In a time of ever-increasing homeland security, crowded airports, and uncertain weather, flight delays have become all too familiar to the majority of travelers. Learning how to prevent delays that are avoidable, as well as cope with those that are not, will help make traveling a much more pleasant experience.
One of the most frustrating experiences in an airport is suffering through a long check-in process, running to catch a plane, or even missing a flight because of unnecessary hold-ups that could have been avoided with better preparation. One way to speed up the check-in process is to check in online and even print off your boarding pass from your home computer.
If you are traveling with children, it is best to arrive at the airport before the normal recommended time to arrive, usually at least an hour and a half before your flight departs. This will make the boarding process less stressful, as airlines will usually let those with small children board first.
Never try to get through security with wrapped gifts, because they will make you unwrap them. It is a better idea to just wrap them when you get to your destination, or just ship the wrapped gifts ahead of time.
Always keep your I.D. and boarding pass easily accessible throughout the check-in, security, and boarding processes. Not only will this be helpful because of how many times you will be asked to show them, but will also help you remember where they are to avoid losing them or misplacing them somewhere in you luggage.
Most of the delays the we face during our airport travel are out of our control, and one simple way of predicting these is to just take into consideration what airports we are flying through. The Weather Channel listed O'hare International Airport in Chicago as the number airport prone to delays.
The other airports that made up the top ten were Newark Liberty, Miami, Dallas/ Fort Worth, LaGuardia (NY), Dulles (DC), San Francisco, Chicago Midway, JFK (NY), and Atlanta. It is important to not only pay attention to what airport you are flying out of, but also where your layovers are to see if you will be using any of these airports.
Any airport can be prone to delays, however, which is why its important to check for other delay-causing events. Always check the weather forecasts for any cities you will be flying through, as well as checking for delays on the website of the airport or airline you use.
If you are able to find that your flight has been significantly delayed before you even leave for the airport then you can save yourself the discomfort of having to sit in an airport terminal for several hours. However, if you do get stuck in an airport during a layover, there are ways to minimize the discomfort and make sure you don't bore to death during those delay hours.
It is a good idea to carry certain items in your carry-on that will be helpful in the event of a delay, whether it be just an hour long or last overnight. Airport restaurants are expensive and may close too early, so make sure you have some sandwiches or other packable food handy in your carry-on.
Reading a book or a newspaper will also help to keep you occupied, but many people get tired of reading after a couple of hours. Unless you are an avid bookworm, do not rely solely on reading material to get you through the delay.
If you prefer sitting back and watching a movie instead of curling up with a book, stick your laptop or portable DVD player in your carry-on. However, don't assume that your device's 2-4 hour battery life is going to last as long as the delay, pack your AC-adapter so that it is accessible as well.
Airports can often be cool and drafty, so you will want to make sure you can stay warm during any long waits. Blankets are bulky to try to pack and fit in a carry-on, so a more practical option is to wear a sweater or sweatshirt that you could just remove if you got too warm.
Ideally we would never have to waste time waiting in airports due to delays, but the weather and crowds don't always cooperate with our travel plans. However, if we are prepared to deal with them, we don't have to be miserable during delays.