You’ve spent weeks planning the perfect vacation, but when you arrive at the airport, you’re told that your flight isn’t going to take off for another three or four hours – even worse, perhaps your trip is canceled altogether. A flight delay or cancellation isn’t just frustrating because it means that you have to spend more time in a crowded airport, it also means that you miss out on vacation time too.
The question is, how you can you handle the situation carefully and strategically to make sure that you’re the one that comes out on top? The following tips will help you to manage your time better, reduce your stress at the airport, and hopefully get to your destination as quickly as possible.
Know Your Rights
First things first, it’s important to be informed if you want to get the most out of your flight delay situation. If you find that you have a massive storm that’s going to stop you from flying for the next few hours, or that your seat has been given to someone else due to an overbooking situation, it’s important to remember that you do have rights as a passenger. The more you know about your airline, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to claim what you’re owed from your carrier. Read up on the rules from your local aviation authority, and check out details about your chosen airline, the more you know, the more empowered you will become.
Make Some Friends
Since you’ve got some extra time to kill when your flight is delayed, it makes sense to use those hours as proactively as possible. Making friends is always a great way to use up your minutes, and this is particularly true if the bond you make ends up helping you to get to your destination faster. You might find that the people you speak to in the airport lounge can give you a lift to your hotel, so you don’t have to worry about missing a bus or a shuttle. On the other hand, if you make friends with the stressed-out airport staff, then when the time does come to board your new plane, you might just be the guy that gets bumped up to first class.
Take Advantage of the Freebies
Just because your flight has been canceled or delayed doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to have a terrible time on your vacation. If your travel has been pushed back a few hours, then you might be able to benefit from some additional extras from your chosen airline, such as free meals, drinks, or even a stay at a fancy hotel. Take advantage of whatever you’ve been offered, and try to look at the time as an interesting adventure at the beginning of your vacation. If nothing else, you’ll have a story to tell when you get home, and it still beats being at work!
Grab some Sleep
If you know that your next flight isn’t going to take off for several hours, then you might as well use the time to your advantage, and get some extra shut-eye. Many of us find ourselves getting up at the crack of dawn or staying up late to catch a cheaper flight, so get some rest while you’re in the airport lounge so that you feel fresh and revitalized by the time you arrive in your destination. That way, you’ll be able to start your vacation from the moment you arrive, instead of rushing straight off to the hotel to get in a quick bath and a nap.
Okay, so your vacation plans didn’t go exactly according to plan, but it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going to let that fact ruin your trip. Ultimately, a delayed flight can be a nightmare for anyone, but it can also be a fun opportunity for you to explore the airport, meet new people, and even catch up on some work that you needed to get finished before you left the office the other day. If you use your time wisely, you could even find that you end up with extra benefits at the end of it all. For instance, spend a few hours researching what kind of freebies and compensation you’re eligible for in exchange for your cancellation or delayed flight problems, that way, you’ll know how to start the claim process the moment you get home.