Traveling is always a great experience. Well, as long as there are no problems with your flight. Let’s be honest though, who hasn’t encountered a flight delay, a cancellation or even missed their plane at least once in their lives? And while these situations may make a good story to tell afterwards, while you’re actually stuck at the airport, positive thoughts don’t come straight to mind (so best keep these flight need-to-knows in your mind).

We’ve all been there and we know the feeling. During those times you find yourself stuck at an airport’s uncomfortable gates, these flight need-to-knows will come in handy.

Flight need-to-know #1: What to do if your flight is delayed?

This must be the most common unpleasant situation that can occur during your trip. Seeing the word ‘delay’ written on the airport’s departure board usually brings rage and desperation but since there isn’t much, or rather anything, you can do about it, just to try to make the time pass as smoothly as possible.

First of all, find the airport’s most comfortable spot. Make sure there are plugs around so your laptop won’t run out of battery and connect to the WiFi. Whether you have some work to do or just want to browse the internet, this way a couple of hours will easily pass by. Another great and entertaining option is to learn some travel buzzwords to get into the slang! Just to be perfectly prepared…

Now, if your flight is delayed for more than two hours you’ll have to find some extra activities to kill time such as (window) shopping. The good news though, is that you’re eligible for compensation if you arrive at your destination later than two or more hours. You can claim your compensation on your own or if you don’t have the time or patience to deal with your airline, you can use one of numerous online services such as claimdon or airhelp.

Flight need-to-know #2: What to do if your flight is cancelled?

Man waiting at the airport
Photo source: / TravnikovStudio

Ok, that’s a harder one, especially if your airline hasn’t notified you in time or a problem comes up on the day you’re flying and you’re already at the airport. This could be bad weather, a mechanical problem with the aircraft or lack of crew or a pilot. All of these reasons have more than once led to the cancellation of a flight and consequently to passengers’ frustration.

In this case and if you’re at the airport, you can ask for a ticket refund or get a replacement flight. If your airline hasn’t informed you 14 days prior to your flight you’re eligible to claim compensation, which ranges from €250 and €600 depending on the distance. Flightright offers an online calculator which can help you see the amount of compensation you’re entitled to.

The worst case scenario is to have a sleepover at the airport. Ok, the situation may be uncomfortable, but with our Sleeping in Airports 101 guide you can relax!

Flight need-to-know #3: What to do if you miss your flight?

So, you’ve missed your flight and you’re left wandering in the airport with bitterness and anger filling every inch of your body. Don’t worry though, even the most avid travelers have been there at least once. It might be because the flight was so early in the morning, (let’s be honest, not many people roll out of bed the first time the alarm clock rings), or because you misread the name of the terminal or even the airport itself. Yes, it has happened. Many times, to many passengers.

Unfortunately, if you’re responsible for missing your flight, you can’t ask for compensation. Luckily, though, some airlines offer a ‘rescue fee’ or what is generally the “flat tire rule” which gives you the possibility of paying just a fee and boarding on the next flight. Keep in mind though, that you can only claim the “rescue fee” if you’re in the airport two hours after the departure at the latest.

Flight need-to-know #4: What to do if your baggage is lost or delayed?

Lost luggage at the airport - tips
Photo source: / CatwalkPhotos

And right when you arrive at your destination, feeling happy and relieved while you’re waiting for your luggage, thinking that nothing can go wrong now, fate proves you wrong. Suitcases, backpacks and bags roll out before your eyes on the luggage belt but none of them is yours. And after everyone has left, the realization hits you: Your luggage is lost.

It’s then that the thought of your hotel’s comfy bed is replaced by the face of the airport’s baggage claim officer waiting for you to finish filling out a lost baggage claim. You’ll be asked to describe your luggage the best you can. Then you can leave the airport and expect to have your bags sent within around two days.

If your luggage is actually delayed and not lost, chances are you won’t get any compensation but you can try to negotiate. If your suitcase is lost, which means you’re in the less than 2% of passengers who have their luggage lost in airports, the airline will have to pay you a certain amount of money after you’ll describe in detail what was in the bag.

Flight need-to-know #5: Tips to kill time in the airport

So, if you’re stuck in an airport for any of the above mentioned reasons you’ll have to deal with it the best way you can. First of all, don’t forget to ask your airline for everything it’s required to provide you. This could range from drinks and snacks while waiting in the airport to a room at the nearest hotel until your flight departure.

After that, try to find things to do that will help you forget the situation. This could be putting your headphones on and listening to your favorite music, reading a book, buying some magazines, hitting the airport’s shops to add some travel gadgets to your collection. A travel pillow and an eye mask for sleeping when it’s light are a good start. Another flight need-to-knows tip is pretty easy: talking to people around you. Maybe they are in the same boat. If you struggle to communicate with strangers check out this guide on how to make friends while traveling, if you’re pretty shy.

Airport lounge areas are usually super comfy and provide amenities that will help you forget you’re in an airport at all. Check them out even if you’re not traveling with business class and see if you can purchase a day-pass access for the Airport Lounge. Some airports even feature gyms and spas so, if you feel like stretching a bit before boarding a plane, check out if yours is one of them.

Stranded at the Airport? No problem: to stay entertained you can check out the TOP travel destination for you as recommended by your zodiac sign – and start planning your next adventure 🙂


Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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