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Updated on December 29, 2010


Stranded Passenger At Heathrow Airport
Stranded Passenger At Heathrow Airport | Source
A family fighting boredom and fatigue while stranded on the third straight day at the JFK airport.
A family fighting boredom and fatigue while stranded on the third straight day at the JFK airport. | Source

Stranded - At An Airport !

You will agree with me that the most popular and fastest way to travel around the globe today is by air. Commuting between cities is easy and convenient as long as planes fly on schedule. All it takes is a snowstorm, fog, blizzard, smog, volcanic ash to bring down visibility to near zero and you have tight schedules of every airline across multiple airports in that belt thrown out of gear. Most often, rescheduling is out of the question till the air clears up. So, passengers booked on these flights cannot go anywhere and are not sure if and when they can get their next flight. Making matters worse is the backlog of confirmed passengers of every flight. Most have to contend with settling down at the airport while awaiting their turn to fly once again. Almost every winter specially around Christmas, flights get canceled due to blizzards, especially in Northern Europe when people want to be home with their families, but must be satisfied being classified as a stranded passenger at the airport.

Being stranded at an airport can be traumatic, both physically and emotionally. After 3 -5 hours, fatigue sets in. Endless trips to the airline counter drains you even more particularly if you have to attend an important meeting or see a client or be home for an important occasion. The airport soon begins to get overcrowded with the Premium Lounge resembling a railway station and the main area, a refugee camp. A sea of people in awkward sitting and sleeping positions huddled close to their luggage or on top of it greets you when you take a 360 degree turn. Every airport facility soon gets affected and that includes stinking toilets. Adults and children alike get cranky and show their irritation at every slightest pretext. Apart from physical exhaustion, emotional trauma sets in, as your entire life is thrown out of gear. Financial setbacks and missed meetings make you more angry and desperate. Traveling with children can get doubly traumatic as you need to keep your childrens' spirits' up as well.

What To Do When You Are Stranded At An Airport

Dealing with self is important in facing life's challenges, so also when one is stranded at an airport in any part of the world. Killing time is one of the most difficult when one has finished seeing all there is to see at an airport. Calling friends and family and your office from your cell phone takes precedence and then watch some movies and play some games,listened to music,checked your emails, cleaned up your inbox on your IPad or your laptop. How much more of this can you do? There is nothing more to do and that makes you bored. There you have it! Fatigue and boredom at the airport is the hallmark of every stranded passenger.

So, how does one deal with it?

Take Control Of Your Emotions

Getting angry and screaming at the airline desk is not going to solve your problem. No aircraft will take off by your letting off steam.

Psychiatrists advise :

  • First, you need to accept your situation. This understanding brings with it a sense of peace. Acceptance also helps you to ward off panic attacks.
  • Weather conditions cannot be controlled but one can explain and reschedule appointments and meetings where one's presence is required. This pressure once lifted calms you further and makes you less anxious.
  • Do not react to standard delay announcements. Rather find someone of authority to get the whole picture. And remember, the airlines are not responsible for the weather conditions.
  • Talk to co-passengers and know that all are in the same boat. It gets your mind off your own problems.

Physicians advise :

  • Stay hydrated by drinking water.
  • Keep yourself warm by wrapping yourself in a light blanket.
  • Do simple stretching exercises to keep your blood circulation going.

Simple Exercises that you can do while stranded in an aircraft waiting for takeoff clearance or in the airport :

Neck muscles : Move the neck slowly from side to side.

Drop the head-chin to chest-and slowly circle the head to one shoulder and over the other shoulder in a full circle.

Arms/ Upper Torso : Raising your arms above your head, stretch as if to touch the ceiling.

Lower Body : Raise each knee to your chest one by one or both together.

Rotate the feet at the ankles first in the clockwise direction and then in the anticlockwise direction.

Placing both feet on the floor,raise your heels until both feet are on the toes. Bring heels back to original position. Next, raise your toes while firmly pressing the heels to the floor.

What To Do When Stranded With Children

When traveling with children, most parents carry favorite board games and toys. This certainly keeps your child or children occupied for sometime, but they do get cranky staying in the same place.

  1. You will have to constantly invent new stories, games etc, to keep the attention of kids. Get your child to count the number of red bags around or people in red t-shirts.
  2. Find interesting people in the crowd to make a story out of, using them as characters..
  3. Some kids love sketching, painting. Get him to sketch or make designs out of paper. Origami is interesting for some kids.
  4. Kids love books,read it out aloud with him.
  5. Play an imaginary "hide and seek" where you think of a place to hide in the surrounding and the player ask you questions to find your hiding place.
  6. Encourage your kid to write about the trip.
  7. Any activity can be prolonged if you have a contest or a challenge.
  8. Kids are also prone to infections, since they put their fingers in their mouth. It would be wise to carry a hand sanitizer and plenty of baby wipes if traveling with a toddler. Children need to be kept physically comfortable with plenty of air circulating around them.
  9. Kids find it difficult to remain in the same place for long periods of time. And they have a lesser attention span, so keep them occupied.
  10. The golden rule: Never show anxiety, temper or panic when stranded with children. Learn to take deep breaths so as to control your own tiredness, anger and irritation.

Share Your Tips

Have you ever been in stranded at an airport?

Share your tips with us in the Comments section below, as to how you coped with the situation.


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    • Purple Perl profile imageAUTHOR

      Purple Perl 

      8 years ago from Bangalore,India

      Jalus,DeBorrah,Lilly,Gypsy Willow,thanks for sharing your views.

      DeBorrah,thanks for the additional ways to engage children.

    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 

      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Excellent well thought out hub. I hope I never have to use these tips though.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 

      8 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      This is an excellent Hub. It would be a good hand out for any esp new travelers for a travel kit. Not knowing is the worst. At least with this good advice, it will be more than tolerable. :0) Good Luck and happy travels.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 

      8 years ago

      Purple Perl, Wonderful hub! Great tips! It is always good to pack some crossword puzzles & books just incase. When you have children hopefully you already have paper, crayons, markers, small travel games and gadgets to engage them. This may be the very time you just might want to learn now to play one of their hand held video games? Let them teach you... Making up a color game observing others is good as well... How many coats, sweaters or suitcases can you find in X amount of time... etc. It can be frustrating but try to make this time enjoyable as much as you can...

      Thank you for sharing, In HIS Love, Peace & Blessings!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub! I have been stranded many times, with and without children. I always take some cards and a good book or two in my carry on bag now. It gives me something to do if I don't get the opportunity to charge up my laptop when the battery dies.


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