At least a few times a year, I’m stuck somewhere. We’ll have a cancellation or a mechanical or a weather delay–sometimes even a medical emergency. All of these situations happen to me on a somewhat regular basis, yet they still catch me off guard, even though I am on an airplane at least four days a week. That’s why I always come prepared. Here’s one example why you should always pack snacks with you when you travel.
Weather Forecast: Freezing
In January, we were hit with a polar vortex and frigid weather in the midwest. I had the luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. My day was supposed to be to fly from LA to Chicago and back. LAX to ORD normally takes three and half hours. On this particular day, we left LA at 10 am Pacific and did not arrive in Chicago until 9:53 pm Central. Because the weather in Chicago was so bad, O’Hare kept shutting down to clear the runways. We circled for quite a while, and after six and a half hours, we finally landed in Indianapolis to refuel.
Dinner Menu: No Food
The agents told all the passengers they had to get off the plane. Due to the Passenger Bill of Rights, airlines cannot hold you hostage for more than three hours if the plane is on the ground. My crew and I were relieved because now everyone would be able to get some food. I had sold out of all of our food onboard several hours prior. We do have emergency snacks onboard, but these are Biscoff cookies which will just spike your blood sugar and make you hungrier.
It was around 8pm Central by the time we were back inside the terminal. A lot of the restaurants and shops in IND were closing down, at least inside security. The agents did not want people going outside security in case O’Hare opened again and we were able to leave.
Unfortunately, IND is not a station where my airline has catering. What this means is that we are unable to get extra snacks, food, and water. Of course we always have tap water available, but if you’ve been following me for a while you know I won’t drink the tap water on the plane unless it’s a life or death situation.
I have to admit I had one extra meal packed with me but nothing beyond that. Amazingly all of my passengers were very cooperative and understanding. We all wanted to get to Chicago and not spend the night in IND. Around 9:30 pm, they finally released us and we had a very short (and bumpy) ride up to O’Hare.
How to Prepare
Always make sure you have snacks packed in your bag. I’m talking substantial snacks with fat and protein — nuts, protein bars, almond butter, hard boiled eggs — not empty carbs and sugar which are just going to make you hungry in a few hours. (I love protein bars from Kuli Kuli and Keep Healthy.) Arrive at the airport early so you can scope out what’s there and grab some extra supplies. Once we are up at 30,000 feet, anything can happen! Bring your stainless steel water bottle and fill up at a water fountain before you board. If you can’t deal with that, look for Fiji or another brand of water that has harder plastic which is less likely to leach into the bottle.
On this particular trip, we ended up spending the night in Chicago, and I was out of food. The next day I got to O’Hare and grabbed a banana and some almonds for my flight home. I know neither were organic, but you have to make the best of what’s available. When I have these situations happen, it’s a great reminder for me to be prepared for anything when I’m only on a day trip. I sometimes fly with crew members who don’t even bring clothes! I’m more concerned with my food but believe me I’ve got extra clothes packed just in case we don’t make it home that night.
Remember, emergencies, cancellations, delays, and weather happen all year-round. We’re moving into spring where there are always thunderstorms and still some snow! Be sure you pack food, water and any medications you might need in your carry-on.
What are some of your favorite snacks to pack when you travel? Comment below and let me know!
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