While traveling home for the holidays, I experienced some unexpected delays and wound up being at airports or on airplanes for a total of 24 hours. While delays can (and usually are) frustrating, there are several ways to make the best of the situation.
1. Be nice. This is important, as it can help you get to your destination more quickly. After my first delay, some of the people on my canceled flight began throwing fits. Literal fits. With stomping and screaming. Yes, it’s annoying, yes, you have places to be, but there is nothing you can do about the canceled flight. When rebooking with a ticketing agent, know that they’re trying to help you, and that screaming in their faces will probably not persuade them to get you the best deal possible.
2. Be prepared. It can be difficult to know what exactly to put in your small carry-on item, but maybe a snack or two wouldn’t hurt. Also a change of clothes. And all of your chargers. You can buy things in the airport to help you get through your newly extended layover, but everything is way overpriced. Fact: I spent $9 on a small bag of almonds.
3. Make friends. I’m an introvert, so this step was challenging. But, when you and everyone on your flight missed their connections and have to spend the night in the Subway restaurant in the San Francisco Airport, you bond with each other. And that’s a good thing, because you meet interesting people and the time goes by more quickly. Bonus: sometimes they buy you pastries.
4. If you’re lucky enough to be in a cool airport, walk around. Mainly, it helps to pass the time, but some airports make an effort to provide interesting spaces for travelers. For example, the San Francisco airport has a sort of sports hall of fame throughout the gates that people can check out.
5. Try to sleep. Unfortunately, sleep was not in the cards for me, but I know that I would have been much happier by the time I reached my final destination had I been able to get some shut eye. Luckily, I was arriving at home, but if you’re going to a new place, a lack of sleep will only add to your disorientation.
FTH wishes you safe travels during this holiday season!