You and your family have arrived at the airport within good time, you have cleared security… only to hear the dreaded words: “We regret to announce that Flight xyz is delayed. Please listen for further announcements. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.” A delayed flight is a worst nightmare for many holidaymakers but (assuming you didn’t book a relaxing airport lounge to pass the time in) it becomes a sad reality for many.
So, what do you do? You can make contingency plans. Take some paperback books for yourself and any other adults in your group. Also e-book readers and tablets might be useful. Depending on airport security. You can also take some comics and some puzzle books and the like for any younger members of the group. These will also be available at branches of W H Smith, etc., within the airport.
If there are any restaurants like Wetherspoons available you will find colouring kits may well be given out with children’s meals so have a drink and a meal and take the colouring pencils and colour in picture with you.
Airports are very busy places so there will always be something to see. So a game of I Spy -perhaps with spot prizes- will be able to occupy quite a good deal of time.
But you are not on your own. Many airports are aware that sometimes things can go wrong which can delay flights with families eager to go on holiday or to get back home.
Heathrow Airport, for example, has dedicated play areas within the airport.
Family lounge – Terminal 3
The Family Lounge is a dedicated area for families with play areas for ages 0-2 and 3-9, a children’s quiet room, a Game Zone for children aged 10 – 15, coffee and soft drink vending, and comfortable seating for adults. There is a discreet area for nursing mothers.
The lounge is in departures, after security (near the Ted Baker store), and open from 06:00 to 21:00 – just follow signs for Lounge A.
Entry is free (though there may be a time limit during busy periods). Please ensure children are accompanied by an adult at all times.
Play areas – Terminals 1, 4 and 5
There’s plenty of pre-flight fun and entertainment for your children in our free Stay & Play areas. With slides, soft play areas and separate baby and junior zones, there’s plenty to keep your young ones entertained and exercised.
Stay & Play is suitable for children aged 0 – 9, who must be accompanied by an adult. Opening times are 06:00 to 21:00 every day.
And they helpfully point out that, should you realise you need something that you can only get from a chemist, that there are plenty of branches of Boots in the secure areas of the terminals that will be able to help you.
More information about the facilities at Heathrow can be found at http://www.heathrowairport.com/heathrow-airport-guide/services-and-facilities/family-facilities
If you are travelling from another airport, please check their website out before you travel.
Facilities and services for feeding and watering passengers subject to very long delays will be available. Keep an eye open and an ear cocked for notices and announcements.
Above all, keep calm!