The Only Perk to a Delayed Flight

We have ALL experienced it. You enter the airport, check in, get your tickets, hand over your luggage, pay whatever fees there are, stand in the security line, inevitably get strip searched, and finally you are in. You walk up to the flight board, just to make sure that your flight is on time, and NO!!! There it is: Flight 0238 to Orlando, FL is delayed.

Well that is exactly what happened to me this past weekend. I was staying in Washington D.C. during a heat wave where the heat index was 120 degrees Fahrenheit. My flight was scheduled to depart from the Reagan International Airport at 10:05pm. So, to be safe, I arrived at the airport at 8:30pm, to give myself ample time to get through security and to my gate. I checked in, checked my luggage, got my tickets, and arrived at security, which was completely empty and the TSA officials were sitting down waiting for people to come through the lines. I breezed through security and headed to my gate 35A. Everything was going very well.


I went to a newsstand, purchased a few magazines and some gum and filled up my Camelbak water bottle, and went to my gate. On the way there I passed by a flight board. Why not check it? So, I did. And what did I see?

Flight #### to Rochester, NY departure time 10:05 DELAYED. Estimated departure time: 11:22. Great.

I sat down at 35A and look around to see that I was not the only disgruntled flyer. A group of men sitting across from me were having a conversation about their flight to Greenville, SC. Apparently, the three men had been in the airport since 5:30 since their flight was supposed to have departed at 7:35pm. At that time, it was 9:23pm.

So by this point, you might be wondering, what is the perk of all of this? Well, I would have to say that I always end up meeting and talking to really great people when my flights get delayed. The Greenville Crew, as I have dubbed them, ended up spending 6 hours together at that gate. Two men discovered that they worked for the same company and had friends in common, even though one lived in Phoenix, AZ and the other in Richmond, VA.

Whenever a flight is delayed, a sense of camaraderie is formed between the passengers. Everyone who was supposed to be on that flight band together to start trash talking the airline and the plane crew and create a bond between each other. After the booing is over, people begin to talk to each other. I always enjoy watching a developing airport relationship when I am waiting at a gate. This is the general flow of the conversation:

A: “Oh man, our flight is delayed! Can you believe that?”
B: “Jeez I always hate when that happens. I feel like its always the crew’s fault!”
A: “I agree! Why are airlines so awful to their customers?”
B: “I know! And whats up with all of those fees? Where do they even come from?”
(A few minutes pass…)
B: “So why are you headed to (destination)?”
A: “Family wedding. You?”

And so the conversation goes from there, and by the time these two end up boarding their flight, they each know what the other person does for a living, where they live, where they went to college, if they are married and have kids, and other random bits of information.

While sitting at 35A, I learned that the man sitting across from me grew up in Rochester, NY and that his father worked for the same company that my mother did. He even grew up near my high school. Once learning that, we started talking about Washington DC and our experiences there and finished our conversation laughing about the winters in Rochester compared to DC.

Two women a few chairs down from us were talking about DC and ended up  realizing that they went to the same college and had friends in common.

There is an ABC Family original movie that plays during “25 Days of Christmas” called Picking Up & Dropping Off.

The story follows a divorced father and a divorced mother that meet up all the time at the Denver airport whenever they are dropping off their kids. Not to spoil it, but they fall in love with each other by the end of the movie. I always wonder, when I see people chatting at the airport, if maybe they will end up forming some sort of connection and falling in love, and maybe getting married some day. But, who knows?

The people trying to get to Greenville that I mentioned earlier, they boarded their flight at 11:47pm and probably got to South Caroling around 1:30am. I boarded my flight at 11:56pm and got home at 2am. Long day.

All I am saying is that a delayed flight is not all bad. You can end up meeting some interesting people and hey! maybe you will hit it off with someone. So next time your flight is delayed, strike up a conversation with someone next to you and see what happens. You will probably end up with something in common or a good story to tell the folks at home.

Happy Travels!

To check to see if your flight is on time before you get to the airport, just log on to your airline’s website and type in your flight number and information.