Flying these days can be tricky at best and utterly miserable at worst. Knowing a few simple tips can help you navigate the system and enjoy a more pleasant journey. (And, yes, these lessons were learned the hard way!)
1. Don’t panic. Realize this happens all the time, even to seasoned travelers.
2. Find the nearest customer service desk for your airline. Calmly and briefly explain to them what has happened. Already have in mind what you would like them to offer you: rescheduled flight (preferably at no cost), hotel discount for the night, free shuttle to the hotel and back to the airport, meal voucher, free long-distance phone call (even overseas).
3. Don’t dwell on what might have been. Whatever the circumstances, you missed your flight. You may have missed a day of settling in or sightseeing, or maybe even an important meeting. Resolve not to lose too much sleep over it, and to make the most of your experiences once you hit the ground.
4. If possible, get a good night’s rest. Chances are you missed a bit of sleep in the stress of packing and preparing for your journey. Don’t waste time on Facebook telling everyone about your woes. Use your down time in the airport or in a hotel to get some sleep. If given the option of paying a discounted price for a nice hotel or staying at the airport – time permitting – choose the nice hotel. Once you reach your destination, you’ll be glad you did.
See Stranded in Style for creative ways that passengers have used their unexpected additional airport time.