Shit Happens: How to Stay Calm When Your Flight is Delayed

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We’ve all been there! Researched and poured over places to see, holiday booked, packing done and at the airport the flight is delayed! Shit happens and in buckets! You’re agitated, nervous, angry – so many emotions! Staying calm when you discover your flight is delayed is difficult to put it mildly…

Your travel plans flash through your mind. That sinking feeling comes when you know you’re going to miss that item you have already ticked off your bucket list. Disappointment, money down the drain – Sigh! And don’t even mention the rescheduling you’ll have to do…

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What are you going to do while waiting for the flight to happen? How do you stay calm in this situation? Here are five ways to make your life a whole lot calmer.

Lets start with that research you did and the “greatest” itinerary you worked on for hours. Don’t tell me you didn’t leave a rest day at the start? If you go through an itinerary created by a professional tour guide/agency they always leave a rest day or free day on the day you land in a new place. Have you wondered why they wasted a pretty darn good day? Well, my friend now you know why its there. If you had just left the rest of the day free on your first day,you could be sitting pretty cool at the airport waiting for your flight to be called.

Okay, so you were clever enough to leave a free day at the start huh? What are you waiting for? Let’s find out how to keep calm during flight delays.

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Things that Keep You Calm at the Airport When a Flight is Delayed:

1 Have A Good Book:

Grab a book on your way out on that dream vacay! Yes, even the best vacay needs a book to help you relax. Its also a good way to catch-up with your reading. Now that you have the book with you, flight delays are the best time to read your book!

2. People Watching:

If you’re one of those people who loves people, then this one is for you. Find a strategic position, back to the wall… no, no, we are not surveilling the room, but you are going to watch people coming and going.

That baby two rows down is standing on his dad’s shoulder, drooling or maybe dribbling food on his proud dad’s shoulder! How proud is that dad! How cute is the drooling baby huh? Did he just smile at you?

What about the old couple seated two seats to your left? Don’t they look affectionate; makes you almost believe there could be a happily ever after!

Getting the picture? Making the best of a bad situation is key to calmness!

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3. Grab Something to Eat:

If you’re like me, you probably didn’t have much time to eat before you left for the airport. Ha! Got you! Another 2 hours delay? Well, a full belly always makes you look on the bright side despite everything! Find a cozy place to eat, sit down, grab a bite, gulp down that drink and let the calmness fill you up!

4. Meditation/Deep Breathing:

See, now you know why you took that mediation class! Deep breathing and sitting still, contemplating whatever, that really helps you to stay calm. Find a quiet corner, cross your legs if you can and close your eyes, take a deep breath and get lost in your mind!

5. Falling Asleep:

The one big advice is do not fall asleep! If you’re travelling alone, find someone who can wake you up if your flight delay is un-delayed and they call it sooner than you expected! Let’s not miss the holiday altogether! Often flight schedules change and flights do come in earlier than expected, it can happen, I do not lie!

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6. Get in Some Exercise:

Airports usually have a lot of space, especially International ones. Use this time to take a walk, get in your daily 10,000 steps so that when you do reach your holiday destination you can fall asleep or lounge by the pool without feeling guilty.

7. Shopping!

Airports like Singapore’s Changi have the best Duty-free Shopping! Indulge or window shop, time will fly by and before you know it they will be calling your flight!

8. The Airport Lounge:

If you have the qualification to get into the Airport Lounge (Higher-class ticket or premium credit card)  Sometimes you can request a free pass due to the delay and airlines do oblige. Ask nicely! Heathrow has well-stocked Lounges and restrooms including showers.

Take advantage of this and relax in those comfy recliners or snack on your favorite food inside. Many of the airport lounges have free drinks too. Just don’t sleep off and miss the flight!

9. Catch up on Work:

Are you guilty of carrying work with you on vacay and plan to sneak in some report-writing or whatever you do? Why not get it out of the way now? Find a table at a restaurant or Lounge and get it over with. You’ll be glad you did!

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10. Movies and Videos:

The organized traveler would have downloaded your favorite Netflix or Amazon shows and movies to watch on the flight at home. Did you? If you did, then the show can start now! While waiting for a flight, start watching those movies and videos you downloaded – and do use the headphones, I do not want to hear you from the next seat, thank you!

11. Find a Play Area:

Most good airports have a play area for kids. If you’re flying with them, find one and spend time with them there. You can have a lot of fun this way! Always grab some toys and books for kids from home, when flying – that goes without saying – for those times when they need to sit in one place! DFW Airport in Dallas has a decent play area for kids. Read about more about traveling with kids here.

A lot of modern airports have nursing stations for moms. Please look it up online for the airport you are at.

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12. Do Some Research on Compensation:

Especially in Europe, they have some pretty strict rules about compensating passengers when a flight is delayed. Do your research and be ready to file for compensation as soon as you can. A little extra money never hurt anybody! Do check out the flight delay compensation in whichever country you’re in and don’t assume you can’t get any without checking!

Very often, the credit card you used to book your air ticket has insurance for flight delays and lost bags, so find out if you are entitled to any.

Your Attitude Can Make It Better:

No one wants to spend a whole lot of time at the airport. But shit happens. Stay calm, there’s a lot to do at most modern airports. Shopping, entertainment, fitness centers and comfy chairs can make it bearable!

Do make sure your connecting flights are okay and get them fixed with the help of airline staff where necessary. Most airlines do adjust connecting flights themselves.

Finally remember your attitude can make or break your holiday. Take it in stride and make adjustments. Everything can’t be perfect all the time, though we do wish it could!

Have you faced flights delays? Tell us how you managed the delay. We would love to hear from you and learn more!

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27 thoughts on “Shit Happens: How to Stay Calm When Your Flight is Delayed”

  1. Very important pointers shared by you Brindaji, of utilizing the time in the best way while delayed flight, noted it all, I had faced this pathetic situation many times.

  2. These are some very helpful tips Brindha.. I was stuck at Bombay Airport one for 7 hours when my son was a baby. Thanks to the airport lounge., I was very comfortable with him

  3. I have endured multiple 7/8 hour delays/layovers at different airports! I am always grateful for the free wifi, and if there isn’t, I drink coffee after coffee and go through entire books! Shopping is a great way to pass the time if it’s the beginning of your trip, but if the delay is on your way out, then you may be low on cash too.

  4. A very different n unique article. Barely did I realize that the free day on a vacation is to counter for delays. It helps. The post is very well Structured. Loved it

  5. All these are great tips and I had used most of them, when flight gets delayed. specially with kids, I try to find good play area to keep them entertain. and ya of course, shopping always helps in killing the time.

  6. Waao yaar lovely post one can think of.we often face this issue.thanks for giving some tips it will surely help me this time…U r a gem of a person.. because of u IAM here ❤️

  7. Oh these are pretty awesome tips but this is good for a few hours. Mine was delayed for more than 24 hours because the bangalore weather made me miss my delhi to bhutan flight. Still they are good tips. I never tried the people watching tip though.

  8. Well thought points, Brinda ji. I do agree a good clean play area is a boon while traveling with kids.
    Attitude matters in the end, like you quoted. Delayed flights mean have fun at airports or cribs. Why not the former one to choose…

  9. Well, all the points have been curated very well. I’m sure all of must have encountered this phase more than once. And as rightly mentioned your attitude makes all the difference in the most appropriate way.

  10. I agree our attitude makes a lot of difference. Everyone i am sure has been in this situation. You have given some very essential and helpful tips. Will remember them the next time.

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