So, you’ve booked your flight, packed your bags, packed your child’s bag, got your tickets and you are that the airport ready to go! Then you hear it, the announcement that your flight is delayed an hour or two or worse. Now what?!?
I’ve been there my friends, usually in a connection city and frequently when flying on an airline with a hub in Detroit. Once we were even in Detroit…5 hour delay. They’re not a bad airline just one I personally have had terrible luck with.
First things first, if your flight is cancelled, find a new one. If your flight is delayed to the point that you will miss a connections, talk to the counter agent and get a new connecting flight. If you will be stuck in the next city overnight, get a hotel room now, not when you get there.
Flight delays happen, heck 8 hour planned international layovers in Toronto happen. You can either roll with them or let them make you crazy. I suggest you roll with them, no need to see the inside of airport jail.
Suggestions for your new found time:
- Race your kids up and down the terminal or at least take a walk to “explore”. Do this at least once, you will be glad for the energy they burn off. When others look at you strangely, ask if they want energic or calm children to share the plane with them. They’ll acquiesce quickly.
- Let the kids make silly faces or play silly games, if you can keep them relatively quiet, you’ll get grins from your fellow travelers
- Watch the planes. Unless it is a massive weather shut down, other plans will be flying and kids love to watch them! Try to guess where those planes are going, make up wild stories. Heck if you know more about areonautics than I do, explain how planes fly or just ask your smart phone.
- See if you can spy the buildings in the downtown area of the city – even if you can’t see them, get the kids too look, it is good for at least 3 minutes.
- Look around and learn about the city you are in. There are frequently art installations in airports that tell about the history of the city or special events that are going on. In Charlotte, my beloved Charlotte airport, there are rocking chairs to sit in and relax. Ask around and find out why.
- Play “I Spy”(our family rule is you can’t spy people, I feel the staring and pointing that will ensue is rude).
- Let them watch a movie if it is a fairly long delay or layover but try to do so with your device plugged in, you’re going to need that battery life.
- Color pictures, play tic tac toe, or play some other game on paper – be creative, make stuff up.
- Go get water, 20 minutes later go get snacks, 20 minutes later go to the bathroom – use the facilities and then make silly faces in the mirror. Most other travelers will simply smile at you and your cute kiddos.
- Get a meal if you have time, hungry parents and/or kiddos stuck in airports spell disaster
The important thing is to try to make the best of it. My daughter still talks about the 5 hours in Detroit when we giggled and played our way through the airport, stopping for a smoothie and later a snack on the way to my parents’ house one summer.