A Guide to Flying Home from College

Since I go to school in Pennsylvania, I fly home to North Carolina for breaks several times a year. I usually fly from a very small airport by my school, to a slightly larger airport at home, so I always have to make a connection in a larger airport. This does not always go very well. Actually it has only really gone well for me three times out of eight trips. But either way, I usually still prefer it to the 8 hour drive. My parents drive me when I move in and move out, but I don't think I could do the drive all alone. I don't really like driving for a really long time in the first place, and for Thanksgiving and Christmas break the weather is usually so unpredictable. I wouldn't want to risk driving over 500 miles through a snowstorm on my own!
I have seen a lot of things due to flight issues such as weather cancellations, being stuck overnight in an airport, having a plane turn around just before it was about to land at home because the pilot didn't think the conditions were safe to land, had my luggage lost, missed my connection due to delays on the first flight (4 times), ran across the airport to make a connection just in time, ran across the airport get on the next flight to North Carolina (even though it was to a different airport than planned), and had to wait up to 8 hours for the next flight, in the past 3 years. So here is what I have learned through these experiences.
1. It is easier if you can stay calm: I tend to cry a lot when flight issues come up. Especially the times where I miss my connection, I think some airline employees feel bad for me, but others are just annoyed. This past trip I just missed my connection but I was able to keep it together, and it seemed a lot easier to deal with. Maybe because I knew I had other options and wasn't going to get stuck in Chicago, but I was able to communicate my problem and find another flight a lot easier when I kept things together!
2. Take advantage of your time if you're stuck waiting around: as I said I've had to wait up to 8 hours for another flight before. It's kind of fun to explore the airport. I've only been stuck in larger ones, so there are usually things to do. look in the shops, if it's an airport you frequently fly through and don't usually get the time to stop at a certain place (like a Starbucks or a Pinkberry or something) use that time to do that. Or just walk around, and if you have homework or something that could be done, use that time to do it. 
3. Prepare for the worst: In case you get stuck waiting around for a while, or even overnight, it's always good to have chargers so you can keep using your phone, tablet, laptop, and snacks so you don't have to spend a lot of money on airport food!  This is especially if you have a short layover, because it's a lot easier to miss a connection that way. And some larger planes might gate check your carry on if there isn't room in the overhead compartments (this is usually if you're in one of the last zones or boarding groups) so it's always nice to have those things in your "personal item" bag. Just in case you don't see that bag again until you finally make it home.
And if possible, avoiding smaller airports probably helps. I only fly through them because sometimes they are cheaper (at least for where I fly to), and I don't want to drive several hours to a larger airport, and leave my car there paying for the expensive parking. And as I said in the beginning of the post, I feel a lot safer and would probably rather be stuck in an airport by myself than drive for 8 hours (usually through the snow) by myself!
 Thanks for reading!
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  1. Loved this post! I'm so bad at catching flights: I've missed tons of connection flights when I fly back home. One time I was stuck in Philadelphia for an entire day!

  2. These are great tips! I used to drive back and fourth 3.5 hours every weekend. I liked the drive though!

    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

  3. Flying can be so stressful sometimes!! I definitely have shed a few tears from it. These are great tips!!


  4. I always get so flustered during flights! I will definitely come back to your tips.

    Mikayla | www.aseersuckerstateofmind.com

  5. I could not do all that on my own! I would be freaking out! Luckily my home is only 2hours away from school. I hope your future flights run more smoothly!
    xo Katie