Traveling is fun. You get to immerse yourself in different cultures, taste exotic cuisines, learn a new language and visit various airports around the world. However, traveling becomes extremely inconvenient when flight arrivals and departures get delayed. Or worse, a flight, specifically, your flight, is cancelled. We are lucky to be traveling in this day and age when airports are modern, clean and sophisticated. Flight check in is as easy as 1-2-3 because of the modernization of equipment. More importantly, airports have upgraded all their services and facilities, therefore answering every tired and annoyed traveler’s “bored, what to do” questions.
Jetsetters, not-so frequent flyers and wishful travelers, here’s an almost perfect list of to-dos if ever you find yourself stuck in an airport with either a delayed or cancelled airport flight.
1. Get on the internet
Whip out your laptop and go online! Most airports have free wi-fi available, and even if you have to pay a small amount to access it, it shouldn’t be that bad versus doing nothing. Now is the perfect time to check out the latest fashion, newly released books or gadgets or online sales. Better yet, log on to Skype or YM or GTalk and spend the down time chatting with friends and relatives whom you always ignore because you’re too busy with work. The internet never runs out of entertaining sites — there will always be funny blogs, awesome videos on YouTube and tempting online shops. Better still, check for flights for your next vacation! Expedia and other related web pages offer huge savings for those who plan their vacation ahead.
2. Shop! Of course!
As if you need more prodding to do that. Regardless whether the flight is delayed or not, shopping in airports will always be on top of a traveler’s list of “side trips.” A long layover is the perfect excuse to burn some cash, or put your credit card’s leniency to the test. Airport shops have the best assortment of designer clothes, bags and perfume. And the best part is, they’re usually cheaper than the main shops!
Ah, probably one of the most enjoyable things to do when you’re bored, wherever part in the world you may be. Airports are teeming with people, and even the most uninteresting-looking dude can be turned into a dashing prince with just the right dose of imagination. Your world, in this case, the people you’re observing, can only be as bland or awesome as your imagination allow them to be. Every person has a story to tell and it usually shows on the way they dress, talk and interact with people around them. Entertain yourself with the thought that the snotty and loud woman beside you, who actually scoffed when she saw your overused suitcase, is a social-climbing diva whose Hermes is a fake.
4. Make friends
Not just with the social-climbing diva. Strike a conversation with the equally depressed lady beside you. It has been observed that people are generally friendlier in airports, with a few exceptions of course. Maybe it’s because majority share the same feeling — you just want to fly out and get this over and done with. A casual chat with a stranger whom you may discover shares a hobby with you may be your best shot to survive the 8-hour delay. A mother who scrambles to keep a leash on her two kids may also need your help. Try to gently reach out. Play with the kids, distract them. You can never imagine how a harried mom would appreciate that. Just be careful though. Not everyone would appreciate a casual chat or help. If the person is not-responsive, shrug your shoulders and move on. Probably that hot chick near the Starbucks needs your attention more.
5. Play online games
When the attendant announces that your aircraft is experiencing technical difficulties so your flight won’t be leaving until five hours after that announcement, don’t stomp your feet in frustration. Instead, just be thankful that you have brought your gadgets with you. The delay in your flight would be the best time to rescue all the birds in Angry Birds Rio or okay, late bloomer, prevent the zombies from eating your brainssss in P vs Z. You can be a wedding coordinator, spy, sniper, fighter jet pilot, anything! The options are endless. All the apps for these gadgets are perfect airport companions — they’re fun, challenging and neverending.
6. Take photographs
Channel that impatient energy into more creative means. Take out your camera and shoot random scenes and people. Airplanes look magnificent on the runway while mother and baby pictures are always adorable. That barista looks all-so serious behind the coffee-making machine and nothing spells busy more than a ground attendant answering questions of demanding passengers. Airports will never run out of subjects and situations to capture. And oh, do not forget to take your own picture. That should be put in your scrapbook and aptly labeled, “I survived 15 hours in an airport, dude!”
This could be the airport equivalent of “Eat, Pray, Love.” Browse the bookstores for an engaging book or two, but nothing that talks about plane crashes or earthquakes while at airport, for your own sanity. Airport bookstores have great selection of bestsellers, probably in anticipation of the long hours stretched ahead. Books have this funny way of inspiring people to write. A line or two can awaken some old memory, something you’ve always wanted to write about but never had the chance. Pick up the pen while the muse is still there, and, yes, commit yourself to finishing it. You have 5 hours to write, goodness. And when everything is done and the airline hasn’t announced anything yet, you may go ahead and enjoy the airport’s best restaurant. Nothing calms the soul better than a piping hot meal. You can be adventurous and try local dishes. Good food is good food, no matter where you are. And whether you admit it or not, good food is good and fond memory, all the time.
Airport delays and cancellations are a part of every traveler’s jetsetting life. They are unavoidable, just like pesky relatives. The best thing is, it’s up to you to make every bad airport moment stress-free and enjoyable, even. If you consider every travel as an adventure, consider every airport mishap as a chance to discover and bond with yourself, and with your travelmates, if you are with a group. Don’t be too eager to get a flight and fly away. For all you know, that flight was delayed or cancelled as fate’s way of letting you stay in the airport, seating next to that person who has a nice smile. Serendipity, perhaps?