Take matters into your own hands at the airport

By Vivian Roach | Staff Writer

We’ve all been there. Your flight is delayed, then delayed and delayed again. It wouldn’t be such a problem until it gets too late in the day or you’re going to miss your connecting flight on the other side. So, what’s the secret?

First things first, when your flight is delayed the very first time, even if it’s only by 15 or 30 minutes, start searching for other flights from your airline going to the same place. If your connection is at a major airport, there’s bound to be at least a few more. It’s very likely (I would put money on it) this won’t be the last time your flight is delayed. Don’t dilly dally, even if you have a long layover at your next destination.

Once you’ve found a flight that will still allow you to make it in time for your connection, go to that gate and ask to be put on the standby list — sometimes you can even do this from your phone. It also helps to look at the departure screens periodically displayed throughout the terminal. If there is one nearby, it could even be quicker. Wait at that gate to be called from standby so you don’t lose your place if, by the grace of God, you make it. No need to worry about your delayed flight, just be sure to be checking for updates on their website or app or sign up for text updates.

Though this would take more time and careful planning, if you choose a different city to make your connection, there might even be more connections. Keep in mind if this is the case, it might be better to go to the ticket agent and suggest those flights you’ve found so they can switch your reservation. Otherwise, you might still have to wait on standby for each flight.

However, if this doesn’t work, and your flight is still delayed, you may need to resort to asking the ticket agent for help. Though you might not be going to the same city, they can help you find a different flight to your final destination. It helps to take matters into your own hands when the ticket agent is swamped with passengers in the same boat. Theoretically, they’re doing the same thing when you ask for help, but just have access to more flights coming in and whatnot.

A small but valuable tidbit: try to avoid checking bags at all costs if you have a connecting flight. This will ensure you will have all of your baggage when everything is said and done. Avoid the hassle of trying to shove your oversized bag into the overhead compartments; immediately when you’re through the gate, tell the attendant you need to check the bag to the side. You can pick it up when you land right off the plane.

Say you’ve checked bags; they will end up at your final destination, no matter what (unless the airline loses them, and you have no control over that). You will be able to meet your bags on the other side, and they might even have them shipped to you if you arrive earlier than your bags.

A word to the wise for us Baylor students, start flying out of Waco for all flights home or elsewhere. American is the primary airline that flies out of the miniature airport here, so make sure to sign up for the airline’s rewards program. By the time you’ve done this a few times for breaks and summers, you will accumulate enough points for upgrades and free flights. It’s always smarter to stick with one airline so all your points are compiled together.

Lastly, complain. Though I know all those moms out there don’t want to hear this, you really should. Whenever your flight is delayed, and you’re about to miss a connecting flight or worse, call the airline once you’ve figured out your next steps. They’ll often compensate you with free points, money back or food or hotel vouchers. They want your business, and they don’t want an unhappy customer to be left dissatisfied.