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Travel Etiquette: How to Use a Flight Delay to Your Advantage

No one wants to spend any more time in an airport than necessary. But, if you find yourself waiting for a delayed flight, there are ways to maximize your unscheduled downtime.
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No one wants to spend any more time in an airport than necessary. But, if you find yourself waiting for a delayed flight, there are ways to maximize your unscheduled downtime.

Here are eight tips to make the most of your next airport delay, along with a few things to steer clear of during your hiatus:

  1. Go Exploring. If you have an extensive layover, consider a brief sightseeing excursion. This especially makes sense in cities with good public transportation options. Allow plenty of time to get back through security, and keep in mind that your adventure may cost you earlier flight opportunities to your destination. In the world of standby travel, you must be present to win.
  2. Visit The Bar. Sampling a couple of different wines and ordering an appetizer may be a welcome respite. Depending on the airport, you may be able to find a great spot to have a glass of wine and some delicious snacks; everything from sushi to truffled mac and cheese. With a little research, you can locate a bustling bar or a quiet table to relax while waiting. Check out the FlyInStyle app from iTunes.
  3. Take A Stroll Through Duty-Free. While duty-free is not synonymous with discount, you will discover some interesting choices of liquor, high-end cosmetics, chocolates, travel bags and various luxury items. It's up to you to decide if it's worth the expense.
  4. Pack A Portable Charging Device. Invest in a pocket-sized model (they can be found for as little as $30) and keep it in your purse or briefcase. You may be lucky enough to find a vacant charging station, but it's clearly a risk. Knowing you have a full charge on your cell phone is reassuring when you need to rely on it for airline updates and last minute meeting changes.
  5. Catch Up On Work. Use your extra hours to get ahead. If you are outbound, prepare for the upcoming meeting or investigate places to eat or visit when you arrive. If you are coming back from a training conference, type up your notes to share with coworkers. Check your inbox and respond to messages that have piled up during your absence.
  6. Get Ahead On Gift Giving. You will come across some unique items, particularly at larger airports where you can locate artisan spices, gourmet popcorn, and an assortment of shot glasses and snow globes. There is something for everyone on your list.
  7. Read. Catch up on posts from your favorite bloggers or indulge in a book or magazine you wouldn't normally buy. An hour or two of reading can be a great distraction.
  8. Play A Game. One of the few benefits of flight delays is having precious free time forced upon you. Watch a movie or episodes of a popular TV show, or learn that new game your kids always talk about. Enjoy the chance to indulge in mindless, guilt-free, fun.
While you can use your delay as you wish, etiquette calls for a certain amount of restraint. Avoid these layover faux pas:
  1. Don't Become Irate With The Airline Staff. It's not their fault your flight is late, and you are not the only inconvenienced passenger. Remember they are your ticket to the next available flight, so do the right thing and remain calm and polite.
  2. Don't Sleep On The Floor. If you are trapped in the airport for more than 24 hours, you might get a pass on this tip. But, as a rule, try to make yourself comfortable without resorting to sleeping where other people walk.
  3. Don't Take Off Your Shoes Anywhere But In The Security Line. You wouldn't want to be subjected to anyone else's travel-weary feet, so don't expose yours to those around you. Ladies, this is another reason to always travel with a comfortable pair of slip on shoes in your carry-on.

For more of Diane's business etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.