Battling Inevitable Flight Delays this Labor Day Weekend

Airline travel has truly become a nightmare.

These days more of us are crammed into fully booked flights at off-peak times, stuck in long lines at security checks, and nickled-and-dimed by airlines for everything from pillows and blankets to baggage. As if that weren’t bad enough, according to, over 29% of flights from the world’s busiest airports were delayed more than 15 minutes – and 10% of those flights were delayed more than 45 minutes from January thru March 2008. Couple that with rising prices – the Detroit Free Press reports that airfares have risen 16-20% so far this year – and you’ve got a recipe for a migraine. If you’re one of the millions who will be traveling by air over the Labor Day weekend, stave off that pounding headache with a little advance planning and organization.

Alicia on ‘Plan to be Delayed’

‘I travel for business quite a bit, sometimes spending as many as four days a week in the airport and it never fails that at least twice a month I am delayed for one reason or another. Sometimes the security line is over-packed and I am late. Other times there are a large number of people on another delayed connecting flight. But the worst is when there is a malfunction with the aircraft and we sit on the tarmac for 3 hours. Delays happen and they are unavoidable, so make sure you leave yourself enough time to get to your business meetings or family engagements by blocking out cushion time for these delays. If you’ve done that, then you’re less likely to get stressed out when the inevitable delays happen.’

Sarah on ‘Avoiding Additional Costs’

‘With the cost of airline travel hitting the stratosphere, it’s more important than ever to be innovative on ways to cut back on any extra costs. For example, clip an empty bottle onto your carry-on bag and fill it up at the drinking fountain once you’re inside the security checkpoint. Also bring a simple lunch (no liquids) and some snacks for the trip so you’re not spending extra money at the overpriced snack stop. Pack enough in case of delay as well. Books and magazines are generally marked up at the airport, so bring your reading materials from home. Do your best to not check any luggage since many airlines are now charging for checked bags. You can usually get the best rates on airfare by booking well in advance, so if you know you have travel dates in November, book them now. If you plan ahead, you can avoid the burden on your wallet later.

Here are a few additional tips to be air travel saavy:

#1. Be the Early Bird

Check-in and security lines are very unpredictable, so get to the airport early to avoid missing your plane. Also, you’ll probably want time to use the restroom, grab a snack if you didn’t pack one, or respond to emails before getting on the aircraft.

#2. Carry Essentials
Be sure to pack any medications, inhalers, magazines, or work items in your carry on and not your checked baggage. Having an ‘essentials’ check list saved on your computer to print off and use every time you travel is a perfect way to be control the chaotic environment. This will save you time and headache.

#3. Be Better Equipped
…than your fellow passengers. Carry a list with phone numbers and addresses of all hotels near your destination airport or any connecting airports. Have a compact list of numbers for the family, friends or colleagues you are traveling to see in case of unexpected changes, and the times of other departures and arrivals on the same or different airlines in case yours gets cancelled. You also want to make sure you have plenty of cash as your credit card may not work or the cab only takes cash.