Making flight delays a little easier


I’ve had my share of long and painful flight delays, but I’ve rarely had to spend the night in the airport or a questionable hotel. That said, I’m always aware that it could happen at any time. While pondering how prepared I am for this sort of thing, I thought of a simple question: How difficult would be to procure the most common overnight supplies in a typical airport?

In many terminals, you get at least a convenience store’s worth of selection for stuff like toothpaste and soap. But it’s all sold separately. So why not put all the items together into an overnight stay kit, complete with personal care items, change of clothes, etc.? I’ve seen this type of thing in travel stores like Flight 001, but I don’t know if any stores in airport terminals sell such an assortment. Given all the other things you have to deal with when a flight is cancelled, knowing that you can go pick up a single box with everything you need would provide some peace of mind.

This also ties in nicely with the airlines’ customer service strategies. When flights are severely delayed or cancelled, some airlines issue their passengers a voucher for a hotel room, food, taxi, etc. These programs could be expanded to include the overnight stay kit, which the passenger can pick up on the way out of the airport. Or, the airline itself could keep a supply of these and just give them out. For those carriers that don’t offer anything like that, at least people could buy them conveniently in the terminal.

In any event, buying a single box with the standard overnight supplies is a lot easier than packing all of the items with you, assuming you weren’t planning to spend the night anyway. And it’s much faster than trying to buy all the goods after you learn that you’ll be stuck somewhere for the night. As the product evolves, I could see separate versions for men, women, and children, or even versions that are branded with a corporate sponsor to subsidize the cost. Insurance companies and financial services firms are always trying to position themselves as being there when you need them, so sponsoring this product might be a great fit.