Dealing With Flight Delays on Your Family Vacation

Dealing with Flight DelaysIt’s hard enough traveling with kids, but when your flight gets cancelled or delayed, it can add a whole other element of difficulty.  There are some things you can do to make dealing with a a flight delay a bit easier – some that you can do in advance, and some that you can do once the delay is announced.  Here are my top tips to dealing with flight delays, as well as some tips from other experts.

Tip #1: Find a Day Stay Hotel

When my flight to Boston from San Diego was delayed over 7 hours, an airport official told me about the day stay privileges at a local hotel. For a fee, you can use all of the hotel amenities (like the hotel pool or fitness center) and get a room to put down your stuff, take a nap, and shower.

Tip #2: Talk to the airport information desk

Some local destinations, like Grapevine, Texas near the Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, offer cheap shuttles from the airport to their destination.  The employees at the airport information desk are likely to have this information, so ask around.

Tip #3: Get a pass to the airline’s lounge

Even if you don’t have access to your airline’s lounge, you can often purchase a day pass.  Every club/airport is different, but you’ll often find a bar, food, complimentary snacks, televisions, showers, and other comfort amenities.

Tip #4: American Express Travel Delay Insurance

Recently, we found this affordable “travel delay” insurance for AMEX card holders. For $9.95 pp, it will cover meals, hotels and other expenses that occur if your trip is interrupted.  – Jacquie Whitt, Adios Adventure Travel
Co-founder/Director US Operations

Tip #5: Be Proactive

Be proactive when it comes to changing or canceling your reservations. In the case of significant storms such as Sandy, many airlines will announce expected delays or cancellations several days before the storm actually hits. Calling prior to an expected weather event will allow the airline to re-book you on another flight prior to the actual cancellation. In addition, while many airlines will waive rebooking and cancellation fees during severe weather incidents, many hotels may still enforce their cancellation policies if they are not directly impacted by the event. For example, if a traveler is scheduled to fly through New York on route to a conference in Chicago, the hotel in Chicago may not waive a cancellation fee if not made within the appropriate window. – Kory Laszewksi, vice president of the travel and hospitality group at C3/CustomerContactChannels

Tip #6: Pack Extra Items in Your Carry-On Bag

Pack your carry on with snacks, activities, a small pillow and/orblanket, change of clothes and any other supplies that will get you through a delay. For example if your child/children are still in diapers pack one for every hour of your journey and add ten more. I have seen many parents not prepared for a long delay. – Sara Keagle from The Flying Pinto

Tip #7: Have Contact Information Available

Make sure you have your travel agent, airline and travel insurance telephone numbers saved on your mobile phone in case you need to reschedule a cancelled flight or miss a connection.  Rather than standing in line at the airport ticket counter, try rebooking a missed connection by visiting the airlines website on your smart phone or call the airline reservation telephone number. – Adam Bates, Vice President, Insurance for Trips

How do you deal with flight delays while on a family vacation?

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About Jodi Grundig

Jodi Grundig has loved traveling since she was a little girl. She started blogging in 2007 on her popular review site Mom's Favorite Stuff and after doing quite a bit of family traveling, decided to launch her own travel blog. Jodi resides in Massachusetts with her husband, eight-year old son, ten-year old daughter, and Havanese dog.


  1. What a helpful post! I’m bookmarking it to refresh myself before each trip we take.

  2. While these are all great tips I had no idea about the Amex Delay insurance. That is really really good to know!

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