While it’s no mystery that travelers get a high off adventures in faraway places, every traveler’s pet peeve is air travel. Sure it was exciting at first, being herded into a flying tube and getting to see the clouds out your window, but after traveling for a while, it gets exhausting. Nobody looks forward to long hours in lines at the airport, mixups, delays, the overwhelming chaos of people scurrying to and fro, and the expensive airport food.
All of the usual annoyances can be easily made worse by a sudden emergency, like when the Xiamen Air mishap in NAIA last August. It could be anything: a last-minute flight delay, a natural disaster, or a plane skidding off the runway and halting all flights for hours on end, leaving you stuck in an airport with thousands of other disgruntled passengers. What should you do in situations like these? How do you prepare for them? We’ve gathered a handful of tips right here:
Stay Calm and be Nice
You will get angry; it’s only normal. But it’s important that you stay calm, as the thousands of other passengers stuck in the airport with you will no doubt be at least as angry and frustrated as you are. Accept the fact that you will be delayed for hours. It’s also important that you don’t take it out on airport staff—imagine still having to work through that chaos! You may even score pretty good karma points for being a decent human being. That could mean freebies or a business-class seat.
Contact Your Airline
In the event of a sudden extended flight delay, you should head straight to your airline counter. Often they will give you vouchers for an overnight stay at nearby hotels with free breakfast. Be firm, but polite. You never know what you can leverage out of a bad situation by being civil.
You might as well go around outside rather than sit it out for a day in the airport. Depending on your visa, you can be allowed out the airport for a few hours. Granted, you’ll go through security all over again but hey, at least you got a whiff of fresh air.
If you have no choice but to stay inside, you have to keep occupied. Depending on what airport you’re in, there are a lot of activities you can do. In Singapore’s Changi airport, for example, there is a gym, a video game lounge, free cinema, and many outdoor gardens to stroll in, not to mention the massage chairs that offer foot massages. At Tokyo’s Narita airport, booths are sometimes set up for calligraphy and woodblock printing workshops. Just walk around any airport to see if there’s anything to do—you have a lot of time to do so.
Stuck in a small airport with no fun activities? Catch up on a show, or buy a book to read, discover new playlists, then plop down strategically near a socket so you can plug your devices.
Get a Shower or Take a Nap
Some airlines have shower rooms and nap rooms you can pay for by the hour, and you can buy access into some VIP lounges via your airline or your credit card, but getting in isn’t always a guarantee. However, you can prepare for mishaps by packing dry shampoo, a small towel you can use for a dry bath, and a light change of clothes. It’s also useful to pack one warm jacket or coat—and since airports are only either hotter than a dry summer or cold as an autumn day, an extra bit of warm clothing could double as a blanket or a makeshift pillow. You can then get creative by squeezing into spaces like waiting gate benches to take a quick nap.
Ever gotten stuck at an airport before? Share your experience with us in the comments!
Cover photo courtesy of Vallarta Nayarit Blog
Header photo courtesy of Visioglobe