What happens when your flight is delayed? Or you miss your connecting flight to your destination? Sometimes, unexpected things happen and it’s beyond your control. Here are some useful tips on how to survive this and other unexpected “travel disasters”.
1. Always carry spare currency in case you’re stranded somewhere and need some money to buy food or other necessities. Not all places accept cards, especially if the amount is small. Besides the currency of the country where you are travelling to, it is good to have some US dollars which is widely accepted, or Euros.
2. Be sure to have copies of your passport and other vital travel documentations with you when you travel. In case you lose your real passport, these copies might help facilitate the process when you have to make a police report (if it was stolen), and also when you contact your nearest embassy or consulate to get new documents.
Also, have the contact numbers of the nearest embassy or consulate handy when you travel in case of emergencies.
3. Give a copy of your travel itinerary, and accommodations with their contact numbers, to your family members or friends if you’re not travelling together, so that they can get in touch with you in case of an emergency.
4. Even if you’re on your way home to sunny Malaysia, always bring along a windbreaker or sweater in your carry-on bag. Something to keep you warm will come in handy because cabin temperatures can get extremely cold. This is also handy if you’re on transit in a city that is experiencing cold weather.
5. Dress properly for travelling. If you’ve never been to a particular airport before, you might not realise that it’s a really far distance to walk to the boarding gate. So, save the high heels for another time, and wear comfortable shoes that are good for walking (or running)! You never know when you might have to run to the next boarding gate for your connecting flight if you’re on transit.
Wear clothing that won’t hinder your speed so that you can move swiftly. You can always carry your business clothing with you and change into them upon arrival at your destination.
6. In case of flight delays and/or missed flights, and you have to spend longer than expected in an airport, put a change of comfortable clothes – as well as undergarments – in your carry-on luggage.
7. Put some travel size toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, comb and facial cleanser in your hand carry. In case you are stranded without your luggage, you can still freshen up. Some airports are stricter when it comes to carrying liquids but most will allow travel-size toiletries in ziplock bags (when going through airport scanners).
8. Always keep your ticket stubs and other travel documents so that you can claim from your travel insurance later when there are delays or other unexpected incidences. Make sure you have a print out of your itinerary and keep your boarding pass with you.
Some airports, especially smaller ones, don’t have facilities for e-ticket scanning and would request that you print out your ticket. Or worse, if you lose your mobile phone, or it runs out of battery, then you can’t retrieve your e-ticket.
9. If you have a connecting flight, make sure there is a buffer time of at least four to five hours between the arrival time of the first flight and the departure of the second flight. Sometimes, we take it for granted that one to two hours is sufficient, but if there is a delay, then you would miss the second flight.
This is especially important if you’re travelling for work and need to attend to something important when you arrive and you don’t want to be late! If you’re going home or on holiday, it is just as annoying, but at least you’re not in a hurry.
10. Lastly, keep a positive attitude. Most times, flight delays are not caused by the people you’re speaking to at the airline counters. Yelling at them will probably not make things move any faster. Most of the time, the response you receive is a result of how you ask for it. If you’re courteous, you might even get a faster and more helpful response.
Airlines usually provide a hotel for you to rest if there is a delay of more than a certain number of hours. They might also provide a food voucher at the airport.