In case you haven’t read a newspaper in the last few days, or seen the news, or spoken to a displaced friend or relative sleeping on a cot inside an airport terminal in a strange city next to an even stranger stranger, things are a mess. American Airlines cancelled 595 MORE flights today. CNN.com is reporting that passengers on those cancelled flights may not even receive a refund. All I can say is yikes. Thank god I’m not an agent at American. Luckily I’m not flying (but then who IS flying?) until the 25th. So what do you do if you find yourself trapped at the airport? I’ve got a few ideas…

1. People watch. Better yet, get to know one of the people you’ve been watching. Then, if you’re feeling kinda ballsy, go for it! Get a date. Seriously, what better place to meet the person of your dreams than at the airport. Walk around, linger at the gate, and when you find that perfect someone, use the flight cancellation as an ice breaker, and then head on over to the food court for a coffee date. Take it a step further and try speed dating.

2. Eat. Don’t you know that calories don’t count at the airport. What do you mean there’s no place to sit? Have a picnic. Find a place on the floor and enjoy. Make it romantic by bringing along a date, the one you picked up at the gate.

3. Call your mother. You’ve FINALLY got the time. Or better yet, call someone else’s mother, like my mother. Why not go through your entire phone list and call every single person you know. Make a few prank calls while you’re at it. Feel funny calling a certain someone, delete that number! Seriously, it’s time.

4. Read. Buy a magazine (Or two. Or three) and catch up on celebrity gossip, new recipes, ways to organize your life, the latest international news, or what about discovering something entirely new? Or how about a book? May I suggest Eat Pray Love? Not only will it pass the time, it may even inspire you to change your life. Pillars of the Earth is not only a good read, but a long one, which will keep you busy for days and days and days, and let’s face it, it could be days until you’re finally out of there, so go ahead, prop those feet up on the luggage and get lost in a book.

5. Just buy it already! That pricey electronic device you’ve always wanted, but weren’t quite sure if it was really worth it. You know exactly what I’m talking about – those Bose noise cancellation headsets (so you don’t have to talk to the one lingering around the gate, checking you out), or an electronic book reader like the Kindle (so you don’t have to buy all those magazines and that big heavy book), or how about the ipod that plays movies (so you can stop looking over your neighbor’s shoulder). I mean don’t you wish you had it now? There’s a Brookstone, I’m sure, just around the corner.

6. Get your shoes shined. It’ll not only make you look better, but it will also make you feel better.

7. Be a perv. Get frisked. A couple times. Go back and forth through security and when they look at you funny, grin mischievously, and say they missed a spot.

8. When someone is paged over the airport intercom, drop everything, put your hands over you ears, and cry out, “I’m hearing voices again!” Or try pretending you’re the someone they paged, every single time someone is paged. See if they notice.

9. Bother the Agent. Get up and mimic the agent when he/she makes an announcement. Constantly ask “When are we going to leave? Can’t we just get a new airplane?” Make sure to use the word ridiculous when asking a question.

10. Play a game. How about what’s in your bag? Try and guess what people pack. Winner gets a free snack at the food court.

11. Work Out. Use the moving sidewalk like a treadmill, or the escalator as a stair stepper. Put on your shorts, wear a sweatband, and listen to your ipod. No shorts? Go borrow some. Rifle through a couple of those bags nearby . No ipod? Go back and read number 5!

12. Bored? See if you can steal your neighbor’s food when they’re not looking. Bonus points if you can snag their drink too.

13. Take a ride. Find a wheelchair and get rolling. Wrap a luggage tag around your arm and ride the baggage claim conveyor belt for a few minutes, then have your travel companion arrive with a luggage cart, pick you up, load you on, and roll you away. Don’t come back. Take the bus.

14. Get to know the bartender. REAL WELL.

15. Stare blankly into space. See how long you can go without blinking. Have a staring contest with your neighbor. Don’t tell the neighbor. Practice breathing. Swallowing. Sleeping.

16. Plan Your Life. Get out a notebook and make lists of things you want to do. Or not do. Add travel to your list of what not to do.

17. Hug a flight attendant. Why? Because they’ve been wearing the same damn polyester uniform for days, they’re not getting paid, they didn’t do it, they don’t know anything you don’t, and they’ve already heard it, several times – that story about your worst flight. So if you see one sitting around the terminal, don’t be scared, give em a big fat hug. Hey, we need love too.


  1. 18. I like making up fake news stories and posting them on the news wire!

    All Airlines Shutting Down

    CNN [14:54 EDT]

    In a day sure to go down as the darkest in US airline history, all remaining US airlines with the exception of Southwest, have filed for bankruptcy and have ceased operations.

