You arrived at the airport early, you breezed through security, and you found a seat with an outlet right next to your gate. All signs suggest your Spring Break vacation is set to go off without a hitch. Then the unthinkable happens. The notice board says your flight’s delayed. An announcement reveals the airline overbooked your flights, and you’re the “lucky” passenger to get bumped. Or perhaps bad weather grounds every plane at the airport. Stuck in the airport and at the mercy of the travel gods, it’s easy to lose your mind as your plans crumble. Keep your sanity in check by remembering these eight simple rules.
#1: Stay hydrated
The dry, recycled, and often cold air of the airport isn’t much better than the air on the plane, so you need to make sure you remember to drink often. Since you’re going to be grounded for a while, you should get to know the layout of the airport. Find where the nearest water fountain is to your gate and take advantage of the free water. If all else fails, head towards the bar and sip on an overpriced beer or cocktail while you wait.
#2: Find your comfort zone
The middle seat on the plane is bad for your back, but the ergonomically incorrect seat in the airport tests your lumbar muscles, too. If you expect to spend several hours there while the airport de-ices the plane’s wings, you need to make sure you aren’t doing any damage to your back. Set up a comfort zone, using every and any tool at your disposal.
#3: Make friends
Misery loves company, remember? You might as well turn to your fellow passenger and bitch about the delays. It’s a great way to get things off your chest, and your mutual ranting session may evolve into an engaging conversation that helps pass the time. You may even be able to convince any musicians to buoy everyone’s spirits, just like those responsible for the impromptu sing-a-long held at Toronto’s airport when a flight to Newfoundland was delayed. That’s certainly one way to make time go by quicker.
#4: Stay active
Many people park themselves in their seats and never leave them, but this is a huge mistake. Sitting for too long is bad for your circulation, and it’s a sure-fire way to let your nerves get the better of you. Schedule time to leave your comfort zone so you can burn off some of that anxiety. Do some laps around the waiting room. Just remember to take anything valuable with on your walk. Find a private corner to do some stretching or — if you’re brave — some yoga near your seat. You don’t even need a yoga map. A popular yoga instructor on YouTube has developed a short practice you can do in your chair.
#5: Have distractions
If you let yourself brood about your delay, you’re only going to make a bad thing worse. Before you let your thoughts spiral into something terrible, distract yourself from reality and try to focus on something else. Keep your Android or iPhone out so you can play Animal Crossings Camp, complain in your group chat, or call your family. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi to stream The Punisher or download an e-book of Alias Grace. Don’t worry if the Wi-Fi sucks. Most airports still sell books.
#6: Stay secure
The longer you stay in the airport the more it feels like you’ll be there forever. That thought process is dangerous because it can make you fall into a false sense of security. Your chair near the gate becomes “your private space” and you may drop your defences while there. Remember to keep your valuables close to you and never leave your bags fully unattended. You should also consider locking your luggage and keeping the key close to your person.
You’re probably doing this already, so think outside of the box. Since you’re relying on your tech while you wait, remember to protect it with a grime-, scratch-, and water-resistant skin. A skin should be tailored for each of your devices, so it fits properly. Size isn’t the only thing to customize. Protective skins from designers like dbrand dbrand are fully customizable in cool textures and colors. They host a build-a-skin feature on their website play around with your options and invent a unique design. You can choose a uniform for all your gadgets, or you can design an individual wrap for each one. In either can, it will protect your devices while making them look awesome.
#7: Find your inner Zen
If you’re finding it too difficult to focus on your download thanks to the obnoxious man who thinks screaming at the ticket agent will help clear up bad weather, trying clearing your mind with noise-cancelling headphones and a meditation app. Noise-cancelling headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM2 dampen ambient sounds around you, so you can focus on The Mindfulness App, a free download that guides you through meditations built to calm and enlighten.
When you’ve been dreaming about your Spring Break vacation since March of last year, the last thing you want to think about is all the ways your trip can go wrong. Despite your unerring optimism, it’s a good idea to be prepared just in case. Sometimes, before you can have the vacation of a lifetime, you have to jump over some hurdles first. Follow these tips to make waiting in the airport feel a little less terrible. They may not do anything to change the weather or make the ground crew move faster, but they will help keep your sanity as you wait.