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Here’s What You Should Do If You’re Stranded In The Airport This Summer Leave a comment

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Recently, en route to Los Angeles from a work trip in South Carolina, I found myself stranded at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, at 9:00 pm on a Sunday night. As you can imagine, this scenario wasn’t ideal for me. Let me break down exactly what happened. At 4 pm, a group of passengers was quickly shuttled into a small rickety plane in Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, eager to head to Charlotte, North Carolina, to catch our connecting flights back to our homes. However, once we got settled in our seats, several complications happened on the plane among the flight crew, and turbulent weather (watch out for those Southern summer rainstorms) when traveling caused us to be severely delayed for about four hours. 

Unfortunately, the pilot and stewardess weren’t helpful and sounded annoyed when we asked questions, so we were left up to our devices to rebook our connecting flights. Unfortunately, given that we were delayed for hours, most of us missed our second connecting flight. We wound up stranded in Charlotte without hotel vouchers, as the airline argued that there was nothing to be done on their end, given we experienced thunderous storms. Thankfully, I could get another direct flight to Los Angeles, but it wouldn’t leave until 10:00 am the next day. So, I was stranded in a strange Southern city I knew nothing about. 

As much as I tried to keep my cool during the entire ordeal, I was frustrated, scared, and anxious. I’ve never been to Charlotte, North Carolina, before, and especially not at 9:00 pm at night. While I had a girlfriend that lived in North Carolina, she was about three hours away, and it didn’t make sense to commute that far to leave the next morning. I had to think quickly, as I had two options, spend the night at the airport or try to find an affordable but decent boutique hotel to spend the night at. I ended up finding a cute hotel that was under $200 a night. The next day, with minimal delays, I boarded my flight to Los Angeles; surprisingly, it was the first time I was happy to return home. 

In hindsight, the experience could’ve been worse, but I’m here to guide you through what to do if you happen to be stranded at an airport while traveling this summer. See my tried and true tips below. 

Speak to your airport customer service immediately: 

Because I diligently contacted my airport customer service line while delayed on the plane, I could find out if any additional flights were outside of the one already rebooked. Once I found out that I would miss the last flight out to Los Angeles, I was able to grapple with my reality, figuring out what to do in Charlotte. 

Call/text your loved ones: 

It’s important to keep your tribe updated on your whereabouts; even if you are anxious and frustrated, they don’t know what’s happening and hope you safely make it to your destination. Also, your community can help you find accommodations while waiting on real-time updates. 

Make sure all your electronics are charged: 

Given that I had my portable charger and laptop fully charged, I could quickly look up the hotels in Charlotte without spending extra time at the airport. 

Know when to cut your losses: 

At some point, it’s important to accept the situation so you can start thinking of viable solutions. I knew after a while that the airline wouldn’t be much help, so I searched for accommodations in Charlotte. 



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