“Moral of the story?” she asks. “Pack snacks and drinks. Just because you’re stuck in an airport doesn’t mean that there’s food. Be patient. And have cash for vending machines, if you’re lucky enough to find them.”
For most experienced passengers, that’s already baked into the travel planning cake. Anthony Lepore, a Washington lawyer and a frequent flier, says that he never leaves home without the three “Ps”: protein-rich foods such as walnuts or granola bars, extra power for his devices and patience.
“I travel enough to know alternate scenarios available and to have access to the phone numbers of the people I’ll need to reach to re-book my flight, if necessary,” he says. “It helps me avoid the special-service lines.”
And when all else fails, travelers such as Anne Levy say that you should learn to take everything in stride. “Make the best of it,” advises the retired university teacher, who lives in Brighton, Mich. She recalls a catering strike on British Airways a few years ago. When she checked in for her flight from London to Minneapolis, a gate agent handed her a voucher for 100 pounds and told her to buy food for the eight-hour flight.
“We had about 30 minutes to race around buying sandwiches, cookies, cakes and candy,” she remembers. “Any money left on the voucher would be useless, so we really loaded up as much as we could carry. I do recall that Cadbury made a mint on that shopping trip.”
Ah, chocolate. Perhaps the single greatest coping strategy known to travelers.
It’s too soon to tell whether and when air travelers will be affected by the sequester. It probably won’t happen this month. My Southwest Airlines flight from Orlando to Denver the day after the sequester went into effect departed on time, and we experienced no delays at the TSA screening area.
That could change in April, when the anticipated cuts will be in full swing. But if a deal is reached, it may never happen. More reassuring, perhaps, is that most travelers — those traveling by car — won’t see any significant change in the way they get to their destination.
For the rest of us, a little planning and preparation will get us through. And if that fails, there’s always chocolate.
E-mail Christopher Elliott at firstname.lastname@example.org.