Considering Real Options on my Way to the Airport

So we planned going to #p4a13 this weekend. Made a plan. Wanted to spend the evening before departure with my family in Graz, about 190 km away from the airport in Vienna. My  flight would be around 9am in the morning. Plenty of time to have a relaxed coffee in the morning. Everything prepared the evening before, I planned to leave with some buffer. How relaxed such a plan felt.

Well I had to spend some time to fix it. Where to park the car nearby the airport in order to save the waste of money for high-priced parking. Which fast train to take, which should bring me in 5 minutes to the airport.

When I woke up early morning, looked outside, streets were white. It obviously had snowed the whole night through. Amazing, exactly this night before this day, where I was supposed to go by car. No alternative so early in the morning. More than two weeks before there was nearly no snow. Anyway, I did the web checkin before I left. This should make my carrier aware, I would fly and help saving some time.

Car, full with snow, cleaning, getting out on the street, not without problems … the car nearly didn‘t make it up the little hill from at our house due to the white underground. Here we went. Through the city, motorway, snow … everywhere snow … the motorway had not been cleaned … my navigation system was telling me a nice estimate for arrival time.

But I started thinking … if the road conditions wouldn‘t improve … which maximum speed should I drive? 70, 80 or more km/h? Would that be to dangerous? What about the other drivers= Traffic would increase around 7am. Would I be able to keep away from the others? I thought about, even dropping the event. Stopping it, going back home. It might be to risky. But somehow I kept driving. Well, despite it kept snowing a little, the view was allright.

So, while it was still cold, lots of snow, and ice here and there, my nice plan seemed to melt away. My navi control kept increasing the estimated time of arrival. I started thinking. Alternatives, any other options …?

  • If I would drop the luggage at the airport first, would then park the car and get back to the airport?

  • Then I dropped the idea of parking the car outside the airport for free. Ok, that would cost around EUR 80,- for parking. Better than having to speed up too much and even putting my live under risk!

  • But time kept going and navi told me later and later arrival times. And then traffic news on the radio: accidents on my way towards Vienna, traffic jams ahead. And yes, I managed to become part of it myself. Three lanes stuck with cars, driving at 20 km/h. Lanes, well at least what you thought about being under the snow slope. Now what about my options. Again under pressure. Should I go back home again? Already quite far, this would again be risk and I would miss the great event.

  • Any other options? Hey, I wouldn‘t need to check the luggage in. I already had my electronic boarding pass. Just could leave the bag in the car and buy some new stuff in Frankfurt.

  • Another one: I might have some very little spare time, to get everything out of my bag, which would not make it through security and take it with me into the plane.

  • Time was passing though. Options? I had bought my cheap ticket already weeks ahead. No good chance for change. But what about a new ticket. Driving, keeping eyes more open than ever, mobile, Internet, swoodoo … yes, a flight in the afternoon would cost around EUR 140,- to 180,-. Reasonable and probably worth it related to the value the trip had for me. Being online of course I checked the plan‘s status … in time, no word about cancellation or delay. Good and bad at the same time.

Lots of options kept running through my head. Some even related to different financial implications, low but worth comparing. Even more important, real values made me thinking – personal safety, time with my family, making it to the even, with lots of friends, fun and learning. How different this situation was to the evening before, where everything had been covered by a nice little plan.
So I kept driving, believing, still taking care a lot, but not giving up and not concentrating too much any more about comparing options. While I was concentrating on the road, obviously real options were also moving somewhere behind. Appearing, near to disappearing, loosing value, gaining value … it happened anyway.

I finally made it. A little later than just in time. Dropped the car at airport parking. Put out of my bag, what might be refused by security. Ran, plane already boarding, lucky, just a few passengers at the security check. Here we go, down the hall to the gate. „Boarding“ it still said there … but the plane had even not yet arrived :) Relax. I made my flight to Frankfurt. What a morning. An irrelevant plan, options arriving and disappearing, options running through my head, without time to be evaluated in detail. Some guts feeling and staying focused, a good amount of luck, got it. Some loss, more value, some options realized.

This morning reminded my on the notion of Real Options. Something Chris Matts, my friend Olaf Lewitz have been writing about since quite a while. It reminded my on a little book about to be published pretty soon – „Commitment“, a book by Chris Matts and Olav Maasen, which I am even translating myself into German together with Olaf Lewitz ;) Was that a coincidence this morning? Was it destiny, or even planned? Doesn‘t matter. Real Options is a worthwhile approach to be considered, whenever we tend to stick to fixed plans, while uncertainty is just a footstep away. And I took my options to participate in another great event this weekend.


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