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Delayed Flight? Remain Calm and Travel On

If you’ve flown on a plane, chances are you’ve experienced a delay. When that announcement rings out, the reaction is often annoyance, concern or even anger. Sure, let yourself feel that for a moment or two, and then move on. A delay isn’t the end of the world, and given the right perspective, it offers an opportunity to relax, read, or even chat with a friend you’ve been wanting to catch up with but haven’t had time.

Not responding with anger at a flight delay announcement goes a long way.

Perhaps nobody knows how to better handle flight delays than plane crews. Tom Bunn, a pilot and author of SOAR: The Breakthrough Treatment for Fear of Flying, says that crew members are always prepared for delays in one very simple way: having something to read on hand. “This can be a paperback, a Kindle, or even an app on your cell phone,” he says. If going the electronic route, be sure to keep a charger and extension cord in your carry-on, Bunn adds.

For the most calming experience during delays, Bunn opts for hanging out and reading or working in an empty boarding area. “This will probably not be the boarding area for your flight,” he says. Once situated, he sets an alarm on his phone. “With an alarm set, I can stop fretting about my flight and constantly checking on the status. When the alarm goes off, then I will check on it.”

Sharon Schweitzer, who frequently travels internationally for her job as president of a cross-cultural and international protocol firm, finds that not responding with anger at a flight delay announcement goes a long way. “Getting angry or frustrated is only going to sap your energy. Save it for an exhausting day of travel instead of getting riled up about a situation you can’t change. Delays are inevitable when traveling; it comes with the territory,” she says.

Schweitzer also finds that a less egoistic view on delays is helpful. “With millions of travelers taking off and touching ground each day, it is important to remember that the delay you may be experiencing is not occurring to make your day as horrible as possible. It’s just a side effect of travel and is affecting much more than just you.”

Treating airline personnel with respect is also important to Schweitzer. “They generally have absolutely no control over the circumstances and are simply trying to do their best to help you. Respect their efforts and everything they are trying to do to get you from A to B safely.” You’ll also notice that keeping anger at bay keeps you calmer and happier.

The next time you find yourself delayed at an airport, consider these tips for remaining calm and making the most of the time:

    • Remind yourself that the airline doesn’t want this delay any more than you do.

    • Do some laps. Getting up and walking will reduce stress and burn calories.

    • Phone a friend or relative for a needed catch-up.

    • Many airports have play areas for kids; does yours?

    • Ask about a day pass at a club if you will be delayed for a long time.

    • Meet people. Airport bars are a great place to meet new friends—you don’t have to   drink.

    • Check out the art if there’s an exhibit

    • Get a massage. Most airports now have walk-in spas.

    • Do a guided meditation from an app like Buddhify.