All Aboard! Oh wait, We Have A Problem : 4 Things You Can Do During A Flight Delay

by Paris B on · 40 comments

in Discussions,Musings

I spent last weekend traipsing around in the gastronomic heaven of Hong Kong. It was a short trip that was packed with and focused solely on food. And indulge I did! But before I could even get there, there was a little drama in my life.

flight delay All Aboard! Oh wait, We Have A Problem : 4 Things You Can Do During A Flight Delay

My flight heading out was delayed for over 3 hours. I flew a commercial airline so delays weren’t quite on my agenda. We were told of the delays only after we were all on board and strapped in and ready to leave. First, a tyre needed changing and then, one of the computer screens malfunctioned. My fear was that we wouldn’t be able to take off, but it was eventually fixed, and I got there and back in one piece.

But in those 3 hours on board the plane, I observed a few interesting ways how people passed the time during the flight delay and what you could do should you be caught in a similar situation.

Don’t panic!

Whatever you do, don’t panic. I witnessed a man who was flapping about, yelling into his mobile phone, yelling at the air crew who were trying to calm him down, and literally, just panicking. It was like watching a TVB drama and I kept wondering if a film crew might pop up at any moment. He insisted on leaving the plane and after about 2.5 hours he was allowed to. But we took off a few minutes later. I do wonder what happened to him.

Because this was an engineering fault, I chose not to panic. There was nothing else I could do unless I was a flight engineer and I was glad they picked it up on the ground rather than in in the air when I might just have panicked! So rather than make a fuss which doesn’t help and which would just elevate your blood pressure, I curled up in my seat with my book and took time out to catch up on my reading icon smile All Aboard! Oh wait, We Have A Problem : 4 Things You Can Do During A Flight Delay When the instruction came over the PA system for the cabin crew to “arm all doors” I barely noticed that it had been 3 hours!

Pack a book or entertainment

For me, I packed my iPad. I’d loaded it with a book I’d been planning to read for a while, so it was a good time to start. If I had learnt to install movies (which I will … soon!) I could have watched a movie and kept myself entertained. I saw some families with children who had thoughtfully packed toys and books for their kids so there were no kids running up and down screaming their heads off.

Snooze

What better time to catch up on your sleep? We were on board, and not going anywhere. The air-conditioning was on and it was generally quite comfortable. We just were on the ground. I saw a man snooze in the next seat and thought hey! That was a man who knew how to relax in the face of an emergency.

Make a friend

A friend of mine chose to strike up conversation with a man in a nearby seat who turned out to be from Hong Kong and who was a fountain of information for eating spots! He gave some recs but we only managed to try one, the others being too far away but which I filed away for the next time. In a confined place, when you have nothing to do and no one to talk to barring your seat mate, making a new friend doesn’t hurt and people are more willing to chat when you are both in a similar predicament.

Finally, not quite something to soothe you during a flight delay, but bring lip balm. Cabin air is very dry and I forgot my lip balm so my lips felt stretched to the point of cracking. Fortunately, we were kept well watered by the cabin crew so I didn’t experience cracked lips, but I will have to remember to pack my lip balm into my hand carry next time.

Have you been in a long and unexpected flight delay? Do you have your tips for what to do during such a delay? I believe this is the longest any flight I’ve taken has been delayed but because its an engineering problem, I’m really glad they picked it up while we were on the ground as opposed to in the air icon smile All Aboard! Oh wait, We Have A Problem : 4 Things You Can Do During A Flight Delay

Paris B

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[ 40 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

LeGeeque March 8, 2012 at 8:41 am

Thankfully it was a relatively-short flight! I would have been annoyed if my already long journey stretched to an even longer one but I guess there’s nothing we can do about it! Like you, I’ve loaded in heaps of movies, tv shows, games as well as books onto my iPad ahead of my flight. (I suggest cinexplayer as an app for your movies for the ipad! I love it) So, I guess I’d do what you do! Read, watch a movie, relax. As long as AC is running and they keep us fed/watered, I’m not going to kick up a fuss. Glad you make it back safely!

PS-A tip will be to bring along the USB cable for the various devices. If you’re lucky enough that the seat comes with individual USB slots, you’re eliminating the risk of your devices running out of juice! ;)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks for that USB tip! I did think to myself that if the flight stretched any longer, I would be royally screwed when my phone battery ran out of juice :P The only problem is that most short haul flights don’t have that USB charger thing :( I’m going to check out your app for movies. I’m a bit of a novice. :P

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makeup.addict March 8, 2012 at 8:54 am

Strangely enough, I think I haven’t experienced any flight delays while I am on board an aircraft. For me, it usually happens when I am at the gate awaiting boarding. I shudder to think what would happen if I was stuck aboard the plane while a hail storm was racketing about in Chicago last year. I probably would have started flapping around & freaking out like that dude too. :D

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Oh if there was a storm out there I might have flapped too! :D I had a long delay once while waiting at the gate. It was quite ridiculous because we weren’t told till we were at the gate, that the plane hadn’t arrived. What the… it was a budget airline so delays were “expected” but still. 5 hours waiting for a 2.5 hour flight was ridiculous.

