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With the skies growing more crowded every year, and the airlines losing their sense of shame every day, flight delays have gone from being a rare event to a reliable nuisance for anyone who chooses to travel by air. But flight delays don't have to be bad news -- with the right frame of mind, there can be a lighter side to these annoyances. Below we've presented some of the ways you can make the best of your next flight delay.

Delay #5 : Let's Go Shopping

Attention all passengers waiting for flight LP236 to Chicago, due to weather conditions, your plane coming in from Denver is running a little late. Once it arrives we'll do all we can to turn it around as fast as possible. At this point we expect to start boarding in about 30 minutes.

What You Can Do Now

See? There was no need to rush after all. You definitely had enough time to buy the security guy with the soft hands a drink, like you joked about. That dude was taking some serious liberties. He was right up in there. Like he was kneading bread.


Face like iron, hands like silk.

You could be like these sheep sitting here moaning about how they'll be late, or you could use this opportunity to do some shopping. Your wife may be expecting something -- given that you've been gone for over a week, and because she was less than impressed by that half eaten bag of wine gums you "got for her" on your last trip. You should definitely hit up the duty free store and get her ... uh ... what do they have at duty free stores? Boxes of chocolate the size of the ones stereos come in. Bottled odors. Leather goods. Sure. Go pick her up some of those leather goods that she loves so much. What says "Thinking of you" more than a red snakeskin passport organizer?


Bulk liquor?

Delay #4 : Time For Supper

Attention all passengers waiting for flight LP236 to Chicago, it looks like we've got another delay here. There is a mechanical issue with the plane. Our maintenance crew is working on it now, but it's going to take some time to get this sorted out. Our best estimate is that this will take another hour.

What You Can Do Now

You should probably be glad they're not compromising your safety. Sit quietly and nod. This is an entirely appropriate delay, and you applaud and salute their airplane-related perfectionism.


Aircraft Mechanics: Sober 74 percent of the time.

Not like those other babies at the gate. Like that chubby dude there with the glasses. It looks like he's about to cry. No one wants to be in Chicago that badly. Could he miss his family that much? Or more likely, miss his MMORPG that much?

This delay means that you're probably not going to get home until something like midnight. You should eat. Remember the last time you tried to go eight hours on nothing but airplane candy and had to take a day off work? Constipation Related Absence does not look good on the old timesheet. So yeah, use this time to your advantage and get a nice hot meal. See if you can find the mandatory "Irish pub" that's in every damned airport. It will be called Flighty O'Leary's or something. There you can have the extremely Irish sounding Cajun chicken sandwich. Just like mom used to make when she had flight delays.


Everything on this plate has been dead since the Carter administration.

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Delay #3 : Me Time

Attention all passengers waiting for flight LP236 to Chicago. The mechanical issues on your plane cannot be repaired, so it looks like we need to bring around a new plane. The good news is we do have one in the hangar, so we're going to wheel it over and get it ready for you. It looks like it's going to be at least another hour now folks. We apologize for the inconvenience.

What You Can Do Now

This is starting to get ridiculous. But you're not going to be like that ginger-haired jerk there, pacing back and forth, ranting at the gate agent. Calm down, guy. Yes I'm sure you could run a better airline yourself. I've heard that's a quality many crazy hotheads possess.


Take Richard "crashed a balloon into the Pacific Ocean" Branson, for instance.

You know what this is? This isn't an inconvenience. This is quality "Me Time." No work, no family -- for an hour you have no responsibilities at all! You love flight delays! And you are going to rock the hell out of this flight delay at the bar! This is your time! Time to spend drinking $9 beers! Time for sports highlights with the TV sound off! Time for banal conversations with strangers! "Where you going pal? Chicago? Ha, me too. Boy these airlines are idiots, am I right? Weather? I hardly knew her!"

Delay #2 : Exploring

Attention all passengers waiting for flight LP236 to Chicago, we apologize, but it looks like there is going to be another delay. Your plane is here and ready, but due to FAA rest regulations, your flight crew is no longer available to fly. It's going to take a little while to get another flight crew ready for you. We're looking at probably another couple hours folks.


