10 sanity-saving tips for dealing with flight delays, cancellations

Surprise! Your flight has just been delayed (or even cancelled) and now you have to spend more time at the airport. It doesn’t matter if it’s because of bad weather, overbooking the flight or someone found a suspect package, delays and cancellations just plain suck. But if you use these 10 tips, you’ll keep a shred of sanity before getting off the ground.


1. Get there early


Folks that take a flight in the morning tend to enjoy fewer delays than those taking to the skies at night. Also, checking in early gives you the wiggle room to find alternatives to reach your destination should something go awry.

2. Be sure to know your rights


That massive storm doesn’t look like it’s going away, so you’re probably staying at the airport for a little bit. Same thing goes for overbooked flights. You’d like to think the government can help in this spot but there are no federal requirements. Each airline has its own policies on how they handle these delays. Check up on those policies so you have a little ammo to make sure you reach your destination. Besides, knowing is half the battle. 

3. Stay mobile


No, this is not meaning you should be a perfect athletic specimen to run through the terminal. We mean you need to keep your phone with you should things change. Flight cancellations and delays can happen in an instant, so you’ll want that charged and with you to make any changes with friends picking you up or with your hotel at your final destination.

4. It’s good to be insured

Things will be much easier to figure out if you some travel insurance. It might seem wasted money, but it’ll be worthwhile if the unexpected happens. Just make sure your coverage will help every possible need or problem you may have.

5. Do some exploration


You’re going to be stuck at the airport for a while, so you might as well make the best of the situation. Take a look at all the things your part of the airport terminal has to offer. See what kind of attractions you can find that’ll eat up some time. It’s certainly better than just sitting around, twiddling your thumbs.

6. Make some new friends


You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so be pleasant when dealing with delays or cancellations. Customer service will be more apt to help someone that’s nice to them (Shocker!). Plus, you could buddy up with your fellow stranded passengers to perhaps share a cab when you arrive at your destination to save a little cash.

7. Crash the airport lounges

airport lounges

Those people flying Business Class and with high status in frequent flyer programs will already be chilling in the VIP room, downing free peanuts like a boss. These lounges have comfy couches, newspapers and plenty of snacks in a quiet atmosphere – the perfect escape from terminal craziness. Some of these spots aren’t exclusive and you can access them for no more than $50. That might seem too high a price to pay, but well worth the relaxation.

8. Keep yourself entertained


You’ve charged your smartphone, laptop and tablet up. Time to use the airport’s Wi-Fi to play a game of Candy Crush or watch a few movies on Netflix. Heck, you could find a great book to read at the terminal newsstands.

9. Catch some sleep


Your flight was cancelled. Now you need to figure out how to kill as much time as possible. Best way we know is to catch some z’s. Be prepared for such a moment by keeping a sleeping mask in your carry-on bag. Some airports, like London’s Heathrow Airport, have hotels you can stay at inside select terminals.

10. Eat and drink


One of the pluses of being stuck at the airport is you’ll never really want for food or something to drink. You’ll find several bars and restaurants throughout the terminal, or you can bring your own food and drink from home to save some cash.