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What's the Hold Up?

by Noemi Arellano-Summer

Photo courtesy of Wix

Traveling can be hard sometimes. When you don’t make it to your destination smoothly, it’s a massive pain. You’re aware that delays and other problems happen, but not generally to you, so when they do, it’s something else to get used to and deal with. Here are some tips on dealing with delays and issues, coming from a person who’s been on two delayed flights in the past six months.

1. Don’t panic. Customer Service is your friend.

The first time I was delayed, it was because of the weather. I landed in Washington, D. C., on my way back to Boston, only to get a text while still on the plane that said my next flight was cancelled. Freaking out, I made my way off the plane to wait for Customer Service to tell me what I should do. Long story short: I ended up spending the night sitting in a chair at the Reagan Airport before getting on a plane at 6 a.m. the next day. Yes, this is really frustrating, especially if you’re traveling alone. But do your best not to panic (like I did...). It doesn’t help and only makes you more nervous. Customer Service is your friend. This is their job, and they’ll help you figure a way forward to your destination. Plus, once you’ve gone through some setbacks, having them happen again is less worrisome. You’ve done it once, therefore you can do it again. The second time I was delayed, it was less of a problem. This time, I luckily didn’t have to spend the night in the airport.

2. Make sure you eat something.

Maybe this is obvious. Why would you forget to eat? Traveling, though, especially through multiple time zones, can do weird things to your appetite. If you don’t want to pay for plane food, bring food in your carry-on luggage. If necessary, buy something at the airport. Real food helps, not just coffee. Eating helps us remember where we are in time. Traveling can often seem like something out of time, since it isn’t a part of your daily routine; you’re moving from place to place, not staying put.

3. Ask for what you need.

Short delay? See if the plane is providing snacks. Overnight delay? Ask about food and drink vouchers, or even hotel vouchers. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you want or need, especially if you’re traveling alone: no one else will do it for you. Pay for what you need, if necessary. Delays are frustrating, but you need to get where you have to go. Be active and assertive when you travel—it’ll pay off.

So, there you have it. When you face setbacks, here’s some advice to counter it. Of course, it’s always a good idea to prepare for the possibility of delays before leaving the house: bring food, make sure you have something to occupy yourself and have your important documents and electronics in your carry-on so you’ll always know where they are. Best of luck!

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