Top 20 things to do when your flight is delayed

You’ve squeezed your wardrobe into a suitcase, set the alarm for silly o’clock, snoozed, jumped out of bed, got dressed, searched frantically for your passport, dashed to the airport and… your flight is delayed!

Let’s face it, nobody actually enjoys being delayed at the airport, but there are ways to pass the time that can make the situation a little less mind-numbing. Listed below are 20 simple things you can do to pass the time.

20. Plane-spotting

OK, so it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it tends to keep the kids occupied for a bit if you are waiting to jet off on your family holiday.

Most airports have a viewing area (or at least some windows) where you can watch planes come and go while yours goes nowhere (sigh).

19. Take a walk

Explore your surroundings. Obviously, the airport will need to be on the larger side for this to be worthwhile!

Not only is walking a good way of stretching your legs before sitting on a cramped plane for hours on end, it is also a good way of finding out what the departures terminal has to offer in terms of shops, bars, restaurants and other services.

18. Read a book

A book is a must have item for most travellers, but if you don’t have one there is nearly always a shop at the airport stocked with the latest bestsellers. Most of us feel that we should read more often, so why not take the opportunity to do so when you’re stranded with nothing better to do?

17. Chat to a stranger

You can meet all kinds of interesting people at airports, why not start up a conversation?
You may find a new friend and be able to pass the time discussing football, the weather, politics or even flight delays…

16. Do some work

If you are on a business trip and aren’t afraid of putting in the extra hours, you can use the time to catch up on emails or finally finish that sales report you’ve been putting off for weeks. There are usually quiet zones or business lounges around the terminal that provide the perfect environment for this.

15. Sleep

If you booked a morning flight, the chances are that you got up ridiculously early to get to the airport in time. Now could be the time to catch up on some sleep… find somewhere quiet and comfy, put on the headphones pull your hood up and snooze away (don’t forget to set an alarm!)
Executive Lounges sometimes have beds available for a surcharge and if your flight is delayed overnight, your airline will pay for hotel accommodation.

14. Choose your next holiday destination

You’ll probably look longingly at the boarding gates and departures screen as flight after flight sets off – browse the list of exotic destinations and start researching your next trip.
Alternatively, a fun (but risky) game, is to wait for the first cancelled flight to appear on the screen and book that destination for your next holiday.

13. People watch

All kinds of people pass through the airport each day – relax and watch how people go about their business. It’s more fun than it sounds; particularly if you find celebrity lookalikes.

12. Grab a bite to eat

You are going to get peckish at some point and airlines are obligated to provide meal vouchers if you are delayed for more than 2 hours. Most airports have a selection of food outlets – pick a table, take your time and enjoy your meal.

11. Shop ’til you drop

Sort out your holiday gifts before you’ve even left, the usual array of perfume, booze and giant Toblerones are available at nearly every airport thanks to the good ol’ Duty-Free shop. At the larger airports, you will find a better selection of stores, and may even be able to treat yourself to items you can use during your holiday (clothes, jewellery, books, sun cream, gadgets etc.).

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10. Stare at your smartphone

Let’s be honest, we don’t need an excuse to pull out our smartphones. Kill time by catching up on current affairs, scroll through your Facebook news feed or tweet away your frustration. It’s also the perfect opportunity to watch all of your favourite cute cat videos on YouTube.

9. Take some cool photos

Airports often boast unusual architecture and other interesting photo opportunities, including the planes themselves. Unleash your photography skills and impress your army of Instagram and Facebook followers.

8. Create a documentary

Keep you, friends and relatives amused with a satirical vlog or snapchat story. Put your smartphone or GoPro to good use by keeping a video diary of your airport adventures (no offence ‘old folks’, but this may be one for younger travellers!).

7. Watch a movie / catch up on your favourite TV show

Connect to the airport Wi-Fi (usually free) using your laptop, tablet or smartphone and find something to watch – you might be able to squeeze in a movie or two, or bring yourself up to date with the latest must-see US TV series. Remember to put headphones on so that you don’t disturb other passengers and keep an eye on the time to make sure you don’t miss your flight after being engrossed in Game of Thrones!

6. Hit the gym

Believe it or not, some airports even have gyms these days!
Make the finishing touches to your ‘beach body’ and get yourself showered, refreshed and ready to go. If there isn’t a gym at the airport, you could try running the wrong way down the travellators on your way to the boarding gate!

5. Prop up the bar

Probably not one for those travelling with kids, but, if all else fails, you can always get a bit tipsy and become an honorary member of a stag / hen party…
Find the airport bar and drink away the hours – don’t get too drunk though as you might miss your flight!

4. Play games

Being stuck at the airport with bored kids is practically torture.
Give them some pocket money and send them off to the amusement arcade, or if there isn’t one, get playing cards or a board game from the shop. If you can’t do that either, you might have to settle for a game of ‘I spy…’!

3. Create an itinerary for your holiday

If you haven’t done so already, plan each day of your holiday in advance. Find out more about car hire, shops, restaurants, nightlife, transport, museums and activities. It’s a little bit dull but saves you the stress of scrambling around for things to do after you’ve arrived.

2. Complain to the airline

As well as a disgruntled tweet or two, really let the airline know how you feel by finding a customer services colleague to complain to. It may seem futile, but it sometimes pays dividends in the form of vouchers. If you really create a scene you may become a YouTube sensation!

1. Write something

Let your creative juices flow – put pen to paper and produce a beautiful poem, short story, or even a blog about airport delays!

If you try a combination of the ideas above, you’ll be amazed how quickly the time passes.

Although you are likely to have forgotten about your flight disruption by the time you return home, remember to get in touch with Flight Delay Claims 4 U as you could be owed up to £540 compensation from the airline responsible.