You’ve probably travelled by airplane before, or not, but you might several times in the future. It could be summer, winter, fall, anytime and guess what? anyone could be stuck at the airport. For various reasons, you could choose to stay the night in order to save some money, haha or you maybe forced to because you have no money, it could just be you have a long layover or the flight could be cancelled or delayed due to bad weather, some fault with the plane or some airport or cabin staff decide to go on strike. Now for all these occasions, there’s something you can do. I’ll just write briefly about the few experiences I had and what you could do. Here goes;
Budapest, Ferihegy Airport
Flight cancelled: Bad weather + faulty plane
Oh this was my first time to be stuck at the airport, about 4-5 years ago. It was a flight by germanwings from Budapest to Stuttgart this was unexpected and I had no idea what to do. There had been a terrible storm and so for a few hours we could understand the delay, but afterwards all the other airlines got to fly by midnight but not us, we were special. and worse still we weren’t told of any development until about 4am, when we finally got checked into hotel rooms and only got to fly the next day in the afternoon
What I did: I made new friends and slept on the hard cold floor and waited for the airline.
What you could Do: There’s something called Right to care offered by most airlines, depending on the airline, you could check the policy and if you have a delay/cancellation/diversion and can’t fly the same day, you could actually move the flight free of charge, ask for a refund, ask for accommodation and feeding, ask for a way to call home.
Frankfurt Airport, Germany
Cabin Crew Strike!
This was a flight by Lufthansa from Frankfurt to Budapest. The airport was overly crowded, I was arriving from Abuja and I needed to arrive to Budapest that day and I demanded they get me to Budapest, lol and they did. Apparently, in special cases, airlines collaborate to fly one another’s passengers. So, I got flown by KLM to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Budapest, it was some journey, but the point is I got to Budapest earlier than if I had agreed to stay the night in Frankfurt.
What I did: I demanded to fly on the same day. Fortunate to get what I wanted.
What you could do: Demand your passenger rights(Right to care), fly with some other airline, if its a possibility
Helsinki Airport, Finland
17 hours lay over
I flew with Finnair from Budapest to Helsinki and I had to wait for 17 hours for my connecting flight to Xian, thank goodness, this was just for the outbound flight. But Helsinki airport was fun. I dare to say the best airport I’ve ever been to. There were charging ports everywhere, which means lots of choices on where to sit. The seats were okay. The airport staff were super nice and could speak English, free wifi and guess what they had I think about two museums if am not mistaken, an art gallery, a photo gallery, a book swap place, an observation deck, a variety of places to eat and shop at.
What I did: I toured the airport, browsed online a lot and slept some.
What you could do: Tour Helsinki if you’re qualified to go into the country, book a hotel, stat at the airport and check out their services, the airport website was also quite useful.
Xian International Airport
Yeah, I didn’t want to inconvenience any more friends and frankly I had run out of money to book a hotel for the night. so at evening I arrived at the airport and would sleep there till the next morning. Actually there wasn’t free wifi, I don’t remember having one.
What I did: Reminisced over my stay and slept 😀
What you could do: Book a hotel, or just sleep like I did. Haha.
Osaka, Kansai Airport
This airport is actually located on an artificial Island, cool right? I arrived at night, 7pm. I could have booked a hotel, but was afraid to get lost at night and I wasn’t going to spend money on cab to get into the city, so I slept at the airport. Yes, there was free wifi, and this was my first time seeing a vending machine for sim cards, haha I got one from there. Airport staff were really nice too and they had few stores for window shopping. My mistake was not finding a quiet place to sleep, passengers kept coming and going where I stayed, so I could hardly sleep. The chairs were okay and free wifi was the biggest plus.
What I did: toured the airport: There wasn’t much to see, ah brochures and leaflets for restaurants and popular sightseeing places, I got a few of those from the airport.
What you could do: book a hotel, sleep at the airport, use wifi, read a book. 😀
London, Luton Airport
Voluntary- Girl tries to save money
This was my worst experience of sleeping at an airport. My flight was quite early in the morning, Wizz air. Not wanting to pay 100 pounds for a taxi to the airport, I took the train for 32 pounds, the night before and slept at the airport. The night was cold and long, the seats were uncomfortable and there was no free wifi. Who does that? In my experience, UK airports are very stingy when it comes to free wifi, England to be specific.
What you could do: By all means, do not sleep at this airport if you can avoid it, especially in winter months, you could book a hotel close by in Luton or yes take a cab.
Delays and diversions
Check out for these, most airlines might still compensate for your inconveniences and extra costs incurred as a result. I’ve never experienced a delay or diversion, but should you, be sure to inquire f you can be compensated.
I had fun on everyone one of these trips, and for most by sleeping at the airport I got to save money on accommodation and transport, so having to sleep at an airport should not hinder your decision to travel in anyway. Find out fun ways to enjoy your layover or how to handle the unexpected and have fun flying.
- Know your passenger rights (depends on airline)
- Know the airport (free wifi or no, museums or no, are you eligible to sight see the country for a few hours or no.)
Sleeping at the Airport
- Know where security is, or where the cameras are
- Find a spot close to a charging port. be sure on what type of travel adapter you need.
- If you really want to sleep, you want to avoid places where passengers have to pass on arrival or upon departure, so you aren’t waking up every 15 minutes because of the noise.
- Limit your cabin load please!
- Your travel documents, wallet, boarding pass and phone, guard them properly, especially the first two.
- An extra shirt/jacket may come in handy, if you don’t happen to have your toothbrush and toothpaste on, bubble gum might help for your breath.
- Take a book, download a movie, it could come in handy.
- Take it in good faith, no experience is wasted experience 😉
p.s. Here’s a website that might be of help: Airhelp