Travel delays are inevitable. Inclement weather, mechanical failure and crew delays can throw a major wrench in your carefully-planned trip. As frustrating as these moments are, you can turn any delay into a memorable mini-adventure with a little creativity and a positive attitude. As British writer and theologian, G.K. Chesterton, famously said,
“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered.”
Here are a few tips for making the most of a trip delay or cancellation!
1. Be kind to the gate agents
The gate agents are not trying to ruin your trip. It is important to remember that gate agents have no control over schedule changes and most cancellations are made with your safety in mind. If you notice other passengers giving the gate agent a hard time, take the opportunity to extend a little extra kindness.
2. Get your arrangements out of the way
As soon as you know a delay is going to happen, start making all of your important phone calls. If you’ve made arrangements with your host ministry to be picked up at your destination, notify your contacts of your new arrival time. If your flight is canceled completely, make sure the airline gives you a new confirmation for the next available flight. Find out if they will be offering you any compensation for the inconvenience.
3. Prepare to make a Trip Delay Claim
If your delay will keep you grounded for 12 hours or more, you may be eligible for trip delay coverage. If you are unsure, call the number on the back of your Faith Ventures Card with any questions about your coverage. You will need to save all meal, hotel and ground transportation receipts to send in with your claim documents later on. The underwriter will also need a copy of your trip itinerary and any documentation regarding the reason for the delay.
4. Tour the city
Many large cities offer free city tour services for travelers with long layovers. You will need to figure out the requirements for a transit visa, which vary from country to country. If a tour is not available, find a fun restaurant to try or a nearby museum to explore on your own. Build in plenty of time to get back to the airport and go through security again.
5. Spend some time relaxing
If you’re accustomed to a fast-paced schedule, it can be hard to allow yourself the freedom to just sit and kick back a little. If a sudden travel delay has you on edge of a nervous breakdown, a little down time might be exactly what you need! Find a quiet cafe (in or outside the airport) and do some people watching, journaling or reading. Watch the planes take off from an observation deck. Turn off your phone and enjoy a slow meal with your travel companions.
6. Explore the airport
Most major airports have so much more to offer than food and shopping! Get a massage, a haircut or sneak in a quick workout at an airport gym. Strike up a conversation with a stranger and learn something new. If you’re stuck at the airport with a group, make a funny video or play a giant game of hide-and-go-seek. Just try to avoid ending up in places you shouldn’t be or looking suspicious!