I remember my first cancelled flight well. I was 8 and flying to Pakistan. We got as far as Germany before we had an engine fail and had to fly back to London. At that age it was all very exciting. We were put up in a fancy hotel and I remember morning tea coming with a pack of chocolate biscuits as long as my arm. They went into my bag until I found them later, smashed and melted.
Now that I’m older it certainly isn’t as fun. You look up at the board. You’re eyes scramble over destinations, times and flight codes. A mash up of information that blurs together until your eyes focus on the one thatâ€™s yours. Yes that flight right there. It’s yours, It’s delayed.
If you’re going on a Gap Year, you might be taking a round the world flight with some domestic flights thrown in. That’s a lot of opportunity for some delayed flights! Here’s some things you can do if you’re bored waiting in the airport during a delay or cancellation.
Things to do When Bored at the Airport
1. Take a walk. It’s your mission to touch every gate check in desk. If it’s busy you have to come fly by later.
2. Read a book or magazine. Don’t have your own? Just be cheeky and stand in the bookstore for an hour.
3. Complain about the delay with strangers. People love to have a good nag.
4. Go use a massage chair and then just don’t get up after. They are really comfy.
5. Choose your future travel destination. The next flight to get cancelled is the country you have plan a trip to. See point 2, go find the travel guide.
6. People watch and make up their back stories. Tell the people the back story you made up and see how close you were to reality.
7. Challenge random strangers to a thumb war.
8. Take a nap. The floor will do. Just use your day pack as a pillow and nod off. Set an alarm to be safe.
9. Ask a stranger to go on a date with you at the nearest fast food outlet.
10. See who else has checked in to your location on social media. Track them down. Give details about their life and pretend to be psychic or just pretend to have met at a bar they’ve been too.
11. Go to duty free and put on something that smells nice.
12. Make a little mini documentary on your phone. Trying to sound like David Attenborough will lend it credibility.
13. Go shove loads of chocolate in your face. Why not?
14. Perform a silent movie for other waiting passengers.
15. Just sit and wait. Sigh. Flick down your Facebook news feed. Rinse and repeat.
Finally, the one thing that I was late to cotton on to during all my travels is that we do have rights when it comes to flight cancellations and delays. For example, a flight with a distance of less than 1500km with a delay of more than two hours would be entitled to £210. Not to mention that you are also entitled to things like meal vouchers or accommodation for longer delays.
It can be a pain handling all this yourself so you could use something like Flightright to handle it for you. Just plug in your flight number and date and the calculator will let you know if you were due anything. Delays can be irritating but if you get money back which offsets some of the cost of your flight, it’s a bit of a win!