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Editor’s Note: This story was originally Penny Horder.
Thousands of tired and frustrated airline passengers have been stranded at airports and sleeping in terminals recently following widespread flight cancellations due to deadly winter storms.
The crisis began over the Christmas weekend. By next Tuesday, thousands of flights across the country had been canceled or delayed. The chaos, mayhem, and piles of luggage at American airports continued for days.
It’s not the last. We were there and we did it. Over the years, I’ve learned a few handy tricks for surviving when stuck at an airport.
Here are our top survival tips.
1. Carry six things with you at all times
Checking bags while flying is rare, but it’s not always an option for many people.
Never fly without these essentials, whether in carry-on or checked baggage.
- snack: Airport food = bure. If you’re stuck for too long, of course you’ll need to buy something, but healthy snacks can get you through a little delay.
- Empty water bottle: You can’t bring liquids in through security, but empty bottles? Don’t fall victim to $5 airport water.
- warm sweatshirt: Hotter than Florida in July or colder than Chicago in January is something of a universal law for airports and planes. If you don’t end up wearing it – but truth be told, you probably do – you can use it as a pillow.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: When you’re having a rough day traveling, brushing your teeth can change the world. Trust me on this one.
- Phone charger: Do you really need an explanation?
- Good book: Books don’t require power. So you can enrich your brain in your own space instead of fighting in outlets with lots of land.
2. Know Your Rights
Airlines are supposed to offer refunds if flights are canceled or significantly delayed. But they don’t always tell us that. Then they are supposed to actually follow through and pay that refund.
The problem is that the rules governing flights and airlines can be complicated, and even frequent flyers don’t always have them all memorized.So The guide here is broken Exact rules that airlines must follow if a flight is canceled or delayed, or if a flight is overbooked, or if luggage is lost.
Let’s say you are at the airport and your flight is suddenly canceled or significantly delayed. Fuming, you drag your bag to the ticket counter.
The ticket agent may ask you to sit still and wait. Alternatively, the airline may provide a travel voucher that can be used to purchase another ticket at a later date.
However, you don’t have to accept it. No need to wait for the next flight. No need to take a voucher.you Legal right to actual refund — No full refunds, no crazy business, no random fee withdrawals, etc. Don’t let them say otherwise.
3. Be kind
Look out for your rights.
Being stuck at an airport sucks and no one knows better than the people who work at the airport.
So don’t take it on them. be patient.
Remember: they didn’t want this blizzard on you. They probably want to go home to their families as much as you do. The only difference is that you won’t get yelled at by a very grumpy passenger merry-go-round.
4. Book a hotel
Get a hotel in Horn as soon as you know you’ll be stuck overnight. If you booked that night and it seems like a significant delay, pay the extra just in case (after checking your hotel’s cancellation policy, of course).
Thanks to the law of supply and demand, some hotels raise rates as soon as travel troubles arise.
If you can’t find a room near the airport, don’t be afraid to venture further afield. With ridesharing services proliferating, you may be able to save a good deal of money by staying outside of the airport’s general surrounding area.
5. Look to credit cards
If you purchased your ticket with a credit card, please read the fine print.
If you’re lucky, some credit cards will cover your travel delays.
Some agencies will reimburse you for food and lodging if your flight is delayed by more than six hours or if you need to stay overnight. This policy generally covers a fixed amount per ticket for the cardholder, her spouse or her domestic partner, and her dependent children.
6. Jump on Twitter
Not getting traction with airlines in person or over the phone? Try social media.
It sounds silly, but I get great service by sending tweets and “@mentioning” the company. Even when emails and phone calls didn’t work, they responded quickly with tweets.
Also, don’t think it’s just because we’re with the media. Even airline representatives make the same suggestions.
7. Purchase a lounge pass
Airport lounges typically cost about $50 per day. That might seem like an exorbitant cost — until you’re stuck for quite some time.
Airport lounges are equipped with power outlets, private Wi-Fi, showers, comfortable seats, snacks and, most importantly, free drinks.
If you’re looking to spend the next 12 hours in an airport bar, a lounge day pass will save you a lot of money.
The lounge also has its own service desk, where representatives can assist you in rebooking flights so you can avoid the lines in the main area.
8. Sleep in a quiet place
If you don’t want to spend the night on the floor (gross), sleep at the airport It may become your new best friend.
The website reveals the best nooks and crannies to give your head a rest, plus lots of other information to help you get through the delay unscathed.
Getting stuck at an airport is one of life’s great annoyances. But when your patience wears off, remember that it’s all there: annoying.
Traveling inside a giant metal box, especially in the sky, is still a special privilege.