Prepped to spend the night at airport?

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Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by FlashDaddy » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:07 pm

Been reading about the 1,100 travelers stranded at an airport. ... ea517.html (yeah, Radar O’Reilly and I get the news from Ottumwa) The airport was handing out diapers, formula, water, blankets, etc.

I rarely travel by air but if I did I’d have most of my usual stuff in my backpack: deck of playing cards, snacks/MRE, water, toiletries, facial tissues, OTC meds, my Rx med, mophie cell charger, cell cord, portable solar charger, extra cash, inflatable pillow and sleeping pad, book, and emergency bivy. What else do you all carry, or wish you had, in such a forced sleepover?
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by woodsghost » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:56 pm

Last time I overnighted in an airport I also had a ferro rod and piece of steel, in addition to clothes, electronics, and a water bottle. I didn't need the ferro rod, but I was glad to have it. You never know when you might need to do some wilderness survival.
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by raptor » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:03 pm

I once had the misfortune to be snowed in at the Chicago O'hare airport for 18 hours. It was miserable and cold. I went hungry until the next morning when a flight was finally cleared out.
I would have gladly paid for a hotel but one could not be accessed due to the blizzard.

There was no food, the restaurants could not get any and they could not open. The people were surly and all in all it the point I will not fly through Chicago even today.

If you get stranded:
1.) Have a travel buddy. You can take turns sleeping and watching the bags.
2.) Always travel with a carry on bag that has at least 2 clothing changes, RX and any other items that you need for 48 hours. This works also when the airline loses your bag.
3.) Try and get a hotel or into the airline travel lounges. They typically allow you pay for admission if you do not have access through a FF plan. In an emergency ask for a discounted admission. The odds are the answer will be no but you never know.
4.) Be patient and polite with airline personnel. These folks can have remarkable authority to help you (or penalize you). They may not be able to do anything in which case being a jerk to them will not help anyway.
5.)Keep your options open. Once I was stuck in Houston (5 hours drive from NOLA.) by thunderstorms and was facing an overnight hotel stay. I rented a car and drive the 5 hours home. The one way rental was only about 10% more expensive than the hotel room never mind the meal and hassle of an early AM flight out.
6.) Finally plan ahead. Leave early in the AM on direct flights. The later the flight is in the day the higher the probability of flight delays being compounded. Also if the early flight is delayed you have more options for connections and alternatives. I hate zero dark 30 flights but if you fly commercial that is the time to go.

BTW I fly private a lot. They also get delayed and run into issues.

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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by darmstrong » Sun Dec 01, 2019 11:57 am

I spent a night in Denver due to a storm that caused thousands to be stuck. Things I learned.

1. Remember to pack change of clothes in carry on. I forgot so I was pretty ripe the next day. I had toiletries but spending almost 48 hours in a pair of clothes wasn't fun.

2. Be nice to airline staff. They were incredibly helpful to me because I was polite even when talking to a manager. They weren't great to the woman in front of me who swore at them.

3. Find a quiet corner to sleep. A quick walk around the airport allowed us to find a quiet place and one quick conversation with security had them checking in regularly.

4. Have snacks and necessities. Because of the delay most shops were closing up when we finally go our bearings. I had a couple of cliff bars and a water bottle. We were good until breakfast.
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by TacAir » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:02 am

I normally Fly Alaska Airlines, the putative successor to Hughes Air Late (Air West) of yeasteryear - which is a way of saying being stuck in Seattle is an all too common 'experience'. BTW - the airline will almost always claim Force Majure .(Act of God) and tell you to pound sand...IF, and that's a big if, you are lucky, they will give you a voucher for a couple of bucks against some airport food - if anything is open. SeaTac has improved over the years and now at least a couple of places stay open 24/7. This normally requires a hike, but is within the security zone.. .


I carry serious snackage (almonds, granola bars/fruit leather) and in the winter, a small pot that will boil water for tea. The pot holds the snacks, tea and maybe a pair of socks.
The bag also has a window protector (foil backed bubble stuff) and a former 1st class blanket form the AA folks. This allows me to rack out on the floor, as the seats in Seattle/Tacoma airport are designed to not allow you to layout on the seat - all have armrests or large gaps.
So, fleece jacket on top of blanket shiny pad under. With the mat to sleep on (I know it's clean, eh?) head goes on bag and wallet in the front pocket closest to the floor. I face the wall if a spot is open.

My RON kit also holds a change of underwear, a basic shave kit (disposable razor, small bar of soap, a small section of ShamWOW for a washcloth and a microfiber towel) 'camping' toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste. .

The pot is plugged into a handy outlet and hot tea + granola bars make for a good start to a bad day.

