How to Effectively Use Flight Delays

Every time a flight leaves on time, it seems like a small miracle. Despite established airline schedules, many work against reaching their destination on time. First, the weather: either too hot or too cold, too windy, too rainy, or too foggy. Then there are the mechanical issues to deal with (I recently had a flight delay of an hour and a half because the co-pilot’s seat belt didn’t click). And sometimes it’s not even the airline’s fault, but rather a naughty passenger – for example, a man on one of my flights who, upon learning that the pilot and co-pilot were women, demanded to be released from the plane because he felt unsafe …

As a frequent flyer, at this stage I am simply assuming that every flight will be delayed – so if it does depart on time it seems like a bonus. Flight delays are, of course, annoying. Nobody likes to hang out at the airport, so I use that extra time to do things that I usually put off. That’s fine when you think about it: you don’t want to be at the airport, but you have no choice; and you don’t want to complete these tasks, but you have no choice. Hence, you should use flight delays to knock a few items off your to-do list because you literally have nothing to do.

Here’s how to make the most of your flight delay.

Plan ahead

Yes, I know it sounds very half empty glass, but when you’re getting ready for your trip – printing out tickets, collecting passports, pouring fluids into three ounce containers – work under the assumption that your flight is canceled and come up with a few tasks you can perform at the airport.

Think about what you are saving and make sure you have what you need. For example, if you need to call the cable company to dispute a bill, you will need your account number, so take a photo of your bill so you have all the information you need at your fingertips.

Is there a book you wanted to read but didn’t have time to? Flight delays are a great opportunity. If you are a teacher who needs to grade papers, either put assignments in a bag or scan them so that they appear on your computer (if you do not already have electronic versions).

Get to work

As soon as you know your flight has been delayed, look around the airport lounge and take your seat. Ideally, you will need a seat with a chair and a power outlet. If you plan on working on a laptop, try to find a workstation that works like a standing desk or high chairs, minimizing the chances of having a small, noisy child next to you.

Once you get settled, get to work. You may not reach the coveted inbox zero , but you can definitely send some annoying email responses that you ignored. This is usually the first thing I do because there is never really a time when I have no work to do and I enjoy deleting unread messages one by one.

If the airport doesn’t have free Wi-Fi, or you can’t open your computer, there is a lot you can do with your phone. In addition to calling credit card companies, cable and electrical companies, you can also make an appointment with the dentist or check the balance on the Target gift card you received for your birthday and can’t remember if you’ve used it yet.

Flight delays are also the perfect time to make phone calls to friends or family members that never seem to fit into your schedule. You not only have time, but also a great excuse to stop talking on the phone: “Oh! I have to fly – they just announced that my flight is preparing to land. ” (Even if this is not the case, there will be so many overhead ads that the person on the phone will not notice the difference.)

Keep in mind

If you happen to be at an airport with free Wi-Fi , make sure you practice hygiene online as you would with any public Wi-Fi situation. This means doing things like checking airport signs announcing free Wi-Fi to make sure you are using their official network and not a similar identity thief trap and avoiding online banking. You definitely don’t want to start your trip with a delayed flight and a call from Chase who said they noticed suspicious activity on your credit card.


Leave a Reply