’t have the nerves to handle this kind of uncertainty.

Without having all the information (would our flight be cancelled or not?) we had to make a decision. My friend agreed to try changing the flight. We were lucky to find availability on October 1st on a flight similar to our original one, with a 2-hour layover in Paris. Talking over Skype, we booked it simultaneously and breathed a sigh of relief. All that was left to do was cancel our first hotel and go straight to Cadiz from Malaga, on a trip that was now two days shorter.

Interestingly, once we had committed to the decision, we immediately started finding advantages to this new situation. I had more time to get ready; she had more time to finish some work. And the greatest advantage of all: the peace of mind to know that our flight would take off.

In travel as in daily life, things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes the decision is made for you, and other times you have to make a decision without having all the information. The important thing is to make a decision you can live with.

On September 28, the day after we changed our flight, Air France announced that the strike was over. In hindsight, one could say that we made a mistake since our original flight ended up leaving as scheduled. But I still believe that our decision was the best we could make at the time we made it. No regrets.

What about you? What would you have done in the same situation?

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