A Day of Flight Delays: How to Keep from Losing Your Mind

A Day of Flight Delays: How to Keep from Losing Your Mind

Flight delays, amirite?

I had a post planned for today about my recent travel victory: packing everything I’d need for a week with my family in just a backpack. I know! A week in Northern California, no less, where the weather is a far cry from balmy Florida. How did I do it? What did I leave behind? Did I wear a sweatshirt and jeans the whole time??? (No, I did not.)

But that scintillating piece is just going to have to wait. Because today, I spent the day in Atlanta. Well, in Atlanta’s airport anyways.

A traffic snake of flight delays started yesterday when a tornado swept through the Atlanta area and grounded most of the outbound flights. Cut to this evening. I am still stuck in the airport, watching the flight tracker push my flight back in bursts of 30 minute increments. So, how do you spend the entire day in an airport without losing your mind? Follow these simple steps!

1. Go for a walk.

My favorite way to pass time at the Atlanta airport is to walk between the concourses. This is always preferable to taking the tram.

2. Realize your “travel hack” of bringing only a backpack is actually super heavy.

Maybe it’s not always preferable to walk across the entire airport.

3. Commiserate with other stranded passengers about the flight delays.

Arrive at your gate, only to find that your flight is significantly delayed. Turn to the nearest passenger and make an “is this for real?” face at them. Listen to them talk about how they’ve spent the entire night in the airport and you’re lucky your nightmare is only just beginning. Inch away akwardly and avoid eye contact for the rest of your layover.

4. Find a restaurant.

Well, since you’re here for a while, you might as well enjoy yourself. Get a window seat at P.F. Chang’s and order the cheapest thing on the menu. Set up your laptop while waiting on your food so you can get some work done. Put the laptop away because the wifi is not working.

5. Check back in with your flight and find out the gate has changed.

Walk back across the airport. Ignore your lower back pain. Think wistfully of your carry-on suitcase, which has wheels.

6. Scoot around the terminal in search of a charging station.

Remember that the wifi is not working.

7. Call customer service because there’s no way you’re making your connection flight.

The delightful man on the other end of the line (shout out to Delta Airlines’ employee Tony!) finds you the last available seat on a direct flight to Sacramento… five hours from now. Resign yourself to your fate, download an audiobook, and play a lot of solitaire on your phone.

8. Your gate has changed again.

Cry a little, then haul your 100lb backpack to the ritzy terminal. Discover that there is wifi for the elite. Rejoice.

9. Take a field trip.

The ladies bathroom is pretty crowded, but you don’t care. Wash your armpits and put on more deodorant. Do NOT make eye contact. Check your flight. Watch the green “on time” display change to the yellow “delayed” display.

10. Cry. Rinse. Repeat.

There is no way to keep sane. Watch the sunset over Atlanta and your dreams.


Any crazy flight delays you’ve dealt with? Misery loves company, so let me know!

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