Flight delayed? Don’t lose your cool! How to keep calm and carry on

So, you’ve arrived at the airport in good time. Done all that annoying, fiddly stuff navigating security; diligently unpacking your laptop, your little plastic bag of liquids, taken keys, coins and mobile phone out of your pocket, removed your belt and watch – then patiently watched your trays slide through the machine then repacked everything. You feel a little rush of excitement as your long weekend away gets closer.

But before you navigate your way through duty free you take a quick look at the departure board and bang! Your heart sinks. The message next to your flight is the one you really don’t want to see: “Flight Delayed”.

We’ve all had that sinking feeling. But what to do next?

Two choices
At this point you have two choices – you can either let the delay ruin your trip or take it in your stride. After all. You’re not alone. A recent survey by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) revealed that more than a third of travellers experienced flight delays.

A different piece of research found that 45 million passengers faced disruption when travelling on a plane in 2023.

And according to yet another survey it takes a delay of just 64 minutes for passengers to start getting angry. The same research found that the overwhelming majority (84%) would be more understanding if airlines were more transparent about the reasons for flight disruption.

So here are some tips to try and stop your blood from boiling while you’re hanging around waiting for your flight.

1. Try and stay informed: Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to flight delays. Keep an eye on your flight status through airline apps or flight tracking websites. Sign up for flight alerts to receive real-time updates on any changes to your itinerary. The more information you have, the better equipped you’ll be to handle any unexpected twists and turns.

2. Pack Wisely: In your carry-on bag, be sure to include essentials like snacks, water, a good book or two, chargers for your electronic devices, and any necessary medications. A neck pillow and a cozy blanket can also make your impromptu airport campout a little more comfortable.

3. Have a Plan B: If your flight is significantly delayed don’t panic. Don’t just sit there fuming, take a deep breath and consider your options in case your flight is cancelled. Use the time to work out if there are any options. Can you rebook on another flight? Is it worth checking out the availability of nearby hotels just in case you need to spend the night? Because if your flight is cancelled, there’ll be a mad rush to find a hotel room. Keep the contact information for your airline and travel insurance provider handy, and don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance if needed.

4. Stay Positive: Easier said than done. But remember, a positive attitude can work wonders in stressful situations. Use the extra time to catch up on work, connect with fellow travellers, or explore the airport shops and restaurants. Who knows, you might even discover a new favourite snack or souvenir! You might even make a friend or – as one couple did at Bournemouth airport while they were waiting for their flight – a future spouse!

5. Know Your Rights: Familiarise yourself with your rights as a passenger in the event of a flight delay or cancellation. Depending on your location and the circumstances of the delay, you may be entitled to compensation, meal vouchers, or accommodation provided by the airline. Check the airline’s policies and applicable regulations to ensure you receive the assistance you deserve.

6. Protect Yourself with Travel Insurance: Last but certainly not least, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself against the unexpected. A comprehensive travel insurance policy can provide coverage for trip delays, trip interruptions, and even trip cancellations due to covered reasons such as inclement weather or airline strikes. With travel insurance by your side, you can travel with confidence, knowing that you’re covered in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

7. Take out flight delay insurance: Go one step further and take out a Holidaysafe policy extension that offers real-time compensation once  your flight is delayed for three hours. It’s an affordable way to give yourself peace of mind. After receiving an alert prompt once delay reaches the three-hour threshold, passengers simply have to provide their bank details to receive payment. And depending which policy you take out you could be entitled to an immediate payment of up to £150 while you’re still at the airport. Now that could really take the sting out of the delay!  

In conclusion, while flight delays may be an inevitable part of travel, they don’t have to ruin your trip. By staying informed, packing wisely, having a plan B, staying positive, knowing your rights, and protecting yourself with travel insurance, you can navigate flight delays with grace and resilience. So, the next time your flight gets delayed, remember to keep calm and carry on – your next adventure awaits!

*Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices. This code entitles you to an additional 5% off your policy, and is a discount from the base price, not including the additional cost of optional extensions or any additional medical premium.