See our Advertiser Disclosure and Editorial Note here.
Family vacations mean smiling faces in front of fun landmarks and blissful relaxation, right? Not all the time. For most families, there is a lot you don’t see on social media. I talked a bit about this last week in my post How Disney World Brings Out the Best and Worst in Families. But in addition, the transportation part of travel can also bring its own set of challenges.
The 15-Hour Flight Delay
Last week, my family had an evening flight out of Orlando. We planned to spend part of the day at the Universal parks before heading to the airport. I kept an eye on our flight, and despite rainy weather back at home, it was still showing as on time.
We arrived at the airport and grabbed some dinner while waiting for our flight. Then the delays started. First it was an hour, then a few hours, then midnight….Eventually our flight was delayed 15 hours! I’m shocked they didn’t just cancel it. The bad weather in Dallas plus a crew time-out meant our flight would have to leave the next morning.
Thankfully, American Airlines gave us vouchers for two hotel rooms plus $15 in airport food credit per person. We were a little bummed that we wasted all that time at the airport when we could have been riding rides. It’s a good thing that we didn’t have anywhere urgent to be the next day.
I was pretty calm about the whole thing. All in all, it could have been much worse. I’ve slept on a cot in the airport before!
We had to wait over an hour to retrieve our checked luggage before heading to the hotel for a night. The biggest irritation was the next morning when we tried to drop our luggage off again. The airport staff had no clue what to do with our bags that already had tags on them from the night prior. We kept being shuffled from line to line before they finally decided that they would just accept our bags as is.
How to Prepare for a Hiccup Like This:
If you travel a lot, this type of situation is bound to happen to you sometime. Here are some tips to make it easier:
- Have the airline’s app on your phone. You will be alerted to delays and cancellations before they announce it in the airport, meaning you can start the process of rebooking sooner. When we found out our flight would be delayed to the next morning, we sprung up and got in a customer service line before it got too long.
- Pack an extra day’s worth of medicine in your carry-on, as well as a change of clothes.
- Always ask about hotel and meal vouchers! We talked to some people on our flight who had no idea to ask, so they paid for a hotel on their own dime.
- If you have somewhere really important to be, fly in/fly back an extra day early if possible to allow for these hiccups.
What has been your worst travel hiccup?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.