Stuck in traffic, bad weather, wrong name on the ticket, fireworks in the carry on. Lions and tigers and bears… you get my gist. There are many things that can keep us grounded when it comes to the art of flight. My family and friends can attest to the fact that I have missed over 2 dozen flights in the last five years. NO – I do not like hanging out at the airport for days on end eating old ham sandwiches and drinking dasani water.
Although I do enjoy meeting new people and traveling to unique places, it shouldn’t have to be at the expense of my valuable time or money! I could be the only one who feels cursed with the problem of things going array while en route to paradise, but I have learned how to make it less detrimental to the overall experience. I’ve compiled some of my best kept secrets for dealing with airports, airlines and all around airheads that can damper your day while stuck far away. Hope you enjoy and can remember my tips and tricks next time your flight reads red or the lady with five kids asks you to hold her gag-reflex induced baby (seriously – TSIR).
- STAY CALM & FIND A QUIET AREA. Sometimes the journey to the destination can leave you in a heap of a mess and trying to navigate out of what feels like a black hole can spark emotions that are uncontrollable. Sobbing on the phone to your father or yelling at the customer service agent who is about to have a nervous breakdown never, I repeat NEVER, helps the situation. So do what you can you do to make sure you don’t become a terror threat in a matter of minutes (which feels like eternity) when your phone dies or you can’t find a place to think. Most airports have several areas that can be accessed. I would go for a gate area that isn’t in use or if there’s an upstairs/downstairs that is accessible. Some airports have chapels and outdoor zones that can be found with help from the maps throughout terminals too.
- FIND AN OUTLET and charge your devices. This can get tricky but if your flight delays further or is cancelled you will want to have your phone or laptop to help with re-routing. Again, best of luck will be to find one in an area that other passengers/travels are not congregating in. When airports are packed from weather related circumstances, I’ve always had the best luck by finding an outlet in the bathrooms by the baby changing tables or vanity areas. If all else fails ask customer service desks or agents if they have an extra outlet behind the counter or know an area that may have more. Make sure to write down your flight info (confirmation # and all itinerary info: flight#’s- airport codes- etc.) so you have this information handy when you get to talk to gate agents or customer service from the phones available in the airport.
- AIRLINE HOTLINES. Don’t bother waiting in the customer service lines. Disgruntled passengers will already have gate agents on their last nerve *remember they are humans too and it is NOT their fault that you are in the predicament you are in – they actually truly want to help you get out of it as soon as possible. Even so, every airline has a re-schedule hotline that is different than their customer service line. Keep your eyes and ears open, ask a free gate agent or other passengers for this number, try to find it on your ticket or on the airline’s website.
- HAVE A NOTE PAD OR BOOK HANDY. Remember you should write down your flight itinerary before your mobil devices are low on battery. Write down all flight info as it comes in over the so you don’t get confused. I would also recommend using a notepad to write necessary info on re-scheduling and lists of what you will need to do in case you have to miss school/work/personal events.
- DO YOGA & STRESS RELIEVING EXERCISES. Playing the waiting game while on a standby ticket, waiting on weather to clear up or even after you get things figured out, there’s a lot of stress that can wreck havoc on your body and your mood. Once you run into stress – you literally need to de-stress to heal you mentally and physically. Here’s a great POST I found that you can bookmark for stress relief when you need it. I would recommend less awkward poses, depending on how much space you have. If you can’t get in yoga, chew gum. It will reduce your body’s level of cortisol and make you feel less stressed and more alert as chewing relieves tension and keeps your blood flowing. Those around you will appreciate the minty scent too.
- EAT. Okay, so this is literally my pet peeve about traveling. I get so hungry that I eat all of my snacks on the airplane before I get to my layover. Then the price of a sandwich literally makes me want to boycott every food stand. It’s not going to do my body any good by eating skittles for dinner and refusing to buy a water for $5 so somethings got to give. Making sure to stay hydrated and get basic nutrient needs in when stuck in the airport is a MUST. And don’t use food or alcohol as your stress reliever, it will just induce more damage onto your body. There are so many junk food options but there are still little finds in the markets that are healthy and will keep you feeling good. DONT’S: Candy, Pop, Chips, Energy Drinks, Cheeseburgers, Cocktails DO’S: Trail Mix, Coconut Water or Sparkling Water, Cheese/Hummus/Cracker Platter, Hard Boiled Eggs (markets and Starbucks usually have them), energy bars, chewing gum.
Pre Airport Prep
- Podcasts. Download the app on your kindle or phone and add some favorites.Thankfully, this lovely human already put together a list of female podcasters I love!
- Create a playlist on your phone that can be played offline. Make sure to create a classical or mellow music list so you stay chill!
- Charge your Mophie. I have had an external charger for the past year and it is the BEST! Totally worth it and still charges to 100%. #staypowerful
- Make room for snacks. Not gas station snacks but actual fruit, trail mix and other homemade goodness that can keep you from spending and over-eating.
- Plan your airport outfit with layers. I always go for the more sporty look. Yoga pants and a zip-up with socks and sneakers. You can layer your jacket over easily or extra undershirts. I also never go anywhere without a scarf to toss over my face when snoozing or just to keep my germaphobe ways going strong.
- Tension balls and essential oils. If you have enough room these could both be life-savers for you. I bring lavender as well as a tennis ball to relieve tension on any part of my body.
- Uber is your best friend. I’ve had too many bad experiences with cabs to want to get in a yellow vehicle ever again. If Uber-X isn’t available on site (some airports only allow black cars), take shuttle to an extra close hotel. Shuttles are free and Uber-X will be there in a hot minute if you’re close to the airport.
- Parking deals and other promotions can be found online. If I ever have to park at the airport I ALWAYS look online for the best deal! There are so many specials you can receive from booking your rental car as well as hotel stays if you need them rather than doing it in person. My go to site is KAYAK and I found this sneaky little app called hotel Tonight that gives last minute deals on top rated hotels.
- Waiting lot. Remind your ride of carpool/waiting lots that many airports provide. It’s much easier for them instead of driving around the airport several times with the traffic and commotion. That way they will arrive to you with a smile.
- Grass or outdoor areas. If you have time, rather than a nap indoors, try to get outside. Fresh air can help you de-stress and give you room to stretch, do yoga or just lay down and shut your eyes for a little while. Grab a water, set an alarm and head outside.
- Wear something bright – okay I know it sounds weird but I have theory that gate agents see people in dark clothing all day long. If you are in line and step up cheerfully with something bright to match your attitude, it will refresh their mood and you will have better luck in being served with a smile in return. It’s better to be noticed than to blend in when it comes to these circumstances!