Preparing Your Flight-Delay Survival Kit


If you’ve got a 16 hour flight ahead of you, what’s your single biggest fear? Forgetting your book? Worrying about being able to sleep?

Nope, it’s having a 12 hour delay kick in – after you’ve boarded the plane. Passengers flying to San Francisco on Etihad Airlines recently spent a dozen hours sitting on a tarmac in Abu Dhabi, waiting for a thick fog to clear. They were not allowed to return to the terminal and weren’t served food.

The fog didn’t just mysteriously show up after people had boarded, making one wonder about this airline. Never heard of Etihad? It’s a national airline based in the United Arab Emirates. Its Arabic name loosely translates to “Eat It Hard.”

The proper way to deal with this situation, of course, would be to wait until the fourth hour of the delay, stand up, and then shout “Hey, I just found a hot meal inside my seat cushion!” And then watch as famished passengers destroy the interior of the aircraft.

As with all crap-news stories, however, this one contains a hidden nugget of wisdom. Every flier knows that you should bring at least six Powerbars in case you end up in involuntary confinement. But there’s one other thing you should always pack in your carry-on.

Halfway through the delay, the airline changed the crew to avoid violating flight-time labor rules. The trapped passengers must’ve loved watching that happen. But if you’re properly prepared, this event works in your favor. When the airline announce that they’re changing the crew, you slip into the restroom. And then emerge wearing a flight attendant uniform.

There’s a reason so many movies have a climactic scene where an inmate escapes the prison dressed as a guard.

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7 thoughts on “Preparing Your Flight-Delay Survival Kit”

  1. Our main airline is Ryanair. I was once asked if I could fly a plane. This was by the pilot, by the way! I pretended I couldn’t.

  2. I once took nine hours to fly to Shreveport, LA from Dallas. It should have taken one hour. It was with American Eagle. The first time we had to taxi back to the gate because the left engine wasn’t working. The second time we went back to the gate the right engine of the second plane wasn’t working. The third time and with the third plane we weren’t told why the plane wouldn’t fly. The fourth plane took off. I was the first passenger to get off. I told the flight attendant not to give us the usual, “Thank you for flying Wanker Airlines. We know you have many choices..” She shook her head and said she wouldn’t. I could have rented a car, driven to Shreveport, back to Dallas, and once more to Shreveport in that time. They wouldn’t give me a refund a let me rent a car because of liability issues. If only I had had the Flying Squirrel Squadron back then.

  3. This happened in Paris to a friend of mine. They waited in the terminal six hours to board, then they were held captive for another six hours for some other delay, then they were released and asked to come back the next day. Delayed plane-boarding is a flight version of waterboarding.

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