Nothing kills the excitement of your well planned getaway faster than a delayed flight. Any unexpected glitch in your transportation can be an instant mood changer. Here are my strategies to get where I’m going faster, happier and still excited about the trip after a devastating delay.
- Dress Nicely
Dressing well is an easy way to get a little better service in the airport. It’s very tempting to throw on flip flops and sweats but then you look like you don’t have any place important to be. I was once escorted to the front of an extremely long line at a very busy international airport because I “looked like I might be going to the first class check in”. I remember standing at the back of that line stressing about how many hours it would take just to check in. Then, someone noticed how well dressed I was and decided I didn’t need to wait. From that moment on I always “dress” to fly. It has saved me frustration and even earned me free champagne on a flight because I “looked like I was celebrating something!”
- Pack Light:
Hauling around heavy luggage and lots of bags is always a bad idea. If you have a close connection or a delayed departure you want to have bags that you can handle yourself. Packing light keeps you flexible and mobile. If you get stuck with a long delay or cancelled flight you want to have your bags with you. After learning of a delayed layover out of Miami (6 hours late) I decided to make the most of this time, grabbed my one small carry on and hailed a cab to South Beach to enjoy my unexpected prolonged vacation instead of waiting angrily in that airport for the flight.
- Politely Push
Persistence is key to getting priority on a standby list or rebooked on better flights but no one likes an annoyance. You will have to be firm but friendly to get what you need. Always be pleasant, smile and ask nicely. This past weekend I was at the end of the standby list to Tampa waiting for a seat assignment. I decided to stand right across from the attendant clearing the list and make friends with her as she kept calling names ahead of mine I just kept smiling and chatting. Finally she said, “What’s your name again? Ok, you can just come on.”
- Be Resourceful
Use what you’ve got to your advantage. See if you have any leverage with your airline status or credit card to get you ahead of the lines. Use your smart phone to check the options to get where you are going after a delay. If you used a travel agent, put in a call and see if they can help you navigate through the disaster and get you there faster. Most of all stay calm so that you can think through the best scenarios clearly.
- Entertain Yourself
Always bring your tablet, power cord, battery pack, a good book or some cash to enjoy a restaurant. If you get delayed or detoured the last thing that you want is to be bored. Keep yourself entertained with your devices or find the bar and strike up a conversation with an interesting stranger. Some of my favorite travel stories are about people I’ve met randomly along the way!
Just remember, you will get there eventually and hopefully happy even if not on schedule!
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