Travel Lessons I (Re) Learned while Delayed

One thing that hasn’t changed here in the Covid era are flight delays. Responding to a flight delay has a significant effect on you and your travel experience. Today I have 5 travel lessons I was reminded of during a recent delay.

Lesson 1: Take an early flight

I do not love the morning. Staying up late and watching the stars is more enjoyable for me than getting up early and watching the sunrise. Flying early increases travel flexibility, especially if delayed. For this reason, taking an early flight is the first of my travel lessons.

Morning flights provide more options in the remainder of the day for re-accommodating your travel plans when necessary. Getting to your final destination close to your planned time is more likely leaving early in the day if delayed. During the current Covid era, this is especially true as airlines are flying limited schedules, meaning you automatically have less options for rebooking during a delay.

Lesson 2: Get help quickly

In the embedded video, I started to make a mistake, waiting in line for the gate agent. He was taking forever rebooking each of the 10 passengers in front of me. Many of you may not be aware of your options. If the line to the gate agent is long, consider finding a direct phone line to the airline, use your cell phone to call the airline, use the airline app on your phone, or even use direct messaging on Twitter.

Today I used the airline app which provided three options for me, two of which meant getting home tomorrow. I took door number three and rebooked my flight home via Seattle instead of through Salt Lake City and got home on the day planned.

Regardless, getting quick help gives you a better chance to get the best accommodation. You are in competition (potentially) with all the other passengers on your flight. With the limited number of seats, quick help may get you one of the few remaining seats out there!

Lesson 3: Remain Calm

There are plenty of examples out there for passengers who did not remain calm. I guarantee you will have a better experience if you are able to remain calm. The airline isn’t trying to screw your day, things do break from time to time, even when we don’t like it.

On this trip, I was afraid for one of my fellow passengers. She was belligerent and clearly thought she was a victim. Walking around the airport talking loudly on your cell phone about how you have been lied to isn’t helpful for anyone, IMO. She clearing broke the third of my travel lessons: remain calm.

Lesson 4: Keep your essentials with you.

Thankfully this delay was hours and not overnight. Unfortunately, I have been delayed overnight a couple of times. Once I got to sleep in the airport and once I was provided a hotel room.

Many passengers have the mistaken belief that they’ll get their luggage when delayed overnight. This is not true to the best of my knowledge. You do not get your luggage until you reach your final destination. It’s for this reason that I keep my essentials with me.

Determining what is essential is a personal exercise for each traveler. In my case essentials are gluten free snacks, a book, and charging cords. If you require medicine, I’d consider that essential and carry that with you.

Lesson 5: Bring distractions

This final lesson overlaps travel lesson number 4, as one of my essentials is also a distraction: a book. Distractions without batteries, please! For many, your cell phone is your distractions, but remember to bring a charger (see the fourth of my travel lessons…).

Final Thoughts

In it’s entirety, here’s MY list. What lessons have you learned?

  1. Take an early flight
  2. Get help quickly
  3. Remain calm
  4. Keep your essentials with you
  5. Bring distractions

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