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Hello, and welcome back to another great edition of Would You Rather Wednesday. In case anyone doesn’t know how Would You Rathers work at this stage of your life, let me break it down for you. I will present you with two options, of which you have to pick the one you would rather choose. I will then break down the pros and cons to each choice, before giving you the correct (my) answer. Got it? Good. Our question this week presents two horrible travel scenarios, and since I just spent the majority of my Monday sitting on an airplane that never left the tarmac, I feel qualified to answer. Let’s dive in.
Would you rather have your flight delayed by eight hours OR lose your luggage?
Fuuuuck, both of these suck. We’ve talked about losing limbs, going bald, and working in a job you hate for eternity over the course of this series, and somehow, this one is the one that sounds the worst to me. Maybe because it’s so real. Before I start contemplating both of these shitty options, however, I need to answer some questions.
How far in advance would I know my flight would be delayed?
In advance? Hahahaha. That’s hilarious. Clearly, if you’re asking this, you’ve never flown with a major airline. Approximately 25 minutes before you were supposed to board, you would be told that your flight is 70 minutes delayed. That time would then get extended every hour until you’ve been sitting at your gate for eight straight hours, unable to make use of your day because you never know if this time the gate agent is telling the truth. Spoiler: They never are. Just accept you’re committing to spending an entire workday at the airport.
Would I ever get my luggage back?
Absolutely not. Does it say “misplace your luggage?” No. Does it say “lose your luggage, but the airline gives you a voucher for $500 and accepts fault?” No. Some asshole baggage handler straight up feeds your luggage to a jet engine, and United never owns up. You could sue them, but you know they’ll just bury you in court fees, so you lose an entire checked bag worth of clothes and personal belongings and vow never to fly their airline again, only to break that vow nine months later when they offer a “too good to be true” flight to Hawaii. Don’t pretend that’s not how it would go.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get into our options. Is spending a day at the airport before squeezing into a sardine can for several more hours a nightmare? Yes. Airports are expensive, uncomfortable, and just so, so boring. I don’t know why, but somehow sitting around and watching Netflix on your phone for eight hours at an airport sounds fucking unbearable, but doing the same thing at home sounds like an average Sunday. Is it because the seats are designed to give you long-lasting back problems? Is it because you know you’re burning data instead of Wi-FI? I don’t know, but I know it sucks.
The real downside to having a delayed flight, however, is the frustration of it. If you’re coming back from vacation, you’re likely tired and hungover, and knowing you could have spent the day in bed instead of next to a loud family from Iowa is extremely demoralizing. That’s not nearly as bad as if you’re on your way to your destination, though. If you’re headed on vacation, you’re wasting nearly an entire day of your precious trip sitting on the ground next to a charger instead of gallivanting around Rome or wherever you were going. You basically just spent a valuable PTO day to eat an extremely overpriced Cinnabon and people-watch. Fuck that.
On the other hand, while a delayed flight drains you of your time, losing your luggage drains you of your money. I don’t have a lot of clothes, and if I check a bag, it’s a safe bet that 50% of the clothes I wear regularly are in there. We’re talking three of my four pairs of pants, my eight favorite shirts, some nice shoes, and literally every pair of socks and underwear I own. That’s a lot to replace. That’s going to mean spending an entire weekend and a decent chunk of my paycheck building back my wardrobe. Shit, that could end up being more than the cost of the flight.
And that’s just assuming they lose my luggage on the way home. If you end up on vacation with nothing but a backpack to your name, you’re fucked. You’re basically committing to spending at least the first few hours of your trip shopping for clothes that end up costing more and looking worse, all while you should have been enjoying yourself. You’re starting your vacation off with a big unexpected cost and you’re going to look like shit in all the photos. That’s tough, mentally. Real tough.
Whether you get delayed or lose your luggage, we’ve determined that it’s worse to do so on the way to your destination. But which is worse overall? Well, being delayed costs time, sanity, and, depending on the quality of your airport, possibly your health. But losing your luggage? That costs time, money, and Instagram likes. Yeah, that’s way worse. Give me the eight-hour delay over losing my luggage, every time. I have plenty of PTO days and unlimited data. Anything to avoid dropping $300 on a fucking Jos. A. Bank outfit in some piece of shit strip mall on the outskirts of Las Vegas because United Airlines doesn’t know how to count bags and you know Hakkasan won’t let you into the club wearing jeans a t-shirt. Or whatever your experience may be. I choose the delay. .