Stuck Overnight At The Airport: Don’t Wait For The Airline – Book Your Own Room

When your travel plans include a connection, but you miss your connection and you’re forced to spend the night in a city you hadn’t planned, you may expect the airline to provide you with a hotel room for the night. However,

  • They may not do so, especially if the cause of the misconnection was bad weather

  • Even if the airline should provide one under the circumstances, employees may not be around to handle it.

  • The airline may not have access to nearby hotel inventory. Just because you can find a room doesn’t mean the airline’s outsourced provider is offering inventory at one of their contract hotels, at a price point the airline will pay.

  • And often it’s not just one flight getting cancelled. It may be a whole bunch of flights at the same time, whether it’s a weather event of lack of crew.

Frankly even if the airline will provide you with a room,

  • You may be standing in line for an interminable period to get the right, and that’s trading off with your sleep.

  • The hotel room the airline provides you probably may not be one you’d actually want to sleep in anyway.
  • Just like during flight delays it’s a good idea not to just rely on the airline to take care of you, but to be proactive coming up with alternative available arrangements (or even rebooking yourself onto a new flight and getting refunded for your original one, and even making backup trip reservations in advance where the second one is booked with fully refundable miles), it is worth considering being on your own for lodging too if you find you need it mid-trip.

    A couple of recent tweets posted close together by different passengers reminded me of this.

    @AmericanAir the worst airline in world a 24 hour delayed flight and sending us to a hotel that is full and we are in the street for their mistake what a disaster.

    — (@rawafalrawaf1g1) July 28, 2022

    Along with a constant running toliet, i had the pleasure of having this AC Unit at the hotel American Airlines put me in bc my flight was canceled yesterday bc they didn't have a crew. Needless to say, I didn't sleep good 😕 *sound on

    Thanks @AmericanAir

    — Samantha Smith (@CoachSmithIAm) July 28, 2022

    There’s a certain satisfaction in just booking the hotel on your phone as you taxi to the gate, and going directly to your room – and sending the bill to your credit card’s trip delay coverage provider, if you’ve used a card that offers this.

    You’re assured the property you are comfortable staying in. You won’t wait. And you can look farther afield if need be. Sure, airport hotels might well all be booked. But if you aren’t spending an hour in line to get the room is a 20 minute drive away from the airport (also billed to trip delay coverage) so bad?

    If you don’t have credit card trip delay coverage, and you can’t find a good rate on your own that you’re willing to pay, one alternative to the long line may be the baggage office. Ask there about distressed passenger rates for hotels. If the line is long at your airline’s baggage office, or it isn’t staffed, be friendly and ask at another airline’s baggage office. Bear in mind American Airlines, like many airlines, has an explicit rule against reimbursing you this cost.

    Last year American Airlines flight attendants complained of being stuck sleeping at the airport and a pilot was stuck sleeping in a hotel lobby. What chance do you think passengers have?

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