The holidays are so close, I can almost taste it... and by taste, I am one hundred percent referencing the gloriousness that is Thanksgiving. But holidays really shouldn’t be about food; they are meant to be spent with friends and family. This means an inevitable mass influx of travelers on the highway and at the airport in hopes to reach loved ones all across the country.
As I write this article today, I am actually stuck in the airport, as I have missed my flight… unintentionally, of course, and it was not my fault! We have all been there -- a moment of sheer panic where your body language says "move out of the way or face being accidently sideswiped with my carry-on luggage!", while your face says "I’m so scared to face the wrath of the attendants at my gate."
Whether your trip to the airport involves preparation or travel for the holidays or not, I have compiled a list of things you can do if you happen to find yourself stranded in the airport!
1. Remain Calm
The moment I realized I had missed my flight, I wanted to crumple to the ground and start sobbing. Once I decided there was no way I could pass for a four-year-old any longer, I took a deep breath, found the nearest airport worker, and rationally explained that I needed to get a seat on another plane. If other people see you freaking out, they are likely to either run away in sheer horror or start freaking out alongside you. Two people freaking out is not the path you want to go down, and if something is wrong, you obviously need assistance, so remaining calm, cool, and collected is a must.
2. Find Refuge in Food and Drink
There is nothing better than finding your favorite commercial restaurant or café in your terminal as you await your flight. Luckily, I had my safe haven, Starbucks, right near me, which I could use for free wifi, a nice iced tea, and a warmed muffin: recipe for de-stressing. If you can’t find a food/drink location that strikes your fancy, go to one of the little stores that sells snacks and magazines and pastime activities and get some quality caffeine or sugar products to stimulate you enough to get you through the next few hours.
For some reason, I always find really good books at the airport. If you have a computer, that’s great; perhaps you can watch a movie or television show, but reading is much more enjoyable for me, and I highly recommend cozying up with a good book in a relatively quiet area of the airport (if you can find one). Once you get into your book, you’re likely to forget about the process of waiting because you’re so engrossed with the storyline and fixated on the characters. Reading is the best distraction because you don’t have the ability to check the time (like you can at the top or bottom of your computer screen), so the hours are quickly passing. Plus, reading always makes me a little sleepy, so once you plop down in your airplane seat, you might even get in a nap.
4. People Watch
There is no better place to observe fellow humans than at the airport. There is always a throng of people to aim your attention towards, and you are guaranteed to witness a funny, dramatic, or kind moment while your eyes scan the large crowds. Airports are a strangely good place to strike up random conversations with people. You might be sitting next to the most fascinating person you will ever converse with, so don’t hesitate to be friendly if the opportunity presents itself. If you’re really not in the talking mood, though, you can always stare long enough at a person to create an imaginary life for them. This is an easy game I have played many times before, in several different places, yet my creative juices never seem to drain, as I can always come up with a good story for whomever is right in front of me.
5. Have Some Perspective
With all the horrific events going on in the world these days, being stuck in an airport for a few hours is not the worst thing that could ever happen to you. You get a lot of "me time" to soul search and just chill with yourself. I assure you that missing your flight doesn’t mean you are in danger, even if you’re like me and momentarily thought you could be, and you have a few hours to literally waste time doing whatever you want. Being stranded in an airport of all places is really unfortunate, and obviously what nobody wants to be doing, but just remember your privilege and be grateful that things aren’t worse.
With that, Young Hollywood readers, I wish you the best of luck for whenever you are stuck in the airport for an extended period of time. Take advantage of the situation – don’t ruminate on all the possible things you can’t do because of where you are. Sorry to get all sentimental, but I believe in you…you can get through it! Happy Thanksgiving!