Raptor is correct, the Alaska 1st class lounge (with eats) can be entered as a member of Club 49 (no cost to AK residents IIRC) and a small fee. The chow and a chance to crash well worth the entry fee. Other airports may have the same setup.

Another out for me (as a Vet) is a USO lounge, if one exists/is open. Awesome places.

The RON kit also includes a hand held wide-band transceiver (VX05) ( ... 5spec.html) - good for monitoring local hams, airport tower traffic, AM/FM broadcasts and so on. I always carry the AA battery pack in case the NiCads go dead. AA can be had world wide, so a good choice. Tucked into the radio carry holster is a paper with airport frequencies and local ham repeaters for the airports/areas I will fly into/thru. See for major US city data sets. WARNING with P-25 and encryption, much of what is out there cannot be heard on a common ham HT.

This is normal for me, but it really got driven home as I just missed being at SeaTAc during the big quake a couple of years back. Not knowing what was going on would have sucked big time.

I also carry a fero rod, FAK, 1 liter SS water bottle (Klean Kanteen) w/nesting cup, chlorine dioxide tabs, a pair of large bandanas and a mylar sheet - this if I have to leave the A/O.

Up to now, none of this has gotten a second look by the weenies @ TSA. On my last trip a couple of months ago, the ferro rod had the TSA good puzzled, but after a short delay (I stayed silent) I got my swag back and was on my way. Normally they go right for the ham gear - and I carry a copy of my license in the wallet. The few times I've carried a full HF station (MFJ-9200) with tuner/battery pack I've not had an issue.

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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by RoneKiln » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:54 am

As I don't have kids, I don't need much to crash somewhere a night.

I used to fly way too much in my previous life. My primary coat was a trench coat. It worked good for a blanket and still looked professional after taking heavy abuse. I kept a change of clothes in my carry-on. In fact, my carry-on usually had everything I was taking except the tool kit. I never tried it, but I'm betting security would have had issue with me bringing power tools through security.

Most my times stuck overnight started before the stores closed up, and most airports sell both books and alcohol. An evening with a Terry Pratchet book and a bottle of whiskey isn't too bad anywhere that's warm and dry.
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by Stercutus » Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:46 pm

Let's see.
1- A credit card
2- Hotel club membership that guarantees you a room (somewhere, anywhere)
3- Travel Insurance

My days of sleeping at the airport are behind me. If all else fails I will pull out the Ret-mil card and head over to the USO.
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by raptor » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:12 pm

RoneKiln wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:54 am
My primary coat was a trench coat. It worked good for a blanket and still looked professional after taking heavy abuse. I kept a change of clothes in my carry-on. In fact, my carry-on usually had everything I was taking except the tool kit.
This is the way to travel. I too prefer a trench coat in the winter for exactly that reason. When I fly commercial I pack 3 days of clothing into a carry on bag and check nothing through. Those 3 days of clothes can last two weeks if I include 2 rolls of quarters for the washer/dryer found in hotels.

Why do hotels still require freaking quarters and then not have change at the front desk?!! :?

A quick bit of advice for hotel owners sell a DIY laundry for $10 (2 tokens for the washer and dryer & a container of laundry soap in a freaking bagee = total cost of $2 and 4x profit).

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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by RonnyRonin » Thu Dec 05, 2019 10:02 pm

Usually I do carry-on only, and I've started taking a neoair and a costco down blanket (mostly in case a hotel bed or guest bed doesn't agree with my back) in addition to my usual paranoid GHB gear. I'm very much considering cutting my neoair down to a 3/4 pad since I use it so rarely and in a public space I'd want to sleep with my pack under my legs anyway.

Modern clothing has largely eliminated my need for spare clothing on the short trips I do, but I usually have at least something in case of emergencies. A travel pillow is probably the thing I forget most often, but I've used boots or packs often enough its not a glaring hole.

I'm pretty limited on data and media on my phone, so honestly getting bored if I finish my book to early is the biggest risk.
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by taipan821 » Thu Dec 05, 2019 11:28 pm

Recently I was traveling by air for a deployment to fight fires, carrier lost my personal luggage and all my safety gear. A story full of adventure and the 7 stages of grief!

I always take an airline emergency overnight pack (normally a set of pjs and toiletries) along with a change of socks/jocks, some snacks and bars. My issue is not normally having to overnight at the airport, but nonetheless it pays to be prepared for any outcome involving someone else and transport.
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Re: Prepped to spend the night at airport?

Post by Towanda » Sat Dec 28, 2019 6:32 pm

I don't fly much anymore. When I do, I include spare socks, undies, bra, and basic hygiene supplies in my carry-on. Defense Soap peppermint wipes are great for freshening up when a shower is not available, so next time I fly I'll toss some in a ziploc and bring them as well. I also bring a few Clif bars, a water bottle, a travel mug, at least one book, and maybe some cards or a miniature board game.
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