How to Handle Flight Delays Like a Pro
As much as we all love to hate them, flight delays are just a natural part of the travel experience. With them comes the inevitable need to reschedule a variety of other travel reservations, resulting in a domino of extra phone calls, down time, and overdue meals. Here are four survival strategies for handling flight delays like an experienced travel veteran. (See also: 40 Most Useful Travel Websites That Can Save You a Fortune)
Use the Downtime for Catching Up on Work
After you’ve made all of the necessary rescheduling calls, consider using the next few hours to catch up on work. Scanning documents for that expense report, researching background information for articles, and catching up on electronic filing and document organization are all worthy goals for using this unscheduled block of available work time. Nobody likes an outlet hog however, so one of my favorite travel tricks to roll with flight delays is to bring along a multi-plug adapter that only takes up one slot. It’s one of several pieces of budget travel gear I buy at the hardware store or other discount retailers such as the Dollar Tree.
Decide Whether or Not to Book a Hotel Room
This isn’t necessarily the simplest of all travel decisions when flight delays are involved. Depending on the length of delay and whether or not the airline is at fault, you may be offered a hotel voucher from the company you’re flying with. This makes it worth your while to wait a bit, in case you can save yourself the cost of that hotel room at next-to-the-airport rates. Also, check with your credit card company to see if they offer you any additional coverage for handling a missed flight.
Hit the Lounge
Airport executive lounges offer a huge value for travelers who are temporarily stranded due to flight delays. If you have a first- or business-class ticket, chances are you’ll be allowed access to your airline’s executive lounge anyway. If not, and your delay isn’t long enough to warrant a hotel stay, consider trying out one of the priority pass lounges, which provide access to free Wi-Fi (saving you the cost of logging on at the main terminal), an open bar, snacks, newspaper and magazine access, and more including the occasional shower facilities, napping rooms, and sound-proof children’s play areas. Chances are you’ll spend less than a trip to a restaurant and bar on the concourse anyway, and gain comfy chairs and quiet to boot.
Manage Your Munchies
If you’ve run out of road trip snacks and the items on the executive lounge hospitality buffet don’t quite fill you up, there are other ways to control the cost of travel food. For many flight delays or missed connections, airlines will offer meal vouchers that can be used at various venues throughout the terminal, including the numerous sundries shops where you can purchase nuts, seeds, and dried fruit to hold you over until the next flight.
Flight delays might be tedious and annoying, but they don’t have to run your work schedule or your budget off the rails. Use these savvy strategies to manage downtime as well as costs.