Stuck at the airport because of a flight mishap? Get in line and on the phone at once if possible. Call your airline and see what your options are. You might be able to get rebooked on a flight that would have been filled by the time you got to the desk after waiting in line.
Don't give up if you're told over the phone there aren't any convenient flights available. Wait in line and do your best to work with the desk agent—sometimes representatives can be more empathetic in person. Being cordial is far more effective than yelling.
If you're flexible, you might ask for alternative routing. In one instance, after being told I had no options for my current routing by both a phone and a desk agent, I suggested to the desk clerk that I fly to the airline's hub in another city and then connect to an alternate airport near my destination. I had to take an extra flight, but I slept in my bed that night, not on the airport floor. A little proactive thinking is far more useful than consigning your fate to the airline gods.
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