Have you ever experienced a flight delay?

On a recent trip to Europe we found ourselves stuck in the airport with a long flight delay ahead of us. A mild storm in the middle of the night had unexpectedly turned quite severe and had ended up putting everything at the airport back by a few hours.

With a toddler in tow you can imagine how much we looked forward to the next few hours of being confined to a large glassy space with sucky air conditioning. We had to wait HOURS to board such a stupidly short flight. But, the experience has taught us two things.

  1. From now on we will always pack our hand luggage to prepare for a flight delay. Just in case!
  2. And…we might actually might be entitled to compensation because we’ve experienced a flight delay. 

Today we’re working with airFair, a team of flight disruption specialists, to share with you our top tips on What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage To Prepare For A Flight Delay’ and also to show you how you can find out if you’re entitled to compensation if you’ve experienced a flight delay.

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage To Prepare For A Flight Delay

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage To Prepare For A Flight Delay

Nowadays when we fly we are much better prepared. No matter how short our flight, we make sure that there are some extra things packed in our hand luggage in case of a flight delay. These travel essentials can help you stay feeling fresh and can keep boredom at bay, regardless of how long you are delayed for.

1. Re-fillable bottle –

Water is your best friend during a flight delay. The air is drying out your skin and water is so important to stay replenished. You can’t take water through security but you can save on pennies by taking a re-fillable bottle with you. Every airport should have a spot to refill bottles with fresh water. If you can’t spot one, just ask the nearest airport staff where to find it.

2. Unused toys –

For a parent, an unused toy is probably the most useful thing to pack in case of a flight delay. When our flight was delayed we happened to be on our way back from holiday. Every toy and book in our luggage had been used so much, they were running out of entertainment value. Now we always pack an ‘emergency toy’ just in case of flight delays. This doesn’t have to be a huge flashy toy. We normally pick up a few little bits from the £1 store (usually things like sticker books and crayons). If there is delay then this ‘not yet seen’ toy can be the perfect entertainment.

3. Portable Charger –

Flight delays are a great chance to read a book on your kindle, ring your friends, binge watch a series on your iPad or catch up on some work. But, there is noting worse than turning on your device only for the ‘battery low’ symbol to pop up. Portable chargers are great and for us they’re now a travel essential! They don’t take up too much space in your bag and they’re perfect for charging things on the go, especially in places you might not have access to a plug socket.

4. Notepad & Pen – 

You really can’t go wrong with a notepad and pen.The options for its use are endless. You could play a game, draw a picture, start a journal, write a story, sort out your to do list or try something new; like origami.

5. Pack Of Cards –

Playing cards can be great family entertainment during a flight delay. Teach your family some new games, play a solo game of patience or if you are flying alone, ask another delayed passenger to play with you. It could be a great way to strike up a new friendship.

6. A new book or magazine –

I always take an unread book on holiday with me. Usually I don’t get to finish it because of all the fun things I’ve been doing, but it’s great to have fresh reading material for the plane or just to have in case of flight delays.

7. Change of clothes –

Nowadays I normally always pack a spare of clothes in my bag. Even if it’s something light like an extra pair of leggings and strap top. I do this even if I’m flying short haul and I do it for two reasons. You never know if your stowed baggage will turn up at your end destination and you never know if your flight is going to be delayed! Lots of airports have showers and some even have gyms. A spare pair of clothes will come in handy if you have time to freshen up or fancy a workout while you wait.

8. Wet wipes or anti-bac –

Wet wipes are always on the top of our general ‘must pack list’ for any holiday. They’re probably the most handy thing to have when you’re travelling and even more so during a flight delay. Airport toilets aren’t the best and all those germs flying around can easily be combatted by a quick freshen up.

9. Emergency money –

I once had a bad experience in an airport where my bank had blocked my debit card and I didn’t have any cash on me. Now I always keep a spare bit of cash tucked away just for the airport. I normally take enough to buy some snacks and a drink…just in case.

10. A light throw –

During our flight delay I was very jealous of all the travellers that had remembered to pack a light throw. Airpots and planes can get very chilly. You can even invest in one that can be rolled up small so it doesn’t take up too much room in your hand luggage

So…you’re now packed and prepared for a flight delay. But, if your flight has been delayed, it could have a knock on effect to the rest of your travel plans, and for some that can end up proving both annoying and costly.

Did you know that you might be entitled to some compensation if your flight has been delayed?

Until we started chatting to airFair, we had no idea that compensation for flight delays was even a thing.

