As I am writing this, I am sitting in the Philadelphia International airport, waiting for my flight. We were supposed to leave at 2:15, but now we’re delayed and the flight has been pushed
back 6 times, to 6:15. I’d be lying if I said this was the first time this has happened to me. Even more, you’d all KNOW I was lying if I said it was the first time. My dad always jokes that I have the worst travel luck. Today when I called him to tell him I was delayed, he just laughed and said, “oh, you’re at it again”. My flights are constantly delayed- one time I spent over 48 hours in airports just trying to get from Philadelphia (new home) to San Diego (home home).
Flights get delayed. All. The. Time. So how do we deal with it?
I think the biggest thing is patience. Everyone is freaking out, worrying about checking into their hotel, their ride picking them up, or their connecting flight. And it’s stressful, it really is. Traveling on its own isn’t necessarily stress free and then throw in a few obstacles and there you have it. One thing to remember is that this isn’t any easier for the airline. Imagine 100+ people yelling at you about how they have to be somewhere at the exact time that they land. You probably would be a bit stressed as well.
So this is where the whole patience thing comes in. I’ve found that the more patient, kind, and polite you are with them, the more they are with you. Most people leap to talk to a real live person at the gate. I understand this is where our brain tells us to go, but I’ve found more success with other means of communication.
The first thing I do if I can tell that my flight is going to be delayed and I risk missing my connection is tweet at and then direct message the airline on Twitter. On my flight in, I sent Delta a message at 1:56 and I had a response by 1:57 asking for my confirmation number. They were on it so fast. Within a few minutes they had rebooked and UPGRADED my seat on the next flight out of my connecting airport.
It’s amazing because while there might be 100+ people trying to get info from 2 people at the gate, chances are there are more people waiting to help you out online. Typically they haven’t encountered as many upset customers, so they are usually more pleasant to deal with.
Another option is to place a call in to the customer service phone number. Today my situation was resolved on Twitter quickly so I didn’t have to worry about this, but sometimes just calling will have the same effect as tweeting in. The people behind the phones are not right on the front line of angry customers (hopefully!). In turn they are typically kinder and able to make alternate arrangements for you.
By utilizing this option, I have had upgraded seats, like today, comped hotel rooms, etc. It’s super important to remember that there are other options available. If you are open to it there are more people who can help than the service reps at the gate.
Long story short, when the lines start to get long at the gate on your next flight, turn to other options to move forward with your travel. And a little kindness can go a long way!