As I sit here on the first day of Spring, watching it snow (yet again), it brings me back to two weeks ago and my journey to Nashville for the BAM 2015 conference. What started out as a three-hour trip (cue the Gilligan’s Island music) ended up being a thirteen hour ordeal that took me from Newark to Chicago and finally to Nashville.

The thing that makes this journey so interesting was how I used social media and technology to finally get to my destination. Armed with my trusty new Mac Book Air, my iPad Air, and my iPhone 6 (can you tell we are an Apple family), I was able to not only make travel plans, but keep everyone informed as to my whereabouts and let people follow my journey via social media.

flight-cancelled-2My day started very early in the morning, and since I had not had my morning hit of caffeine, I was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Had I been more awake, I would have noticed a Tripit alert that came in at 2:00AM telling me my flight was cancelled. So, I arrived at the airport, swiped my pre-printed boarding pass and lo and behold, MY FLIGHT WAS CANCELLED! OY! I am sure the ticket agent was prepared to be ripped a fresh one but, again, I was operating sans caffeine. So after being told my options were limited, I opted to fly out the next day and miss most of the conference.

I walked away from the counter and sat down to take in what had just happened. After a few minutes I thought, wait a second, what else do I have to do today? Why not just go on standby and take my chances? So, I marched back up to the Southwest counter and said “Put me on standby because I have to get to Nashville TODAY!” The ticket agent said “OK, but all the flights are booked and your chances are slim-to-none getting out of Newark today.” I told her I’m a betting woman and would take my chances.

Time to get my tech savvy game on!

tablet-phone-laptop-2The first thing I did when I got to the boarding area was set up my electronics and proceed to tweet, Facebook and Instagram my dilemma. Then I opened the Southwast app to see what my flight possibilities were. There were five possible flights that I could take (which according to the gate agent I didn’t have a chance in hell getting on them, but whatEVER). I didn’t make the first flight so I parked myself in a restaurant and set myself up to wait for the next flight.

More tweeting and Facebooking ensued. Everyone was following my plight. It was like “Where’s Waldo?” as I updated my social feeds.

I decided to Tweet Southwest about my situation and the first Tweet as the obligatory “sucks to be you” response. So I followed it up with another Tweet. This time they asked me for my confirmation code. Then things got a bit interesting because the next possible flight looked totally full and that was confirmed by the gate agent. I sat down preparing myself for a long wait when I hear my name called over the PA. I walk over to the gate and the agent says “you are number one on standby and it looks like you are going to get on this flight!” What the hell? Somehow, I was now in the first position and I was not about to look a gift horse in the mouth so when he handed me my new boarding pass I held it up like I just found the “Golden Ticket!”

Once in Chicago I was on my way to Nashville. I updated everyone all along the way. Thank goodness for technology, it help me turn this bad situation into something positive and a learning experience for me.

I’m a travel blogger, I wouldn’t be worth my salt if I had turned around and went home that day. I decided to turn this experience into something I could share with others who find themselves in similar situations.

Here are some tips to help you get through a flight delay or cancellation:

  • Download the app of the airline you are flying on. You can monitor flights and receive notifications from the airline.
  • Use a trip planning app like Tripit so you can receive alerts from them.
  • Follow the airline’s twitter account. They listen and want to make sure you are a happy camper.
  • Carry all your medications, toiletries, change of underwear and valuables with you just incase you have to stay over.
  • Have a positive attitude, many times delays or cancellations can’t be avoided by airlines. They have to deal with a lot of pissed off customers in situations like this. Keep calm and press on!

Do you have any tips on how to survive a trip cancelation or delay? If you do, please leave them in the comments!

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Maureen Baeck
Maureen Baeck, AKA The Travel Blonde, has a passion for travel. Ever since she was a small child she has been on-the-go traveling across the United States and internationally. Maureen lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, two Standard Poodles and a Sheltie.

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