Stuck with Flight Delays? Ways to Play

If Your Plane Won’t Come, Make Your Own Fun


Published: May 1, 2008

Somehow we all seem to find ourselves stuck at airports for one reason or another: bad weather, gas shortages, terror threats, damaged plane parts and so on. Just a few weeks ago, American Airlines canceled hundreds of flights, leaving thousands of people dispersed throughout the country. If you’re studying abroad this summer or going on a family vacation overseas, a flight delay could be one setback you have to face. So what are you to do when your flight leaves you stranded for hours or even days? Play! Here are some ways to keep the hours rolling:

1. Explore the Stop-Over Country

Some people are lucky enough to have flight delays in foreign, stop-over countries where they were supposed to switch planes. If this happens to you and you have a few hours to spare, keep your passport handy and try to explore a bit of the city you’re stuck in. Grab some brochures from the visitor’s center, and plan out some places you’d like to go (markets, pubs, museums). Be sure to keep a watch handy so you don’t miss your next flight!

2. Call Up Old Friends and Family Members

“Remember me?” That shouldn’t be a line you have to repeat to your closest friends and family members. Now that you have a few hours and possibly some extra cell phone minutes, call those you haven’t spoken to in a while and catch up on their lives. Maybe you’ll hear some gossip or good news from someone you love. If a delay strikes on the way back from your trip, give friends a call to update them on the scandalous details of your adventure before you return.

3.  Play Handheld Video Games

PSP, Gameboy, iPods—they’re all great systems to use for entertainment. If you don’t already have one of these handheld treasures, consider getting one. It may just become your new best friend and travel buddy.

4.  Play Hide and Seek

Airports are huge. Finding someone in an enormous space could take a while. Play hide and seek with a friend or family member, and spend a few hours trying to look for him or her in one of the biggest arenas ever.

5.  Go Shopping

Duty free is the way to go. No taxes means you can save that extra bit of money to buy something wonderful for yourself or someone else. Splurge a little bit. You’ll be happy you got something great and spent a little less.

6. Try a Foreign Beverage

We’re not encouraging underage drinking, but when you’re in a foreign country, most places serve alcohol to anyone 18 or older. If you are already 21, you might have tasted a few drinks. Go to an airport restaurant or pub and try either your first or last foreign beverage. Find a new drink that suits your fancy more than the cheap, watered-down drinks you find in New York bars.

7. Play Travel Board Games

It’s like playing at home, just mini-size. Enjoy beating your friends and family members with skills you may have learned during your college semesters. Even though the pieces may be tiny, the glory of winning is the same. You can even pick up some mini games like Monopoly, Life and Trouble at a convenient store in the airport.

8. Rock Out to Your Favorite Tunes

It’s just that simple. Turn on your favorite mp3 player and jam to your favorite songs. Sing-alongs and wild dancing are encouraged, and you might get other bored people to join you (or scare a person or two).