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The Top Five Easiest Ways to Survive a Tarmac Delay

March 16, 2010 at 1:13 PM | by | ()

The storm of last weekend, which brought winds of over 60 mph and driving rain so bad that it stung your face, cancelled and delayed more flights than we care to know. For some, like our friends waylaid at DTW with a 2-day delay, they were lucky in only having to spend three hours onboard the plane before being cancelled. But flights like Virgin America's ''16-hour Flightmare" weren't nearly as lucky, and found themselves stranded on the tarmac at unfamiliar airports, rationing Pringles and water.

The winter may be mostly over, but the storms of spring are only now on their way in. So to save you from starvation and frustration, we've prepared this guide to the Top 5 Easiest Ways to Survive a Tarmac Delay.

Check it out, after the jump!

5. Always pack a little food in your carry-on
Even when we're taking a quick New York-Chicago flight on a beautiful, sunny day, we'll pack some Clif bars or a banana just in case. If you know you'll be traveling during bad weather, or are in for a long-haul where every extra hour hurts, then go for a larger bag of Chex Mix or a few more granola bars. They'll not only save you, but if you share, you'll quickly breed goodwill in a stressful situation and find sympathetic fellow passengers.

4. Have a pen.
You'd be surprised how many people travel without a pen or pencil. When you have one, you can make notes about rearranged travel plans while you work them out on the phone, you can do the crosswords in the back of the in-flight magazine when you run out of iPod power, you can draft your complaint letter, or you can write "HELP" really large on a piece of paper and hold it up to the window by your seat, hoping people in the terminal see it.

A mess at security in LaGuardia's Delta Terminal

3. Remain calm.
You might be freaking out inside, but don't add to the tense atmosphere by blowing up at flight crew or other passengers. You are all in the boat—err...Airbus. It is okay to be frustrated and confused and angry, but keep your expression of these feelings to a minimum, and work to make them profitable in the end. For example, expressing frustrations calmly and rationally to a flight attendant could yield the bag of pretzels you desire to feed your hungry child.

2. Tweet, tweet, tweet
Be vocal about the fact that you are being held hostage on an airplane. Just get the word out. Best case scenario is that the airline's customer relations people will see your situation and work to remedy it from their end, or you'll get an apology and a refund like Virgin America CEO did for the VA flight recently. Begin with twittering, but also sending actual snail mail helps for documentation. Draft your complaint letter on a napkin while details are fresh.

1. Have all of your travel information and airline phone numbers handy
We admit to making the mistake of running out of time to do this, but you should jot down the customer service numbers and any other important airline phone contacts you might need. If your plane is on the ground, sitting at the gate, you'll be able to make the phone calls which could get you saved. Also keep the numbers of your other travel plans (rental cars, hotels, cruises, connecting airlines) at hand just in case you get so delayed that new arrangements must be made.

Got any other tarmac delay tips or tales of woe? Let us know below!

Related Stories:
· Detroit Airport Descends Into Chaos During the Weekend's Weather Delays [Jaunted]
· A 16-hour Flightmare [NY Post]
· Delays [Jaunted]

[Photos: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

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Thanks you guys!

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Great tips

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