We’ve all been there – you set off to the airport with plenty of time before your flight, triple-checked you have your passport, boarding pass and all necessary documents and you’ve brought the suitcase which fits perfectly within the airline regulations…and something goes wrong with your flight. It’s one of the most infuriating things a traveller can come across, not least because it can feel it’s totally beyond our control. But actually, there are things you can do to make this situation more bearable, all it takes is just a little preparation:
1. Pack ‘must-haves’ in your hand luggage
Whatever the flight problem, you may be facing a long wait in the airport, perhaps even overnight. Make sure you have a spare set of clothes to change into just in case, as well as toiletries to help you freshen up. It sounds trivial, but just being able to brush your teeth makes a world of difference when you’re stranded. Remember, though, gels and liquids shouldn’t be over 100ml per item when taken in your hand luggage, so pack travel-size products.
2. Take your entertainment with you
Before you set off, download a bunch of your favourite podcasts, music or audiobooks. Throw a pack of cards, a book or a portable game in your hand luggage. Grab a newspaper or a magazine at the airport. Whatever helps you pass the time, make sure you bring it with you and at least you can have a little enjoyment while you wait for information on your flight. One note, though – be sure you have all chargers for devices! Otherwise, your wait just got 100% more dull.
3. Find out your rights
You are likely to be frustrated and ready to tear your hair out when you’ve been bumped from your flight, or it’s been delayed or cancelled. But you may actually be entitled to compensation – in fact, you might be able to claim up to 600 € from the airline. These days, it’s really simple to figure out your rights with companies like MYFLYRIGHT on hand to give you a helping hand. Not only can you find detailed information on passenger rights, but you can quickly check if you have a claim using their compensation calculator. If you’re in luck, they can even take care of the claim for you.
4. Bring creature comforts
When stuck in the airport, it can be difficult to feel at ease, but you can avoid being uncomfortable by packing some essentials in your carry-on. Firstly, invest in a neck pillow – unless you have access to a fancy lounge, it’s unlikely there’ll be spot where you can stretch out and take a nap. This handy item will make things far more tolerable for you. Bring a big scarf or cosy sweater – again, this is all about making you comfy and cosy – and when the air-con is blasting and you’re exhausted, it can make a huge difference. An eye mask and noise-cancelling headphones will block out the airport hustle and bustle, but make sure you know your flight status before you nod off!
5. Dress for travel, not to impress
This might seem really obvious, but some people lose sight of how important this is. You don’t have to be in a full sweat suit, or your pyjamas – unless you want to of course! – but wear stretchy or loose clothing and comfortable shoes. Remember, if you’re waiting at the airport for a while, you may want to sleep and not many people can do this in high heels or a stiff suit (if you can, we applaud you!). You can always put your nice clothes in your carry-on and change into them when you land.
Even though flight issues are a pain, you can at least make sure you’re ready to deal with them if they occur. Think carefully about what you need in your hand luggage, what will make you more comfortable and remember to check your passenger rights – follow these steps and you can turn a negative situation into a positive one.