Updated: Apr 23
As an avid traveler myself, I have had my fair share of outrageous travel situations, especially with how unpredictable the weather can be… And where does this happen the most? At the airport! Right?!
We all know someone who has a wild story about surviving a ridiculous night at the airport, but what about their advice for next time? Be prepared, so that when your flight is delayed, you can handle it a little easier. I’ve rounded up some travel bloggers who are ready to share their stories of how they survived their weather delays and how you can, too!
HUGE shout out to all the bloggers who shared their stories with me. Their stories are seriously intense! Enjoy them, and hopefully, you can learn something from them, too!
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Snowing in Boston
Meghan — that’s me!
I was so excited recently to go on a trip to visit friends in Boston. I even got to the airport 30 minutes earlier than I usually do just to make sure I wouldn’t miss the flight due to long lines for TSA at BWI. I once almost missed a flight because of the long lines, but that’s another story…
Well, this did not go as I hoped. I get through security—a 30-minute delay. It was snowing in Boston, and there was a reduced number of flights permitted to leave. That’s fine, so I head to the airport bar for a terrible margarita. Then, another announcement—an hour delay. Still annoying, but I will get in before 1 am, so it will be okay! We start boarding the flight and are all settled into our seats, but then as we are getting set for takeoff, another announcement…
The airline has no idea when we are going to be able to take off. It could be one hour or two; due to weather, they weren’t sure when we would finally be taking off. The airline tells us that we are able to get off the plane, but if they get the green light, then they are taking off and not waiting!
Guess how many people got off? That’s right… NONE! We all stayed on. I was eventually able to fall asleep using my pea coat as a pillow, but I was so uncomfortable. I woke up periodically as they announced repeatedly that they were still waiting for us to be allowed to take off. We didn’t end up taking off until around 2:00 am! I felt so horrible for my friend who was picking me up. He was waiting for hours for me to get on my plane, then hours for me to land. Luckily, he was able to sleep while he waited. I didn’t have as much luck and was stuck in an uncomfortable airport chair on a budget airline for about 5 hours. We landed around 3:15 am in a new timezone, and I was not in a bed until 4 am. I was so mad at myself because the whole time, I didn’t pack the neck pillow I own on this late-night flight! Never again!
Advice: Always bring a neck pillow so you can easily fall asleep on flights – especially when they have a major delay!
Rainy in Hokitika
Sarah from Sarah Sees the World
Follow her on Instagram.
“Recently my flight home from Hokitika to Wellington following the annual Wildfoods Festival was delayed.
We’d boarded the plane, and all was looking good for take-off when the Captain announced one of his instruments wasn’t working. We sat on the tarmac a further 10 minutes or so while he talked to the engineer on the phone and tried to reset whatever wasn’t working.
We were then told to disembark and head back into the terminal. A new plane would have to be found.
The airline flew in a new plane and crew from Wellington and we only experienced a 3-hour delay, during which time the staff was awesome and we were fed twice (a pack of snacks with a bottle of water followed by pizza, chips, soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages).
Being on a day-trip to a festival in summer, however, I hadn’t planned on being out into the evening. Additionally, it had rained and we were all a bit wet, cold, and over it. It was freezing inside the terminal, and I wished I’d had some warmer clothing with me as well as my phone charger as my phone was flat!”
Advice: Always be prepared for delays with extra clothing and keep your phone charger in your carry on luggage!
Sarah from The Winged Fork
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“My trip to China was an official one for a luxury exhibition in Shanghai: 3 hectic days with 60 meetings, but overall a good experience. On the last day, as my flight was in the evening, I headed out for a bit of shopping and noticed that unlike the three sunny days before, it was dark and rainy.
Later that day, I boarded my 150-seater flight at 5 pm along with some other international delegates. As we waited for our turn to head onto the runway and take off, we noticed that the rain was getting heavier and it was much windier, too. I could see some of the larger aircraft taking off and landing.
Our wait turned out to be really long, and we were later informed that due to a storm all the smaller aircraft were grounded. We could actually feel the entire plane bouncing up and down with the force of the wind. After about 3 hours of sitting on the tarmac, people started to get restless and agitated, and we were let off the plane. The attendants asked us to wait outside and promised to keep us updated. However, that update never came.
The airport was now a mess with all flights grounded, hundreds of people everywhere and no real answers as to where to go. About 10 to 12 of us grouped up and elected 2 of us to find out what was happening. The language was a big issue as the airline/airport staff knew only Chinese, which made getting information more difficult.
The only flight out was the next evening on another airline as our airline only flew alternate days. The airline staff had no clue if the flight was re-scheduled, but we found out from our friends back home that the flight was rescheduled for 7 am the next morning. However, the airline staff had no clue about this.
By 9 pm, we got our luggage back and found out that people were being put up at airport hotels. We decided to take up the airport hotel option but were taken by coach to hotels an hour away, as the ones close by were full. Upon reaching there, we realized that because of the number of people stranded, getting rooms would be an impossibility, and so hung out in the lobby for a few hours.
Some of us decided that it was better to go back to the airport and wait there, in case the flight was really at 7 am. We managed to get 2 taxis back to the airport, slept on the floor for a while, and waited till check-in. The counters opened only at 5.30 am, after boarding and waiting for a bit, we finally took off at 8 am, relieved to be going home. Sadly, the few members of our group who had stayed at the hotel were nowhere to be seen!”
Advice: Always double-check if your flight is really rescheduled! You may take off sooner than you think!
Two Days in Istanbul
Becky from Becky the Traveller
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“I was traveling home from Nepal, via Istanbul, for my connecting flight back to the UK. It was a bumpy touch down into Istanbul, but I didn’t really pay much attention… that is until we exit the plane and it’s snowing.
After a couple of hours hanging out in the airport, I board the next flight, a bit delayed, but that’s ok. The snow is falling thick and fast now. Wow, I can’t believe it. So we just have to wait for a flight slot. We wait and wait, then the announcement comes on that you dread. The flight has been canceled!
What happened next I can only describe as complete chaos. No one in the airport had a clue what was going on. I gave up on them, sorted a visa, and jumped in the hotel queue. Little did I know, that I would be spending the next 2 days in Istanbul with nothing but my hand luggage.
It turned out I was well prepared for my unexpected stopover. I had a toothbrush, deodorant, phone charger, and travel adapter. I had been flying back to a cold UK so also had my jacket with me.
Although I do wish that the space I had filled with gifts (4 Nepalese hats, children’s trousers, and lanterns) had something more useful. Maybe some more clothes or my lovely warm down jacket. But hey, it was a little adventure, and I had always wanted to go to Istanbul!”
Advice: Prepare, just in case. Pack your toiletries in your carry on!
There you have it! Now you know lots of ways to survive your weather delay even before it happens! Come prepared—make your life easier. Delays can’t always be avoided, but some of the stress can. What are some of the things you have dealt with during weather delays? I’d love to hear others’ stories too!