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How to Survive Flight Delays

Have you ever been at the end of a long trip and ready to go home, and your flight gets canceled?

That happened to me on the way back from my volunteer time at Tony Robbins’ UPW.

For many reasons, this happened at the best time.

  1. I was still on a high from the event – in a good mood and committed to staying that way.
  2. I didn’t have to wait through several delays. It was a quick cancel an hour before takeoff.
  3. Since I work for myself and didn’t have clients scheduled, I didn’t have to explain my absence to anyone!

I asked my friends and community for some advice on what to do when this happens. Here’s what they said:

If you find yourself delayed or “stranded” in an airport, here’s what you can do:

1. Immediately call customer service, while walking to the customer service desk, and checking the airline app. All at the same time!

Concern: If I clicked through the app, then I would be locked in to whatever flight I chose.

New Information: You can continue to change your rebooking!! So you can grab the best option while you’re waiting to talk to a human who might be able to help you with a better option on another airline.

2. Remain calm and pleasant. 

Likely many people around you will be freaking out, angry, crying, shouting – there’s no need for you to participate in that! It won’t help. Simply ask for what you want and ask questions when you don’t understand or agree.

Concern: Should the airline compensate me for my inconvenience and the added expense of another night in a hotel?

New Information: If you’re flight is delayed or canceled due to weather, then the airline is not required to compensate you.  Since this is the first time I’ve experienced a canceled flight, I asked the representative to explain it to me. I said something like “Can you help me understand why there’s no compensation?” He kindly explained the difference in maintenance delays and weather delays. I found other passengers to have the same experience.

After I heard myself say out-loud in the video above that I expected compensation for my inconvenience, I started to question if that was really fair. I think the assumption comes from a distance past when airline cultures had a completely different vibe.  These days, it’s not much different than riding a bus and expecting compensation if the bus gets stuck in traffic. Hmmm….

3. Use powerful language. 

You’re not “stranded”. You’re inconvenienced.

It’s 2017 – Uber will take you to any hotel or restaurant where you can have all the conveniences of being on vacation or a business trip.

Ultimately, being delayed isn’t that big of a deal and YOU can CHOOSE to find a way to make it work FOR you instead of being annoyed/angry that it’s happening TO you.

Bonus Tip: Keep your travel fund padded with some emergency cash for these things that could happen!


This is Part 5 in a series called Entrepreneur Travel Life!  Here is Part 12, 3 , and 4 if you missed it.