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Vientiane, Laos

After a significant hiatus from international work travel, my first trip as a construction executive in OBO’s East Asia and Pacific (EAP) branch included a number of unforced errors. The first of which was arriving at the wrong airport (IAD - Dulles) and not realizing my mistake until an hour before my flight was due to depart from DCA (Reagan National).

The plane won't wait for you.
As you might have surmised by the existence of this post, I did make my flight...barely. For a bit more background, I had only just returned from a week of training in Orlando, FL last night around 10pm and that flight was delayed by a few hours due to an equipment issue. Most international flights depart from Dulles, so that’s where I scheduled my Uber to take me at 3:30am before going to sleep. 

My ride showed up and we made good time to IAD. I tried checking in at the kiosk there but got an error message. Knowing that my final destination in Laos had already caused some issues trying to check in online, I figured it was related to that. 

On hindsight, I probably couldn’t check in at the kiosk at Dulles because my flight wasn’t originating from there. I stood in line for an hour waiting to speak with the desk agent, only to realize at 5 am that I was 30 miles away from where I needed to be (DCA) in 30 minutes before the check-in desk closed there. 

Challenge Accepted.

After some quick mental calculations, I knew that I probably could make my flight, but my margin for error was razor thin. Fortunately, at this time in the morning there isn’t much traffic so the cab got me to DCA right around 5:30. The check-in counter had already stopped collecting checked baggage, but they were able to issue me a ticket. As my checked bags didn’t contain anything troublesome, I was able to bring them all the way to the gate that was actively boarding and check my larger duffel bag through to ICN (Incheon, South Korea). I was on my plane at 5:50 and the doors closed behind me.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
― Hunter S. Thompson,
The rest of the flights were thankfully uneventful, as was my transfer to the hotel outside the airport. I met up with several other members of the team, including a facility manager I was with in Orlando who didn’t have to stop into DC to change bags because he was headed home. 


More to come...

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