Having to unexpectedly stay overnight at the airport is never a fun ordeal. It was Thanksgiving week last year, and a big snowstorm had just hit Colorado on the night of November 26. Honestly, nothing someone born and raised here couldn’t handle. The next day it continued to snow pretty heavily until late morning, and my husband and I had planned to fly out of Denver International Airport that night. Naturally, we kept up on cancellations and delays throughout the day, and our flight was still good to go to Minneapolis. We got to the airport a couple of hours early, and decided to have some dinner because when we got to our concourse, we saw that our flight had just been updated to delayed. We thought no biggie, and went about our way. Our flight ended up being delayed almost an hour due to the ground crews having to clear off the taxi ways and runways. Luckily, we got out, and all was good, or so we thought. That same snowstorm that had dropped a good foot of snow on us, had beat us to Minnesota, and had only grown stronger. After unknowingly circling MSP for 4o minutes, the captain finally gets on the PA, and says that landing conditions at MSP at currently impossible due to snow drifts, and that we had diverted all the way back to Denver. You cannot believe how many pissed off passengers there were. My husband and I were a tad more sympathetic due to our understanding of the world of aviation (my father is an airline pilot). We landed back in Denver well after midnight, and because the next flight out was at 6:00am, we decided not to waste gas trying to get back home, and stayed at DIA. After going through having to stay the night at the airport last year, I thought it best to pass on some good airport tips to others, so they don’t befall the same complications that my husband and I had to deal with.
1. Pack A Small Carry-On
For those of us who aren’t seasoned travelers, we usually don’t bring a carry-on bag on the airplane. It’s usually a checked bag, and a personal item. After what happened to us last year, I made a deal with myself to always bring a small carry-on when there are inclement weather conditions. You can then pack some essentials, like a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, some makeup, medications and any other TSA-approved items that you deem necessary to bring, in the chance that you may get stuck at the airport overnight. Then, at least you have those items on you, and can comfortably wait for your next flight out without too much fuss. This is one airport tip that can be such a huge lifesaver, and you too should get in the habit of brining along a carry-on if there’s bad weather afoot. Better to be safe than sorry.
2. Comfy Clothes
Now, I’m not saying to show up in your jammies to the airport, but a pair of track pants or leggings with an oversized sweatshirt or hoodie work just as well for comfy clothes. Wearing comfier clothes to the airport at night is smart because if you end up having to stay there with nowhere else to go, at least you’re snug. And trust me, with sleeping on the floor of the concourse, you’ll be glad you took the advice of this airport tip. Luckily, I was dressed all cozied up last year, and wasn’t stuck wearing a pair of jeans, unlike my poor hubby. It made sleeping on the concrete floor covered with a thin layer of carpeting that much more bearable for me. So, if the weather is being unpredictable, then take that extra precaution of dressing comfortably.
3. Neck Pillow
For this airport tip, you always want to bring a neck pillow with you in the chance you might be having a sleepover among the other passengers. It’s good to be prepared. That way you’re not stuck using your personal item as a pseudo-pillow like I had to last year. And if you don’t have a neck pillow, no worries, as soon as you get to the airport, go and buy one. They’re usually reasonably priced, and will save your head and neck some stiffness the next morning! Now, you might be asking why not stay at a nearby hotel? Usually airport hotels are renowned for their expensive prices, and if you’re only there for six to eight hours, do you really want to waste that much money on a hotel room? Just save that money, and get yourself a neck pillow, it’s only for a few hours.
4. Eat A Good Meal
It’s always prudent to get to the airport a couple of hours early to make sure you check your bags, and get through security in a timely manner. I, among many others, despise being rushed through an airport, and prefer to get there early with lots of time to spare! That way, if I want to get some good food, I have that option. This airport tip is especially good for those later evening flights because if you do unexpectedly stay the night, then at least you ate a hearty meal before your initial departure time. All airport restaurants and shops (at least the ones that I’ve been to) close around 9:00 or 10:00pm; you’ll be happy that you chose to eat dinner there. You can also go buy a few good snacks from the closest convenience store on the concourse before they close. That way if you end up getting stuck there at the airport, at least you’ll have some food to munch on.
5. Bring A Phone Charger
I cannot stress this enough, always bring a phone charger with you, especially if the weather is acting a little dodgy. Trust me, this airport tip is one of the most important because if you do end up staying the night, you definitely don’t want your phone dying on you, particularly if you’re traveling alone. I was so glad that both my husband and I had our phone chargers on us last year! It saved us a lot of pain and strife. Dead cellphones aren’t very useful, and if your next flight out is at 6:00am like ours was, then none of the airport stores would be opened yet for business that day, and you would be SOL. A phone charger is a definite life saver in this day and age!