Flight’s delayed. Now what?

With the recent snow and ice storms sweeping across the country this winter, many travelers have been left stranded at airports trying to figure out what their next move will be until they are able to get another flight.  Some have just had several hour layovers, while others have been left to find a cozy spot on those horrid airport terminal chairs for the night in hopes that the weather will clear enough in the morning to open the runways.  This has left me wondering what options are available out there in the airports, and so I have gone on a search to find out.

Of course, the internet with its wealth of information, social network sites, games, etc. is a good way to kill some time while waiting on a flight.  Most large airports offer internet cafe-like areas and business suites for a small fee to make your web-surfing time a pleasurable or productive one.  Many airports like San Francisco, Orlando, Denver, and Las Vegas are now offering WiFi as well giving you the option to surf the web while grabbing a bite to eat or sitting down for a cold one.

Speaking of having a cold one, some passengers enjoy getting a drink and catching a game just before their flight or during a layover.  I once had a two-hour layover at Midway airport in Chicago on my way to visit a friend in Denver.  The bar close to my gate made a very good bloody mary that I enjoyed along with good conversation with fellow passengers.  One site that I think would be helpful in finding a good airport bar is airportbars.com, the self-proclaimed authority on airport bars throughout the US.  There you will find information such as locations, descriptions, amenities, and customer reviews.  They also keep you updated with a blog.  Some entertainment aspects include the top 10 bars list and a list of resource links of things like All About Airport Parking to Funny Golf Shirts to keep you entertained while throwing one back.

Some travelers just aren’t the sit-around-and-wait type.  Fortunately there is a growing trend becoming available for these travelers I’m sure they will be happy about.  Airportgyms.com can help you find a gym or fitness facility in or near an airport in the US and Canada.  This website was started in 2002 and has worked to compile a comprehensive list provided mostly by travelers like you and I.  Once you choose a state, it gives you a list of airports that offer facilities within that state.  Most options give you a map of the location, all give you a description of what is offered, any fees required, and the hours it is open.  For some, this would be a great way to work off the stress of delayed flights and mishandled baggage.

Many airports have things they offer in common to ease traveler’s inconveniences.  Such things like mobile charging stations can be a life saver for someone with a low battery.  World class chefs are choosing to open restaurants for travelers to get a gourmet meal before their flight.  But some airports are trying to add special touches to set them apart from the rest.  Dever Int. Airport now has Massage Inc. where you can get a variety of different massages to ease the traveler’s anxiety from your shoulders.  If you are traveling with pets, they have a pet relief area for your furry friend to stretch their legs and get a bit of fresh air.  Sometimes I like to get my kids away from their electronic gadgets and get them to use their imagination a bit.  DIA’s website offers a few different scavenger hunts you can do within the airport that are sure to bring out the imagination in anyone.

San Francisco International Airport hosts Freshen Up!, a spa and shower service located pre-security.  They offer a variety of options for you to choose from so you don’t have to feel like you’ve been drug from one end of the country to the other, even though you have.  Oh, how I wish I had the opportunity to offer this to fellow passengers sitting next to me at crowded airports in the past.  The Museum of Modern Art has exhibits on display throughout the airport for your viewing pleasure as well.

McCarren International Airport in Las Vegas would be my choice of an airport I would want to be stuck at.  Unfortunately they don’t get a lot of weather delays in the desert.  Located in terminals 1 and 2 are any number of different slot machines complete with flashing lights and annoying sounds.  I have seen people win big money while I was waiting for my flight in that glitzy airport.  Not only do you have the option of the slots in the airport, but the strip is just minutes away so if you have a few hours, grab a cab and try your luck at the craps table or poker.  Just watching the fountains in front of the Bellagio could keep me entertained for hours, not to mention the spectacular people watching that awaits you once the sun goes down.  Vegas is a future post in itself with all the things I could go on and on about.  I love that town (city?).

The one thing I came across that I found would be the most helpful and appreciated while being delayed for a flight is something I came across at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Atlanta Airport.  Minute Suites is the traveler’s retreat currently only offered in Atlanta airport.  They offer a private retreat within the terminal to nap, relax, and work.  Each suite comes complete with a comfortable daybed sofa, pillows, and fresh blankets.  A sound-masking system and alarm clock allow you to sleep worry free.  HDTV in every suite can be used to catch up on news, sports, or your favorite show.  A desk, phone, and office chair provide guests with a functional workspace while laptop users can access the airport’s WiFi or direct connection port.  If you left your laptop at home, the suite is equipped with its own computer.  Now when I first started looking into these I figured they would cost a pretty penny.  Actually, I found them to be very reasonable.  You can pay $30 per hour, $7.50 for 15 min., and if you are stuck for the night you can keep it for $120.  I hope that more airports catch on to this because I would certainly take advantage if I were in need of it in the future.

I hope you don’t have to be stuck at the airport on your next business or pleasure trip, but if you do I hope some of my suggestions will make your time waiting a much more pleasant experience.  Come back and let me know if you do.  I would love to hear some personal reviews.

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  1. Trackback: Tweets that mention Flight’s delayed. Now what? « ALoveForTravel -- Topsy.com

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