Thousands of tired and frustrated airline passengers are stranded at airports and sleeping in terminals across the US in the wake of widespread flight cancellations due to a deadly winter storm.
The crisis started over Christmas weekend. By Tuesday, thousands of flights all over the country were being canceled or delayed. The chaos and mayhem and piled-up baggage at American airports were expected to continue well into Wednesday, at least.
Hey, we’ve been there and done that. Over the years, we’ve learned a few handy ways to survive being stuck at the airport — without going broke (or insane).
Here are eight of our best survival tips:
1. Always Carry These 6 Things
Although we rarely check a bag, we know it’s not always an option for many people.
Whether you’re carrying on or checking a bag, never board a plane without these essentials:
- Snacks: Airport food = bleh. If you’re stranded for long enough, you’ll of course have to buy some — but healthy snacks can tide you over in a short delay.
- Empty water bottle: You can’t bring liquids through security — but an empty bottle? You’re golden. Don’t fall victim to the $5 airport water.
- Warm sweatshirt: It’s like the universal law of airports and airplanes that they’re either hotter than Florida in July or colder than Chicago in January. If you don’t end up wearing it — but let’s be real, you probably will — you can use it as a pillow.
- Toothbrush and toothpaste: When you’re having a rough travel day, brushing your teeth can make a world of difference. Trust me on this one.
- Phone charger: Do you really need an explanation?
- Good book: Books don’t need power. So instead of fighting at the outlet with a bunch of randos, you can enrich your brain in your own space.
2. Know Your Rights
If your flight gets canceled or significantly delayed, the airline is supposed to offer you a refund. But they won’t always tell you that. Then they’re supposed to actually…