Using Flight Delays to Your Advantage
How to pass time at the airport when your flight is delayed
You’re at the airport, sitting at the gate-side lounge. It’s nearly boarding time, but you notice that the airplane isn't yet docked at the gate. Just as you begin to wonder where it might be, a voice over the loudspeaker announces that your flight has been delayed, that the problems will be resolved within the hour, and that the airline apologizes for the inconvenience.
"Delay notifications are always posted to advise passengers on the status of the delay, while announcements usually are made every thirty minutes, until boarding approval is received from the flight crew"
Every seasoned traveler has gone through this scenario at least once and probably more than a few times. Flight delays have become an accepted part of the air travel experience – the norm rather than the exception. And as many of us know from firsthand experience, delays often beget further delays.
For many fliers, being delayed at the airport is a cause for stress and even anger. However, you can avoid all this annoyance and try to approach your delay time in a positive way instead.
Airport flight status board
#1 Catch up on your work or your reading
A flight delay will only stress you out if you allow it to do so. If you look upon a delay as an opportunity, you may find it easier to handle. If you have a laptop with you, try catching up on some work. If you have no work (or don’t have a computer) a book will serve you just as well. MP3 player, iPod and portable gaming devices also make for great time-wasters while waiting for a flight.
Enjoy the opportunity to tour the airport!
#2 Get something to eat
Airport terminals are full of restaurants and bars, and for good reason – they do great business, especially when flights are delayed. If you’re feeling peckish, join the crowd and get something to eat. This is an option you won’t have once you board your flight. It may be a good idea to take advantage of it while still in the airport, especially if it seems likely that you’ll also have to sit on the tarmac, before departure. Travelers with weak stomachs might want to avoid heavy meals, though. Salads or basic sandwiches work best as pre-flight meals.
#3 Get to know your fellow travelers
If you’re the social type, why not take the opportunity to talk to the other passengers? Find out where they’re coming from and where they’re going. The airport, by its very nature, is a great place to meet people from around the world. By socially engaging other travelers, you may be able to relieve both you and other passengers from boredom or stress.
#4 Play a word game
The method only really works if you’re traveling with a companion. If you are, try playing a word game. Twenty Questions is a classic word game that is tailor-made to occupy long stretches of downtime. The last letter/first letter match game, in which you have to match the first letter of your word with the last letter of your opponent’s word (usually sticking to a particular theme) is also a popular choice. These sorts of games are not only mentally stimulating, but useful ways to pass idle time.
"There are some things in life which we have no control over, cancellations & flight delays are one of those things!"
#5 Realize that there’s nothing you can do to affect the situation, eventually, you'll reach your destination
Business travelers who are running late for an important meeting or a similarly major event, stressing out over a flight delay is an understandable reaction. If you urgently have to be at your destination city, relax, and keep in mind that complaining will not speed along your trip. Losing your temper and screaming at the flight agents will only cause you more stress. The airline staff are just as frustrated as the passengers – flight delays mean that they get to stay at work later than usual. They’re doing their best to fix whatever problems might be causing the delay. If you are missing an important business meeting, let someone know you’re stuck at the airport. It's as simple as making a phone call or sending a text.
Flight delays are ubiquitous, so the best way to deal with them is to simply accept that they will happen and to use them to your advantage. And who knows? If your attitude is positive enough, you might even look forward to your next flight delay!
- How to Protect Your Luggage and Documents at the Airport
As an international traveler, you're probably well aware of the need to protect your luggage and your invaluable travel documents.