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Sue
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

I’ve yet to encounter the need for me to sit in the plane and wait for departure. Mostly I had to endure delay awaiting boarding. Like you, I usually reach out for my book to read, and now mostly to read from my iphone (I know, it’s small, but it works!) Otherwise, I would be on the phone chatting away with a friend who has the time to entertain me =D

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:51 pm

I’ve never been so glad for smart phones :D at least we won’t die of boredom during flight delays anymore!

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Issa March 8, 2012 at 10:50 am

Thank God I haven’t experienced this. But I’ll keep in mind these helpful tips! Thanks! :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Thank your lucky stars Issa! :D But now you know to go prepared :D

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juan
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 11:01 am

i would usually play games on my phone or read glossy mags that i usually buy before a flight… otherwise, if i am really tired, i’d just sleep -.-
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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Glossy mags – that’s a good time to catch up eh? I once had to wait for a flight and I bought the thickest mag I could find and read it cover to cover. Twice. Every single itty bitty article. I was seriously bored out of my head by then.

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Juan
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

hehe yes! that’s what i’d usually do… except that i would always buy two of the glossiest mags i could find that i would never buy under any normal circumstances like Glamour/Cosmopolitan/Allure/Vogue as i know i would always get extremely bored even during flights. i would read through everything even quotes and credits ;P
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Tine
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

A friend and I once missed our flight from KL to Penang, and we ended up waiting for 7 hours at LCCT to board our next flight. Yep, 7 freaking hours. It didn’t even occur to me then that we could have cabbed to KLIA and fly MAS instead. We didn’t even leave the bloody airport! :P
I didn’t know this friend very well back then (we’ve only been communicating via email all that time), so it was a good time for us to get to know each other better. That was pre-iPad and iPhone days :P
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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Wow! You could have even caught a bus LOL! :D It would have been a good way to get to know someone though – how easily shaken they are and how they cope in a situation like that. Hopefully you’re still friends ;)

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Foong Jin March 8, 2012 at 11:41 am

I’m sitting in LCCT, reading this on the ipad while waiting for my flight to HK to take off in a couple of hours (hopefully without any delays)! :p amazing coincidence that this was posted today, of all days, hehe! The tips are especially useful and really comes in handy now since I’m travelling solo. If I have company, delays or early check-ins (eg my current scenario) wouldn’t be an issue. I always have a large number of ebooks in my phone at all times and bring at least two paperback novels with me when travelling. Never know which might strike my fancy. If I’m feeling lazy, then I’ll just listen to music on my ipod and watch the world go by. :) For today or on the flight back, I have preloaded the latest episode of Smash (much better than Glee, really) in my phone as entertainment. 40mins only, but at least it’ll provide a break from reading if I needed one. :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:56 pm

This Foong Jin, is what is known as serendipity! :D I hope you got there and back safely and on time :) I’m going to check out Smash. I do enjoy Glee (mostly for Chis Colfer) but anything similar or better should be fun too! :D

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ysk
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 11:44 am

Last year march I was stucked in airplane for 2-3hours,in airport for almost 10hrs coz a stupid bird flew into the engine.we almost took off and suddenly the pilot told that the plane had some prob..they had to go back to Bangkok,Thai airway hq to get spare part.my 7++am flight became 8++pm..worst experience ever!!

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Wow that sounds like an awful experience!

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ysk
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Very awful indeed,and guess what??the airplane was full of roast ‘bird’ smell.due to that stupid bird,they had to spent million ringgit to change engine..
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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Oh wow! I can’t imagine having to bear that smell… especially if I were hungry LOL!

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ysk
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

They actually compensate us with kenny Rogers roasters chicken =_=”’
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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

ROFLOL!! Well on the bright side, at least they fed you guys :D

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ysk
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 6:13 pm

If they never provide food,I’ll eat the bird for sure.This incident wasn’t their fault but they did a good job in providing food like krr chicken,mcD and vouchers to spend in Thailand airport while transit.
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Jamilla March 8, 2012 at 12:40 pm

I just had a terrible flight delay, all my fault, in Abu Dhabi. I fell asleep and the gate, and missed my 9:30 pm flight back to Muscat. This is because there are NO ANNOUNCEMENTS at this airport – heaven knows why! I did get the 2:45 am flight back to Muscat and got to bed at 5:00 a.m. Working through the tiredness the next day was horrible!