"Hey Jimmy? One of the stewardesses just broke up with her boyfriend and ... well, we're gonna need about two hours and all the whipped cream you can rustle up."

What You Can Do Now

Oh come the hell on. Is this their first time running an airline? It's just a bunch of summer interns running around playing freeze tag back there, isn't it? Their board meetings consist of a monkey, alone in a room, wearing a little pilot hat, dismantling office furniture and throwing it at a whiteboard, while the rest of them sits around taking notes and ducking. Come on people.

You can't go to Flighty O'Leary's again because it's closing. Besides, that Cajun chicken sandwich is not sitting right. It was awfully gamy, and every time the word "chicken" appeared on the menu, there was asterisk next to it. Maybe you shouldn't think about that so much.


There are a lot less old people sitting around the terminal than there were a couple hours ago.

You could wander around a bit. Yeah, stretch your legs. Airports are full of awesome things, liken... moving walkways. There's probably a bunch of things you can do with this. You could run in place. Or pretend to paddle a canoe. Or pretend to ride your suitcase like a horse. Maybe see if anyone wants to race you.

Oh look, some planes. Remember when those were the most incredible things in the world? Now look at them. They suck. They all have the same streamlined designs and boring corporate paint jobs. They need to jazz these things up somehow. Like a spoiler or something.


Maybe stick a Tesla coil on top and advertise in-flight light shows?

And now you're back at your gate. Wow, things have degenerated here. Garbage strewn about the place. People sprawled on benches, in various states of undress. Is that a cooking fire? There's nothing like a five hour flight delay to bring out the worst in people. That jerk from before is talking to the gate agent. He's probably trying to sweet talk his way onto another flight, like he thinks he's so much more important than everyone else. He's certainly not more important than you. Or that chubby guy. The chubby guy is at least wearing a suit. And his weight would be seen as a sign of prosperity in many agrarian cultures.

You might as well just sit here and read. Someone's swept up a pile of discarded Dragon Lady Tattoo books over there for kindling. You can grab one of those and kick back until they finally board.

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Delay #1 : People Watching

Attention all passengers waiting for flight LP236 to Chicago. The replacement flight crew has arrived, and has checked out the plane, and it looks like there are mechanical problems with this one as well. So, we're going to bring in another plane. It's actually your original plane. It turns out there was nothing wrong with it. Ha ha. Anyways, we hope to have you up and in the air in another two hours.

What You Can Do Now

You are conceptually upset at this, but more than anything else, you're just resigned. C'est la vie. But the same cannot be said for your fellow passengers, who have gone absolutely bananas. The gate agent has actually fled in terror. And where did that little jerk get the spear from? Did he strip a decorative plant down and file it into a spear? That's actually pretty ingenious. He's now convinced a band of passengers to storm the first class lounge. The chubby guy with the glasses is trying to stop them, but, oooooooooh. Gross. Unless he's got some mithril mail on under that rumpled suit, he's not getting up from that.


In the event of a riot, old people make excellent improvised shields.

You should probably just hang back over there, tucked behind the shoeshine stand for a bit. Wait for this to blow over. Because now there's a pack of them hunting that guy who drives around the terminal in the golf cart. This is probably a good time as any to slip out of here and find a hotel. You can probably expense it. "Fleeing Feral Airport Brethren" has to be a justifiable expense.


Although avoiding a layover in Philly isn't, so who knows.

But they've seen you! Run! Quickly! Push over that neck pillow kiosk to slow them down! Now duck into the baby change room and lock the door!

Oh god, they've got you cornered. You can hear the clattering of their spears. Tendrils of smoke sift under the door. You're going to die in an airport washroom because of the madness all men carry within them, and because your travel agent always books you on the worst airlines.


It'd be nice to be on a plane with windows.

Sudden, abrupt silence. Open the door, cautiously. A security guard is there. He's very disappointed in everyone. Everyone goes back to the gate and sits down, a bit sheepish. You suddenly realize the security guard is the guy who treated you to a deep tissue massage hours earlier at the gate. You ask him if maybe he wants to go grab a beer, and he accepts. Surely he'll laugh appropriately hard at your brilliant "Weather, hardly knew her" joke.

For more silver linings, stop by The Lighter Side of Dark.

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