If you’ve ever been stuck at an airport due to flight delays, you will understand how handy it is to have your essentials with you at all times. I was one of the many unlucky people who got stranded due to the eruption of Mt Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. I’d departed Sydney none the wiser only to land at Changi airport in Singapore at 10pm to find that my next flight was delayed. And then it was really delayed. Cancelled. Off the screen. Gone. We were stuck in the terminal just like Tom Hanks. Nobody new when we would be able to fly again. Hundreds of us spent the night sleeping on the floor of the airport. It sure was a sight to be seen. By mid-afternoon the following day there was still no end in sight. Eyjafjallajökull was pumping out ash non-stop.
Thankfully I was stranded at Changi – one of the best and biggest airports in the world. There was plenty of space, shopping, a pool, a cinema, a butterfly garden and lots of free massage chairs which I spent plenty of time on. But still, the chances of this are fairly low. You could get stuck in transit at Sydney airport and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
Hopefully you’ll never have to spend a night in an airport like I did (in fact it would have been 3 nights had I not been able to secure some scarce accommodation on the outside – another reason to use a travel agent). If it does happen to you, no matter where you end up, if you’ve got the following you’ll get through the delay just a little bit more easily.
- Your phone /ipad /laptop charger (and an adaptor) – whatever you do, don’t pack your charger in your suitcase like I did.
- Pills and medicines – always carry at least a few days worth on your person. You wouldn’t want an additional health stress on top of the current situation.
- A clean set of underwear, a face washer and moisturizer / basic make-up. Freshening up will at least help you feel and look a bit nicer
- A good book and music. You were probably planning on reading and relaxing on your holiday, may as well make the most of this forced situation and get stuck into a good book to pass the time. I would also recommend downloading an app such as relax melodies that can help drown out the airport noise.
- A sense of humour and your manners. Remember that the situation is probably not the fault of the customer service person trying to help you so don’t get upset with them. They’re probably working overtime to help out. And also, the situation is what it is and since you can’t change it, just try to make the most of it. Read your book, do a crossword, see if you can get a transit pass to go outside and explore the area. There is no point in sulking – it won’t get you out of there any faster.
Article by Nicola Billens Nicola Billens is an experienced traveller, having visited all the continents (except Antarctica) over the last 20 years. She’s lived in France, England, Austria and New Zealand and spent many years and many dollars experiencing what this wonderful world has to offer.