usa | nyc | flight delays

After an amazing weekend in NYC, I had the misfortune of getting caught in a sh*tstorm at Laguardia and spent an entire Monday at that airport, having to overnight in the end. So when I was explaining to my friend why I completely missed her event in Toronto (actually missed two big events that eve), she lamented that it seems like that has happened to everyone. At that airport. At least once. So here we go…my step-by-step on what to do if you’ve sat on a runway for 4 hours (the max time allowed) and they tell you to get off the plane and wait for announcement. Hell I’d still be waiting. There. For the announcement.

#1  Don’t cry. This is hard, I know. But as frustrations run high, it’s worth it to keep your cool. Deep breathing helps.

#2  Go to the main desk immediately. No, don’t bother those people at the little pre-boarding podium… they absolutely do not care.

#3 If you can’t get on the next (or the next next) flight that day, book something for the following morning. Maybe you can afford to taxi back to the city for another evening/day? If so, do it. I couldn’t, so I had to find the first flight out.

#4 (This might be step #2.5 depending on how long the line is at main desk.) If stuck in a long line, call your travel rewards company, or whomever booked your tickets. In this case, I had purchased tickets using my Aeroplan points so I called their 800# and they booked me on the early morning flight, while i was waiting in line. A glimmer of hope! These same people may be able to help obtain accommodations.

#5 Unless you’re carrying all your luggage, don’t get out of that line! You still need to check in with the main desk so they know what to do with your checked baggage. Since I was staying overnight, they radioed down to have my bags pulled for pick-up next to the arrivals carousel.

#6 I am a big fan of TD Travel Rewards, and often redeem the points racked up on my Visa for flights. Annoying to have to use points on an airport hotel, but I needed one. Stat! And things were looking a bit desperate as so many flights had been cancelled. Rooms were booking up so fast, the agent I was talking to seemed frazzled. However, she worked it and actually got me in at the Clarion hotel AND they were sending a van to pick me up. Brilliant! I should note that the Clarion’s front door is so close to Laguardia I could have walked over.

#7 Check in, set the alarm, and let the day end with a well-deserved rest. You need to get through one more round of security checks after all.

Many thanks to LG and the loan of the amazing L7 Optimus – a slim and stylish smartphone with a long-life battery (my crap phone would never lasted the day) and Gorilla™ Glass. The latter makes it super tough and scratch-resistant – helpful because I have a habit of dropping things when I get in a nerve-racking sitch. In any case, without it I’d probably still be sitting at Laguardia. Waiting. For the announcement.

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