If you haven’t heard of airFair before, they’re a team of flight disruption specialists who have created a really handy ‘Flight Delay Compensation App’, that is a must for any savvy traveller. 

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage To Prepare For A Flight Delay

Dependent on where you’re flying from and to, if your flight has been delayed, cancelled or overbooked, you may be entitled to compensation of up to £520 per person! It’s definitely worth checking out and it only takes two minutes to start a claim.

We’ve just started our claim for last year and so far the process has been really easy. The fantastic mobile APP even lets you start your claim in real time. So if right now you are sat in the departure lounge waiting for your delayed plane, you can get started. Claims can also be made on the airFair website and you can even claim back for flights dating back 6 years.

Do you think you might be owed some compensation?

In order for airFair to take on your potential claim, your claim just needs to fulfil two criteria points:

  • Your flight delay must have been for 3+ hours.
  • The flight must have either been from an EU Airport or on an EU Airline

In our case we were delayed in Barcelona airport for over 4 hours and we were flying with a UK airline. The process for claiming couldn’t be simpler and the app is so easy to use. It took me less than a few minutes to confirm that I had a claim.

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage To Prepare For A Flight Delay

airFair’s industry leading software enables them to access millions of pieces of flight data which accurately validates whether or not you have a claim. Customers simply input their flight details to see if they are entitled, then they are taken through the process with the airFair team.

airFair also work on a no-win, no fee basis, which means if your claim is unsuccessful you won’t be charged a thing for their service.

What To Pack In Your Hand Luggage To Prepare For A Flight Delay

We’ll keep you updated on how we get on with our claim! According to airFair it could take a few days up to a couple of months to receive what you’re entitled to. We’re just glad we’re not the ones that have to battle with the airlines and we’re already planning on booking a new holiday with our potential compensation.

Travel Tips

We hope that our top tips for preparing for a flight delay have helped you. If you are looking for more travel tips, check out some of our other posts:

So…have you ever experienced a flight delay? Did you know before that you could potentially claim compensation? Let us know your thoughts below and if you have any extra tips for surviving a flight delay.

*Sponsored by airFair.



  1. Sophie's Nursery
    September 12, 2017 / 9:42 am

    Really useful post – we are going on a plane in 3 weeks! Never thought about packing for a delay x

  2. Helen
    September 12, 2017 / 10:03 am

    I love the idea of an ’emergency toy’ – such a good idea!

  3. Helen
    September 12, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Oh great tips! I’m lucky that my kids are old enough to cope with the iPad (agree on the chargers – multiple!), and my daughter can fill hours in an airport window shopping. But I would have hated a delay with younger children who are more difficult to entertain.

  4. DJT @ Thinking Thrifty
    September 12, 2017 / 1:07 pm

    Great tips here. Thankfully I’m lucky enough to have never been delayed even by a minute (hopefully I haven’t just cursed myself!)

  5. Talya
    September 12, 2017 / 3:34 pm

    Oh my goodness flight delays with littles are my worst nightmare but these are some fab tips to make sure you are ready for the eventuality. I’ve not heard of airfair before this is really good to know about thank you!

  6. Kara Guppy
    September 13, 2017 / 9:41 am

    We always carry a lightweight toy or activity to keep the kids amused. Delays are no fun for anyone but with a small person in tow they are worse!

  7. Jono
    September 13, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    Some top tips here. I’ll know how to prepare next time!

  8. Stephanie
    September 13, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    Lots of fantastic ideas here, I never would have bought a throw but I feel the cold so much so would be a good idea

  9. Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs
    September 14, 2017 / 11:21 am

    Very useful tips! Oh, it is the ultimate worst nightmare ever to be delayed with little ones isn’t it?!
    I would take all of your suggestions along 🙂 x

  10. Charlotte
    September 15, 2017 / 11:02 am

    This is such a clever idea! It’s always best to be prepared, especially if you have checked your luggage in and there are long delays!! I need to remember this next time we fly

  11. Karen
    September 15, 2017 / 4:15 pm

    These are good tips, with having 2 kids I’m always prepare for anything

  12. Baby Isabella
    September 15, 2017 / 7:48 pm

    Great tips! My mummy tends to travel with a pashmina so uses that if we get delayed at the airport to stay comfy and get me to see. Packing snacks and emergency money is a great tip too!

  13. Hannah
    October 1, 2017 / 11:57 am

    Oh I hate delayed flights but these are all great tips! Will bare in mind 🙂

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