    Citing high fuel prices, increased FAA scrutiny resulting from the Southwest scandal, a tight capital market, and excessive pilot salaries, leaders of the nation’s airlines expressed their regret to those passengers who may be inconvenienced.

    Government law makers said, “Ah ha, see, now you can’t blame us for incompetently regulating this deregulated market. At least we promoted competition.” Presidential hopeful John McCain said, “You know what the sad thing is? Many of these pilots were in the military and swore to defend our country’s values. Now, they are selfishly putting their own welfare ahead of the country by refusing to fly for free.”

    Various CEOs of the nation’s largest airlines said they just didn’t have enough pricing power to raise fares another ten bucks, which would have prevented all this, according to sources close to the situation. “If we all raised fares even a little, our bookings would have fallen to zero as every single passenger in the US would then fly on Southwest…..which makes up just over 10% of domestic capacity,” said Doug Parker, US Airways CEO, in a live interview from the Betty Ford Clinic.

    Travelers are urged to contact their credit card companies for ticket refunds.

  2. 19. Tease one of those little stupid dogs that idiots insist on bringing on the plane–then just hope that the crate (and its owner) aren’t sitting next to you.

  3. 20) It depends on the options and opportunities, but . . .

    find a compelling woman who might be relationship caliber. Go through the number of requisite dates for her to sleep with you all in the same trip to the airport. For example, if it’s seven dates:

    1) Have a cup coffee with her (pace yourself because you will have 6 more of these in a short period of a few hours)
    2) Have a meal with her (choose an entrée that requires the use of utensils because it’s not attractive on a second date to drool grease and cheese on your shirt)
    3) Have a drink at a bar with her (but don’t get hammered because you may need perform later and it’s never cool to seduce an inebriated woman because that’s just low-hanging fruit that any loser can pick)
    4) Borrow/steal a cart (the ones they use for disabled and elderly passengers) and take her for a scenic ride through the airport (remember to earn points by empowering her and asking her to take a turn driving, too)
    5)Take her shopping (but buy something, too, so it doesn’t seem as if you’re only going shopping with her for ulterior motives)
    6) Watch The Terminal with her on your laptop and cheer wildly when Viktor Nagurski gets to leave the terminal (crying is another method to earn points, but keep that to yourself)
    7)Take her for ice cream (make it seem as if you really wanted the ice cream and let her know that she’s looking rather thin)
    8)Get a room if the airport has a hotel on site, rent a limo for a few hours or be creative in the parking lot

    Or, find less dignified women. Undertake activities 1-7 listed above with seven different women. Walk around the airport to find the one(s) you liked the most among the seven and undertake step 8.

    Or, use your intuition and pheromones to identify a woman who is feeling what your feeling: let’s have sex purely to pass time and combat boredom.

    21) Buy a deck of cards from the gift shop and start a game of poker. You might as well make some money while you’re passing time.

    22) See how many days you can get by with using a press-reported transit delay as a fake excuse. Co-workers have asked me every day since Tuesday whether I’ve been affected by the maintenance isues. I haven’t been, but it was a great opportunity to take advantage of pity and say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve been at the airport four consecutive days just trying to get home. I’m really home-sick and it’s so uncomfortable at the airport. But it’s all part of the job so I won’t complain. What was that? What’s that “bells and horns” cacophony in the background? A college kid sitting next to me is playing blackjack on his computer with the volume up too loud. What’s that “waves crashing” noise? Oh, the lady next to me is meditating to a musical CD of the ocean to calm her. I told ‘ya, it’s pretty horrible at the airport. Come again? Why is a lady moaning and screaming my name is escalating tones? As I told you, it’s a zoo here. A lady’s giving birth at this very moment, and the mid-wife or father and must have the same name as I do. Well, I my battery is dying and I should really go stand the 500-yard long line again to see whether they can find me a flight out of here. As I said, the battery is dying in case you find it difficult to reach me.”

    23) Find a seat, get comfortable and suck it up. Terminals can be overcrowded in no-fly conditions. If you’re lucky enough to find a comfortable seat in an airport lounge or bar, give the bar-keeper your credit card to run a tab, get cozy and remember that it’s better than being a sitting duck in transit in a helo or in a Humvee in Iraq or sucking in dust and sand for hours on end waiting to light up a target. Airport delays do suck because the inability to know your departure time with any certainty makes time stand still.

  4. Very clever! I especially liked the “hug a flight attendant comment!” Seriously, don’t do it, people.

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