When travel is good, I literally don’t think there’s anything better. Travel is like the new Beatles, with more people than ever participating and while that’s great, when things go wrong, it means more people in the chaos than ever before. Here’s everything you need to do when things don’t go as planned, which is also how you avoid sleeping on an airport floor…

MONITOR

When weather is crazy you may notice a trend of cancellations or delays before you go to the airport. Monitor delays and arrivals using a great app like FlightAware to save yourself a trip to the airport and if it looks like your flight will cancel or delay, call or tweet your airline to make other arrangements in advance, all from the comfort of your home or hotel…

GET EDUCATED

Before things officially go wrong, educate yourself on other options. Knowing which alternate flights are available, or which nearby airports within reach are functioning can make you leaps ahead of other passengers who inevitably end up waiting in a long line…

MULTI TASK, GET SOCIAL

When flights cancel, everyone ends up standing in line like they’re waiting to get into a hot night club. What experts do is immediately get on social media to request a flight change with their educated options. Ask to be put on standby for a later “safety” flight, then immediately after get on the phone, while walking to an area where a gate agent isn’t being bombarded, to get quicker and more efficient help. Phone call, social media barrage and face to face, you win. 

STAY CHARGED

All these brilliant plans of booking your own alternate flight, hotel room or just a car to get the hell out of there go out the window if your electronics die. Be sure to have chargers, back ups and a comfortable change of clothes to settle in for what can be a tenuous day. 

BOOK A BACK UP PLAN

Ever seen videos of those poor souls sleeping on the airport floor? It sucks. If cancellations appear imminent, consider booking a hotel room or alternate flight on your own rather than waiting for the airline to make accommodations. By doing so you secure a space to stay (which many will miss out on) and you may be able to receive a refund from the airline under many conditions for reasonable expenses like these.

ASK FOR AN ENDORSEMENT

Is your airline the only one screwing up? You can ask for your ticket to be endorsed to another airline. This essentially means that a competitor or partner will honor your ticket at no expense to you and get you out of there. Again, you’ll want to beat the rush from the rest of the people on your flight since most flights fly nearly full these days and there may only be one seat…

IF YOU HAVE ELITE STATUS, PLAY THAT CARD

Elite status matters when things go haywire. Airlines want to accommodate their most important return customers over one time fliers. It’s just the way it is. If things go wrong, walk right up to the first/business/priority line or lounge to get help away from the growing crowds. Every second counts as people fight for seats on the next flight or the last hotel room…