Our long-awaited Belgian vacation finally arrived. We got to the airport, checked our bags and had celebratory drinks near our gate. Boarded our flight, settled in and flight attendants crossed checked. Front door closed, ready to push back from gate and the captain announced, “Folks, we just got word from LaGuardia air traffic control – we’re on a one-hour ground hold.” Our flight wouldn’t take off for about an hour.

We had a short connection at LaGuardia to catch our flight to Brussels as it was, and I knew we wouldn’t make it. So when the flight attendant announced, “Passengers on flights A, B, C and D, please see the gate agent to rebook your connecting flights,” we were off the plane and in line.

Flights from the US to Europe are more likely than not overnight, and the gate agent said to the group that we’d miss our flights out and would have to rebook for the following day. With a limited amount of days in Belgium as it was, I really didn’t want to lose that time. And so, I pulled out my iPhone, launched the Kayak app and got to work searching for alternative routes on alternative airlines.

Working with the app, I suggested different flight configurations to the gate agent (who was fantastic, by the way!) to get us where we needed to go, and she worked with the system to make it happen. The result? She successfully rerouted all 11 of us effected by the delay and we all got out and to our final destinations, if perhaps a few hours later than initially scheduled, but certainly better than an entire 24 hours later!

For us, instead of TPA – LGA – BRU, we wound up flying TPA – LGW – DUB – BRU. Sure, we missed a few extra hours in Belgium, but we bought The Guardian in London and had a pint in Dublin, and still enjoyed dinner with my parents in Brussels.

In what ways are you innovative when your flight’s cancelled?