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:58 pm

I’m surprised no one woke you or at the very least check, since you were already checked in and at the gate! What a dangerous airport to be at. I’ll be sure not to fall asleep in Abu Dhabi!

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Vivi
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Last week, I encountered a flight delay but it was only for about 45 minutes. I slept through it although I panicked a bit when I woke up just when the plane was taking off and realized we were stuck for 45 minutes without me knowing what went wrong. It didn’t help that the four people within my view were praying with their eyes tightly shut and hands tightly holding the rosary. Not that I mind, I also prayed just before going on board but seeing people having panic-stricken faces and doing the Cross sign on a plane that’s having a rocky take-off can be a bit unnerving.
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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Oh my! I’m sorry but I laughed a bit at your waking up to see people praying. It must have been nerve wrecking! I’m glad you’re safe though :)

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synical
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I don’t fly often enough to remember significant flight delays, but I remember when I was flying back from Singapore after a day trip once, a young woman was freaking out (aerophobia, methinks) and wanted to get off the plane right before take off. They had to open the doors for her and her partner to leave, locate and remove their check-in luggage, etc. Even then, I think we were still early/on-time on landing, so it was a good thing I was flying back to Subang and not LCCT :P

I have a travel journal that I write down miniscule, by-the-minute details that’s only slightly entertaining to read later down the road (descendants would find it engrossing). I also have an iPod with podcasts loaded for this kind of thing.
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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 3:07 pm

You just reminded me that I used to keep a travel journal! I’d write in it every day of the day’s experiences and what happened which amuses no one except myself now. But I’d also stick in it ticket stubs and restaurant receipts. It was fun! I wonder why I don’t do it anymore :D

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melchewvin March 8, 2012 at 5:41 pm

A fews years ago when i was in Paris going to catch a flight to Rome. My flight was supposed to be at 7am but due to bad weather they have to delay the flight and guess what?! I’ve waited there for more than 12 hours!!!!!!!!!!! From 7am to 1am the next day!!! By the time i reach my hotel in Rome it was already 5am and i wasted the whole day sleeping in my room!!! The worst part is the airline did not apologize to any of the customers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Denise
Twitter:
March 8, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Wow that’s like 18 hours, almost a whole day! My mom probably would’ve written them a long letter to complain. I remember our luggage was left behind once, and she managed to wheedle a few bucks for each passenger in our little group. Nothing like a full refund or something, but at least they recognized their mistake and apologized. Shame on that airline!

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Stacey
Twitter:
March 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

I always buy travel insurance, in the event of flight delays and lost luggages. At least I could get some reimbursement for the inconvenience.

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Oh wow! I was caught in bad weather once too in Europe but fortunately it was a relatively short wait. I hope you managed to claim insurance for the delay. I know most will pay out for delays of over 6 hours.

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Shay March 8, 2012 at 9:09 pm

My worst flight delay was probably 8 years ago. More than 12 hours from adelaide to sg. Had a lot of delays and eventually had to stop over night at Darwin. I think I was quite occupied with worrying about not being able to report to work the next day. I was camping and was with a suitcase of grubby, sandy clothes. Sigh. Terrible.

All my other flight delays were small cases. Usually I read magazines, talk to my travel buddy, or just day dream. :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Yikes! That sounds like a scary and horrible experience. I’m sure your office would have understood if it was a flight delay, although it wouldn’t be very nice either.

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plue
Twitter:
March 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm

usually i’d plugged in an mp3 and just sleep. i’d read but i find that my eyes get tired easily and i’d feel like vomitting >.<

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 4:16 pm

Ah it sounds like you get travel sickness? Some people get that and I guess that for the most part, I’m lucky I don’t :)

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Jen March 10, 2012 at 11:41 pm

During a trip to New York last year, we had to transit in Hk but due to a thunderstorm, we had to divert to Macau. And we were stuck in the plane for 6 hours! As a result we missed our connecting flight to NY. Horrible experience.

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Oh wow! That’s a horrible experience! I hope you managed to get another connecting flight!

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Sam
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 9:15 am

I’ve been on a few – I did the ‘talk to a stranger’ and ended up with his phone number once (didn’t follow through though). The one I was most impatient for was waiting to get off the plane at home for about an hour. I tweeted for an hour ;)

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Paris B
Twitter:
March 11, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Getting a stranger’s phone number. How very movie like ;) And I think I would be less patient were I delayed getting off the plane when home as opposed to going somewhere :D

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