Family Travel

Enjoy the Airport – Even If Your Plans Go To Sh*t

How do YOU enjoy the airport, even when your travel plans go to SHIT?

We’ve all been there. At the airport, hours early for your flight as you are being good little travellers and following the airline guidelines. Then WHAM! – delays, cancellations, rebookings and hours of waiting.


JW, Dottie and I were returning from our recent vacation. Here we were, in front of a nice staff person who had been so sweetly confused by our luggage because it included three free dive gear bags… she had FINALLY figured it out and BOOM – her computer froze. Everything to do with the airline FROZE!!! The whole world of Air Canada over the whole… well… over the whole world… was DOWN. What What?


Here’s where I get cheesy – hubby and I love each other most when in crisis. We are able to see the silver linings in situations (for the most part, no one is perfect lol). We had so many reasons to be thankful at the airport. We were in pole position for when the computers came back on… first in line for rebookings and baggage check. Had we been processed even 10 minutes earlier, we would have been on the other side of security in the customer service line waiting to be rebooked. Or even worst, ON A PLANE for hours with our toddler! YIKES! Had we been told we would be delayed six hours, we may have considered going into Downtown Toronto and staying overnight. Instead, we kept getting delayed 2 hours, then 2 more, then 2 more, then 2 on the plane… 2 hours is JUST enough time to think, sure, we got this! No problem! Had we rescheduled for the following day, we may have been delayed for days!


Here’s what we get up to at airports to entertain ourselves.

Truth be known, we kinda love hanging out at airports!


  • EAT! We had easy access food and water while we waited almost three hours to get checked-in. I know this sounds basic, but it’s not always that easy when you are in line… especially if you’re by yourself! We enjoyed a nice chicken shwarma lunch at our counter while patiently waiting. Air Canada got an airline cart and was giving drinks and snacks to those behind us in line. I thought that was nice.


  • Exercise/Walk. JW was able to move freely through the airport with Dottie to soothe her to sleep in her stroller or let her run around. He isn’t one to stand around, so it was nice that he was often able to wander off fetching drinks and food. Our friend Chris had a lot of time between flights recently and walked almost 10km. On purpose. True story!


  • Talk to strangers. We had the NICEST guy as our line buddy. His name is Jay and he was returning from Chile to travel to Vancouver to see his fiancé. Jay is originally from Texas and one of 9 kids! He plays pro basketball and I’m positive we’ll see him in the NBA soon. Jay was an absolute pleasure to hang out with while JW was wandering the airport with Dot. We’re now connected through social media and I can’t wait to see his wedding pics in August.


  • TV/Movies. We fully charged our electronics prior to going to the airport, so when Dot was restless we put on her favourite Netflix shows. We discovered ‘Bo on the Go’ on Netflix, which we were surprised to see is made in Halifax. Dottie thinks Dezzy the dragon is HILARIOUS, giggling often. I pray that we didn’t turn her brain to mush this trip with too much TV, but you gotta do what you gotta do!


  • Chase a toddler! Thank goodness Dottie was walking this trip. Trying to find somewhere for her to crawl around would have been tough. Well, not tough… just gross. She loved running around and meeting people while we tried to protect her from getting run over by people or the airport carts. LOL


  • Shop. There’s always great shopping in airports! This time, I was able to find a GREAT trenchcoat for spring! That certainly raised my spirits after five-plus hours of waiting around. We also got chocolate and candy at a fun candy store. I’ve bought Brooks Brothers dresses at the Reagan Airport and my favourite spot to get leather gloves for winter every year is at Heathrow.


  • Get pampered. Treat yourself to a massage or a mani/pedi. Not all airports have these amenities, but many do. The Toronto Pearson DID have both. We didn’t take advantage because we kept thinking our flight was soon… then would be delayed another 2 hours… Now I wish that I had gotten a massage. Especially before my flight where I held a heavy sleeping toddler for 2 hrs. We had a little bit of time in between flights in Montreal recently. JW and I agreed I would have some me time while there. I had a nice glass of wine while reading then got a massage. It was HEAVEN!


  • Drink. I’ll admit, I was first so relieved to be through the computer glitch and rebooked, I indulged in a couple tasty cold brews. The news that we were going to be delayed two hours kinda ruined my mild buzz. What can ya do? *wink*


  • Read. I used to loooooove reading while travelling. I could zip through a whole book in half a trip while sitting around an airport and then while chillin’ on a plane. In the future, I hope to be able to relax travelling with a book, but for now Dottie needs me or her cuteness distracts me. JW is pretty good at getting through his reading material though, which I don’t begrudge him at all. Ok. Maybe just a wee bit. *eye roll*


  • Talk to more strangers! We were delayed several times, so we had yet another meal in the airport. Seating was limited; we shared a table. First, with a lovely fella from Ireland on his way to Calgary for business and maybe just a bit of Saint Patrick’s day shenanigans. Then another gentleman joined us from PEI on his way to Victoria to see his rockstar daughter. Each had interesting tales to tell and we enjoyed them thoroughly.


  • Stay Kind. The BEST thing to do when waiting at an airport is to stay kind. Be kind to yourself, the loved ones you may be travelling with, to fellow travellers and… this one can be tough… to airline and airport staff. As parents of a toddler, it can be easy to bicker about childcare or be impatient with your little one. Treat each other to pockets of free time to nap, relax or indulge in any of the other activities above.


Good luck travellers!


Tell us some of your best travel stories of overcoming hellish airport conditions! What did YOU get up to?

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