So what to do, if you are stranded?
- Mostly, if it’s due to natural calamities, like, storm, hurricane, or snow fall, just bear in mind that, it can turn in to a disaster so act promptly.
- There are kiosks (Booths to check your booking details). Don’t forget to check, and help yourself, to re book in any of the future flights. USE THEM… DON’T WAIT..! It would be a blunder, to reject a re- booking, and wait for the staff to decide!
- Contact the airline service agents/concerned personals, ASAP, to rebook yourself if you can’t do it through kiosks.
- Very important thing, everyone would be facing a confusion. So keep on enquiring, don’t give up, till the time you get the correct information. Not only your airline service agents, but other airline agents would also help you in providing better information. Cross check it!
- Once you are amidst the unavoidable chaos, you will face extensively longish ques for even a smallest of the enquiry, information, booking; anything! Be patient, and also be wise, keep on checking the online status. Ask other friends/ relatives, located elsewhere to help you in doing so!
- Many international airports do have, free Wi-Fi, and still keep activated your international calling services.
- The airline staff can be rude, non- responsive, not helping. Which I experienced with #KLM, so be strong, and fight! It’s your right to be safe, and get accommodation, food, and their duty to provide!
- Also the important thing is airlines will have limitations, to offer, the hotel/stay coupons, and food coupons. So as I said earlier, if you can get yourself rebooked trough any of the kiosk, you would be super-lucky, to get hotel/stay accommodation, and food coupon. As you will be given the priority in providing that.
- Don’t worry about Visa for the country you are stranded in, immigration officers will help you in that. Your passport history plays a major role here, but you will be provided with the visa for 24 hrs, in any case.
- Don’t lose, your boarding passes for cancelled flight, also other important documents, else no one can help you!
- Hotels, home stays, Air-BNB everything is going to be booked in no time, so go for the first booking you get. Also don’t be selfish! Help others, form a group and book yourself in any hotel/stay. This is a cheaper solution as well. (Amsterdam was entirely booked in couple of hours!)
- Local transport will be hampered too! If at all it is still working, the rates would be sky-high. So don’t just linger on the airport, start towards your destination ASAP
- Airlines will provide basic things like water and may be some chocolate bars, or food packets, don’t expect/blame. No matter where you are travelling always carry food in your cabin bag, produce it at every security check, they will allow you to carry, and in such conditions, believe me , it feels like being in heaven, at least having food at your disposal!
- Find out any local lead, to spend a night, through your social media connects. Be shameless, ask for help. It gives you extra time to figure out what’s to be done.
- Its good habit to study weather before you visit any place, but be prepared for such disasters, with some extra clothes, protective things in your cabin bags. Don’t be overconfident about yourself as well. Protect yourself well, before heading out, because, if you are traveling alone, then being sick makes it more difficult.
- Having local currency is must. Or at least carry, master card, visa card with you.
- Carry a power bank, international charger. Once your cell phone is off, you have actually no contact with world!
- Please take care of your luggage. Keep in mind you can’t trust anyone in such situations.
- Keep on pestering the airlines, through, their customer care lines, which might put you on hold for more than 2 hours (Own experience with #klm), through social media, with hash tagging them, they will respond! Again take help of your friends, and families for the same.
- Don’t be a miser and worry about money too much, you and your safety is more important, but still spend wisely. As you won’t know, the time, till the situation can be under control!
- Most importantly don’t be panic, don’t inform too much people which will enhance the chaos. Interact with sane persons, who can actually help you, rather than just being worried. Remember that you are in a herd, and nothing can go wrong..!! You are not at all alone in the situation! Try to talk the co –travellers, gather as much information you can. Try and be relaxed, and don’t forget to enjoy the situation, whatever it may be!
I am writing this, after experiencing a huge pandemonium, at Amsterdam airport for more than 24 hrs. Finally crafting a way out for myself, reaching safely at Coventry, U.K.; though without my luggage!
Dr. Urjita kulkarni