28 Hours in an Airport

So, I think it’s safe to say that airports aren’t always the most pleasant place to spend a large amount of time. Bustling crowds, overpriced merchandise, airport food and nothing to do to kill the time? Not exactly my idea of fun.

But sometimes we find ourselves in the position where we have no choice but to spend hours trapped in these places. Recently I spent my winter in the US and somehow managed to get stuck there for an extra week after five of my flights were cancelled. So, after spending a total of 28 hours in JFK airport over the course of my estrangement, I figured I would share a few tips on how to survive extended amounts of time in the airport without falling into complete and utter despair.

The first item that I found to be crucial is locating and securing all working outlets in the airport. You are presumably going to be spending a long time there, often with the need to make long phone calls, watch movies, or read ebooks to fend off boredom. By the end of my time in the airport I was able to locate every outlet in the terminal and knew which ones worked, which ones got the busiest, and which ones had the comfiest seating. I cannot emphasise the relief it provides to just sit down and spend a moment regaining charge – and not just for your phone. A lot of the time delays and cancellations can be stressful. If you take a second to sit down and charge your phone, use that time to catch your breath. Close your eyes and forget about the situation, gain back your energy with your phone, it will provide more relief than you might think.

Secondly, make sure that you get some food. This may seem obvious, but being stranded at an airport is stressful enough as it is without the annoyance of an empty stomach hassling you at the same time. Food can give you a positive boost and also provide some much needed time to fix plans and make calls. When I had already been in the airport for 7 hours and was waiting to pick up my bag, I found myself getting frustrated at everything. I was on the phone to my parents just getting annoyed and upset. Then I found my solution. A bacon egg and cheese sesame seed bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts. After putting something in my stomach, I immediately felt better and more able to cope with things. Plus, there’s nothing to brighten your mood like some good comfort food. I recommend chocolate 100%.

Finally, location is everything. You might think that it is simply a task of finding a quiet location with a comfy seat, but there is so much more to it than that. Ideally, you want to find a location nearby some form of assistance desk, this way if there are any additional changes or confusion you are one step away from help. Also, you want to make sure that you  don’t separate too much from your group. In the case that you miss an announcement (which let’s face it, is not hard to do) you can easily ask someone nearby, or even just follow the crowd. On one of the days that my flight got cancelled, it was late in the evening and not many workers were around. They provided us with vouchers for a taxi company that had been called, however forgot to mention where we were supposed to meet them. I spent a solid hour worrying, wondering around the airport and asking anyone I could find for directions. This included regular taxi drivers from whom I received only strange looks of confusion. Fortunately, I was saved by a young couple who I had queued with earlier. I saw them walking past and jumped up to ask for their help. Luckily, they knew where we were headed and I was reunited with the group.

Getting stuck in an airport can be a tricky situation. I remember losing hope after my flight had been cancelled so many times. It felt like I would never get home. But, it wasn’t all doom and gloom, I got to spend another week in a place that I loved with my friends and loved ones who I hadn’t seen in a while. In a sticky situation, I guess you just have to look on the bright side of things.

I would love to hear about anyone else’s experiences getting stuck in airports, so please let me know in the comments!

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