A Traveler's Guide to Survive Unscheduled Airport Layovers
While flying with commercial airlines, you might have faced a situation wherein the flight has been delayed. This could happen for a number of reasons - the plane might get grounded or the weather turns ugly. Eventually, what happens is that there unexpected delays and cancellations, which are beyond anyone’s control. Even the most diligent planners cannot get past such unexpected changes in the travel plans. So, what do you do next when stuck at an airport? Well, here are some pointers to help you survive an unexpected layover.
You might not get Wi-Fi access at every airport, but even the most basic airport facilities will have power outlets. Therefore, you can position yourself near one and power-up all your electronic gadgets including mobiles, pads, laptops, and even Bluetooth headphones, while you wait. You might get some stink-eye from the other grounded passengers; but hey, you got there first. So why worry?
Many budget carriers are usually situated farther away from the airport shops and food court. Therefore, passengers stay close to the departure gate for flight updates. What happens when your flight gets delayed? Don’t rely on the expensive vending machines, for sure! Instead, pack your own snacks (trail mix or muesli bars) and plenty of water. This will help you keep your energies up while waiting for the flight announcement. You can also look around for any around-the-clock food outlets, in case you have to wait all night.
In case, you haven't dressed for comfort already, maybe it’s time to break out your travel jammies and dig in for the long haul. There’s a good chance that you are carrying fresh clothing and toiletries, so you don’t have to fear to get the “sleeping at the airport” look. You can always freshen up before the flight resumes. In addition, you must remember that facial wipes don’t count usually under the carry-on liquids quota on international flights. Therefore, stock them up!
Nowadays, there are enough chairs, loungers and even massage chairs at major airports. Therefore, you can claim a row of seats near the gates, to lie down while you wait (provided it doesn’t cause any inconvenience to other fellow passengers). You can also use your backpack or travel pillow to support your head and back, in case there aren’t many seats left. if you’re on the ground. Usually, if any flight gets cancelled or the aircraft gets grounded, the carrier offers to put passengers in a nearby hotel for the night. Likewise, you can also purchase a single-entry pass to an airport lounge to spend time while you wait.
There might be a situation, wherein you will have to move and vacate your position, whether that’s to use the utilities or stretch your legs, and someone else might settle-in. While you can take turns settling in your position in case you’re traveling in a group, if you’re traveling solo, see if you can buddy up with a fellow flyer. This will help you manage your bathroom breaks, while the other watches over the luggage. However, make sure that you keep your cash, passport, and electronics close!