Top tips for dealing with delays

We all hope it won’t happen, however delays and flight cancellations are not uncommon.  When traveling with a baby or small child unexpected delays can stretch our parental coping skills to the limit.  Here are a few tips to help minimize the damage if your fight plans are altered.

  • If you belong to an airline’s frequent flier program your needs will be prioritized over non-members.  This means you are likely to be rebooked on another flight earlier if your original flight is cancelled.  Frequent flier membership is often free.  It is worth joining up all family members with your chosen carrier before you fly.
  • Plan for potential delays when you pack your carry-on luggage.  This means ensuring you have enough nappies, baby food, formula, changes of clothes etc just in case things go pear shaped.
  • When you book your ticket, if you know you cannot get a direct flight put some thought into the airport you will be transiting in.  If wait times are inevitably long it is worth choosing a route which utilizes a family friendly airport such as Singapore’s Changi.
  • Always pack any medication family members require in your carry on luggage.
  • If you have time to kill time at an airport here are some ideas to help you make the best of a difficult situation:
  • Always ask whether the airline will provide you with financial reimbursement for your delay.  They may be able to provide cash, accommodation or food credits for use at the airport.
  • Most airports have internet kiosks.  Utilise some web time to access child friendly sites for the children.
  • Does the airport you are in have a playground?  If so use it.
  • Spend some time at the observation deck.  Children love to see and hear the sound of planes taking off and landing.
  • I know it is bribery but airport shopping is an option.  Set your children a monetary limit, say $5 and allow them to purchase something within this price range.  Draw the experience out by visiting every store in the airport and comparing the options.
  • Children play well together.  It is likely there will be other families in a similar situation to yourselves.  Locate families with children of a similar age and encourage them to get along.
  • If it is night-time do what you can to encourage sleep.  If bath-time is part of your normal night-time ritual, take your child to the bathrooms for a sponge bath (or shower if you have access to these).  Set up a little bed in a quiet part of the airport and complete your normal routine as much as is possible for example with a story or song.
  • For delays longer than four hours don’t feel you have to stay in the airport.  Many airports have tours or courtesy buses which will take you into town, or to a nearby shopping center.
  • If you have a smart phone download some child friendly Apps before you leave.  The choices are endless.
  • If you can afford it, for delays longer than 6 hours get a hotel room.  Everyone will feel fresher if they have a chance to have a shower and a nap.

For more great travel tips hop on over Travel Tips Tuesday at Suitcases and Sippy Cups and Walking on Travels.

© Copyright 2012 Danielle, All rights Reserved. Written For: Bubs on the Move

4 thoughts on “Top tips for dealing with delays

  1. We have actually never had a major delay in all of our travels. Which of course, completely ensures that our next trip will be full of delays 🙂

  2. We just barely missed our connection in Los Angeles when flying to Hawaii and had to wait 7 hours until the next flight. We ended up hopping the public bus to a nearby mall while we waited. The strange thing is that our luggage made the original flight even though we didn’t. My mom-in-law tells about being delayed at an airport overnight with her baby back in the late 1950’s. She hadn’t brought along enough formula, and a nice employee left the airport to buy some and bring it back for her. I can’t imagine that happening now!

  3. We would have done the same thing with a 7 hour delay. I bet your Mom in law was so grateful for that assistance – how to be delayed like that and unable to feed her baby.

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