This Is the 1 Thing You Need to Do If You Get Stranded at the Airport

Asking yourself, “Now what?” happens when you’re stranded at the airport. There are only so many times you can visit an airport spa before they ask you to pay for a full-service massage. Act quickly when you’re stranded because other passengers will be doing the same things as you. And keep the following tips in mind to survive your stay at the airport.

Get to know the gate agents

Tourist girl in international airport, waiting for her flight

The gate agents can give you the best tips. | encrier/iStock/Getty Images

Having a contact at the airport will serve you well. You’ll know what’s going on before others on your flight. Plus, gate agents will have tips on what to do in the airport while you’re stranded. They have a wealth of knowledge from working at the airport day in and day out.

Be nice

Depressed traveler waiting at airport, flights delays and cancellations

No matter how cranky you get, try to be polite. | NicoElNino/iStock/Getty Images

You’re frustrated, tired, hungry, and thirsty. Don’t let your state influence how you talk to gate agents or any other airport staff. The nicer you are, the more willing they’ll be to help you. In my opinion, this is the No. 1 thing to do when you’re stranded at the airport because no matter what, being nice will get you what you want faster than being rude.

Visit an airport lounge

British Airways Concord Lounge JFK

Being able to relax will ease your stress. | British Airways

If you’re flying domestically, buy a day pass to an airport lounge. There, you’ll be able to shower, eat, and sit on a couch — all luxuries when you’re stranded at the airport. For instance, Delta’s single visit pass will cost you $59. That’s a small price to pay for food, a shower, and Wi-Fi. If an airline-specific lounge isn’t in the cards, check to see whether the airport has a public lounge. These types of lounges offer similar amenities, Smarter Travel says.

Book a hotel

Picture of guests getting key card in hotel

Booking a hotel will be much more comfortable than staying in the airport. | macniak/iStock/Getty Images

If an airport lounge isn’t your style or is too crowded, try booking a hotel before rooms are filled with your fellow stranded passengers. If possible, while walking to the nearest hotel, call its reservations line to book a room. No one wants to sleep at their gate. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Tweet about your experience


Representatives might be able to help you out. | easyJet via Twitter

Another experience many people are familiar with is tweeting while traveling, The Penny Hoarder says. Mentioning a specific airline in a tweet can sometimes lead to a quicker response than asking someone at the airport. Mention your experience, and the company might be inclined to show you some kindness. Be sure to @mention the airline, and use a specific hashtag to make sure your tweet is seen.

Know what you’re owed

Family In Airport Departure Lounge Wait For Delayed Flight

If you’re delayed because of weather you might be out of luck. | monkeybusinessimages/iStock/Getty Images

All of a sudden, you’re left stranded at the airport with no way of getting home. Know what you’re entitled to as a passenger. Sadly, the truth is not much. “The government doesn’t require airlines to compensate travelers for delayed or canceled flights,” says. What’s worse is an airline will only compensate passengers if the delay is caused by the airline itself. Weather isn’t covered.

Gather supplies

Find a way to keep yourself occupied and comfortable. | iStock/Getty Images

Depending on how dire your circumstances are, find a phone charger or outlet. If you really want to make friends with your fellow passengers, buy a power strip to plug in at charging stations. Buy toiletries and any food you might want or need to last the duration of your stay.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!

Read more: Here’s Why Flying Today Is Worse Than It Was 20 Years Ago