Having a flight delayed or cancelled is every traveller’s nightmare; a collective sigh from the gate and a hasty recalculation of how many hours at the pool you’ll have today. If any at all. All your laid out plans and strategising are now at the mercy of the airline, the skies and the runway, and the resulting wait in the airport is rarely an enjoyable one. There are things you can do, though, to mitigate this blow to your holiday, some practical and some personal. These are those; our 5 IDEAL things to do in the airport if your flight is delayed.


Can you get compensation for a delayed flight? Well, when your flight is delayed, your airline carrier is expected to schedule you on the next available flight or offer a refund. Travellers need to know their rights when it comes to refunds and compensation to fully exploit this. Though regulations do not oblige airlines to compensate passengers for cancellations and delays, some carriers often rebook their passengers at no additional fee. The contract of carriage differs from one airline to another and many airlines’ compensation plan only kicks into effect if the delay extends for more than 3 or 4 hours. To find out more, check out this EU flight delay compensation guide.


Perhaps even prior to checking that eligibility for compensation, you should see if you can get your bum on another plane’s seat, stat. You’ve got to strike while the iron is hot, and before all the other passengers have the same idea. You know how it is when travelling; it’s every man and woman for themselves, so get selfish. As soon as the announcement sends that groan up over the gate’s waiting area, get in touch (physically or over the phone) with your airline and ask them to arrange another flight for you. As it’s their responsibility for the delay or cancellation, you shouldn’t be charged a booking fee and they’ll likely be as accommodating as can be. Damage limitation, and all that.


So, let’s assume you’ve now got a wait on your hands and you’re resigned to a little time in the airport. Well, getting a pass for priority lounge can be a great way to pass the time. Though airlines are hesitant about giving out priority lounge passes as these places need to retain an exclusive air, if there’s been a delay then you have some sway over them, for sure, so ask. A seasoned traveller knows these lounges are the best escape to burn time during delays. Inside these hallowed walls you’ll find free flow booze, a refined cuisine compared to the usual stuff available in the rest of the airport, a better functioning wifi and Sky TV. Result!


The modern person so often has little time for exercise so embrace this opportunity to get some calories burned and steps tipping that 10’000 mark. The vast expanse of the airport departure lounge is the perfect place to pace and ponder, and stretching your legs is certainly a more worthwhile pursuit than stewing over the lost holiday hours or downing another morning pint and inhaling a McDonald’s. 


The red mist can quickly descend when circumstances out of our control cause our precious downtime to be threatened. Don’t be that guy rude to a member of staff who doesn’t deserve to shoulder the blame; karma will take you down a peg or two, make no mistake. Instead, breathe, stay calm and embrace the chance to explore the airport, enjoy some food and drink, perhaps even some retail therapy. And then, once your flight is rearranged, you’ll be able to approach your holiday with the same optimistic, enthusiastic spirit which you brought to the airport in the first place.