Airport Olympics: Stranded Travelers Pass Time With Sports

Travel News — By David Chalk on April 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

Even though flights resumed last Wednesday, it was estimated that over 35,000 Britons began the week still stranded and waiting for the chance to fly home.  While some people went to extraordinary lengths to get home, others have been patiently waiting it out and finding ways to pass the time. The Telegraph reports that children stuck in Thailand organized a soccer game in the basement of Bangkok International Airport (pictured right).

Elsewhere in Bangkok’s airport, a couple played ping-pong on a desk with a makeshift net of bottles and a banner — one shudders to imagine the boredom that inspired that.  Some people have been stuck in the airport for over a week, and hundreds have been sleeping on the airport’s floor.  Departure lounges were covered with mats and sleeping bags while people patiently read and used laptops while waiting to hear when they could get home.

In the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia International says it’s been offering stranded travelers free Wi-Fi, which is normally only available free of charge to students on weekdays.  The local transportation authority has also waived the $7 fee for rail rides to downtown from the airport, so when travelers are feeling too trapped they can see the Liberty Bell and grab a cheesesteak.

Business team culture expert Dianne Crampton of Bend, Oregon, author of TIGERS Among Us: Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive, found herself stranded in southern Spain during the volcano crisis, and took the opportunity to observe responses.  Crampton says that many stranded travelers were smart to be patient and wait things out:

“What I am observing now is disorganization caused by breakdown in communication, collaboration and sensible customer service policies among governments, businesses and air carriers. This has resulted in individual travelers initiating their own responses without enough good information. The outcome is that in trying to return home, many travelers only found themselves in worse situations than if they had just stayed put and waited.”

[Image: Andrew Chant/Telegraph]

Tags: Bangkok, Bangkok International, football, free wifi, Philadelphia, Philadelphia International, ping-pong, soccer, spain, stranded travelers, table tennis, Thailand, UK, volcanic ash, volcano

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