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51. Eight lessons from the Abu Dhabi airport

  1. When you’re involved in checking a large number of flights for a large number of people, and your own flight isn’t just a simple return one, beware.
  2. You should especially make sure that the booking of your return flight is on the return date and not the arrival date. When the nice people at the counter start talking about how you were a no-show on your flight 29.11 and it’s 31.12, it’s an awkward moment when the penny drops. ;)
  3. If you’re that idiotic customer who made that mistake, keep your calm, smile and be friendly, and make sure you didn’t get angry even when it seemed it was their fault. There’s nothing nicer for airport counter personnel than realising that it was NOT their fault (or their company’s), but that they can now help out. IF you were nice to them from the start that is.
  4. Always have access to an international credit card and a phone for emergencies. If not your own card, then someone else’s. Here, I could solve the problem at the counter and still get on the flight. Without those two things – less so. ;)
  5. Don’t panic until you must. Realising that you booked your flight for the wrong date and that you’re now at checkin with seven minutes till closing time with no ticket is bad. But until the plane has left the ground, there’s no reason to panic. Save the panic for then!
  6. Consdering that the airport is quite cool and interesting-looking, it’s a weird detail that the toilet stalls a very narrow and open inwards, making it pretty hard to go in and out with a large piece of hand luggage.
  7. The (adult and normal-seeming) Emirati guy next to me on the seats at the gate is rocking his body a lot more than is socially acceptable, and it’s moving the whole section of chairs. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass. He’s also adjusting his expensive-looking watch a lot, and looks bored as hell. People are people everywhere. ;)
  8. My flight to Doha (and from there to Copenhagen) is now boarding. And I am on it. Also, I’m curious as to how Qatar Airways is. It’s supposed to be pretty nice. As long as I don’t end up next to Rocking Guy I’ll be fine!

Written by

Director, The College of Extraordinary Experiences & Coach at McKinsey

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