Before visualizing how we will spend our holidays in a foreign destination, we want our flight process to match our expectations: from getting cheapest tickets, best airlines, timely flight schedules and turbulence free travel. Unfortunately, if you are a frequent traveller by plane, then you must have come across frustrating delays or even cancellations. Some of you may be wishing at the time, ‘I wish I had my PlayStation/Xbox with me’,‘Endless list of songs on my phone or movies on my laptop’, or, ‘I wish I had plenty of money to buy food and a nice accommodation while I’m waiting for my next flight’.

Now the first wish is not realistic as it takes unnecessary space in your luggage, but the other two can be practical. As far as entertainment is concerned, you can fill your laptop/iPad memory with a collection of movies and TV shows and your phone with a large playlist of songs. As for the third wish, there is a possibility to get compensation for your flight getting delayed. If your delay goes beyond 3 hours, you may be entitled to food vouchers, extra air miles, and/or hotel accommodation depending on the airline’s compensation policies. As far as EU is concerned, if you travel using EU airline or are travelling within EU, then you may compensated for the delay up to €600. For the compensation to be received, you need launch a complaint for compensation, along with keeping flight documentation and expense receipts in hand to serve as evidence for food and drinks compensation.

By Dr. Tiny Nair

I reached the airport at 5 AM for my 6 AM flight. Turns out, my flight was cancelled and it was now scheduled for 11 AM. Wondering how to spend the next 6 hours, after passing through security, I sat opposite the book store. Then it hit me; an inspiration to write a book. I pulled out my laptop and started typing. At 10 AM, my flight was delayed by one hour, then two and finally it was to depart at 6 PM. This led to my inception of my literary work, ‘Happy at Heart’.

By MC Hayashi

In 1989, my partner and I booked a reasonable flight to Bermuda. To our dismay on our arrival, the flight was cancelled due to some mechanical problem. Some 70-80 irate passengers just groaned a collective ‘Aaawwwww’ in disappointment. About 30 minutes had passed and everyone had left except for me and my partner when we heard the PA going: ‘We’d like to announce that the recently canceled flight to Bermuda due to mechanical problems will be RESUMED. The mechanical issues have all been resolved. All passengers holding boarding passes can proceed to Gate #. The flight will depart in 30 minutes. We apologize for the inconvenience.’

We then looked at each other, knowing what both of us were hoping: ‘I hope none of the original passengers return in time!’

Our economy were upgraded to first class with flight attendants giving us the royal treatment and even pilots came back to talk to them. We were starving college students looking for ways to save a buck and didn’t we would be so lucky. Best 2 hours and 25 minutes of travelling time. However, when it was time for a return trip to NY, we were humbled back to reality.

By Matthew Manning

In 2005, my flight was delayed from Amsterdam to Nairobi. The airline provided me a €40voucher to make up for it. The catch was that it could only be used for one purchase; whether you are buying a pack of gum or steak, it was for one time and then it was gone. This was reminded to me by the bartender at Schipol as he placed a towering Heineken. Looking down the bar at other gentlemen I said, ‘I’ll take as many of these as I can get for 40 euro!’

When the gentlemen were done with my drinks and striking a conversation with every one of them, they decided to buy drinks for me and each other. For the entire 6-hour delay, we were drinking and I learnt the best drinking songs from Ireland, Scotland and Holland. Seeing my watch and realizing my flight was departing in 10 minutes, I stumbled down the terminal and went for my gate. One of the gentlemen from UK was running with my suitcase yelling, “MATT! MATT! You forgot your bag!” When he threw my bag over the rope to me, I fell backwards and laughed hysterically. Later, I passed out in my flight seat with a colossal hangover 10 hours later in Nairobi.

Others have managed to gain several thousand miles to get subsequent trips for free or get lavish accommodations, thanks to their long tiring delays.

We hope after reading this, you will be able to come up with your greatest flight delay experiences, or at least be successful in getting something out of it like food vouchers and travel miles.