It's inevitable. Rarely does a trip with or without connections work seamlessly. When it does, be forever grateful and relish in the euphoria momentarily.
Here's my advice:
1. Plan for the "what-if" scenerio.
The savy travelers know that the airlines will atutomatically rebook you on the next flight. However, you might want to work with another airline going on your route ASAP before others get the same idea. Hint: Talk to business travelers before you go and they will fill you in on how they handle such a situation.
Have the names and phone numbers of a couple airport hotels in your phone contact list just in case.
2. Arrive at the airport with extra time to make it through TSA.
You just never know.
Hint: If you are in a line with people who do not know "the drill" - what comes out of the carry on, shoes off etc. - relax knowing you have time to spare on your end leaving the neophytes to their learning curve. You can study the TSA guide at home, or better yet, listen to the TSA personnel at the beginning of the line shouting out the rules.
3. Know your rights as a passenger.
Press for overnight accomodations if you are are in the middle of your journey and the plane is delayed. Hint: You have to be your own advocate.
4. Watch for gate changes at major airports by staying glued to your airline app and/or the monitor.
Consider it furthering your daily exercise goal if you have to move. Also, that is why it is so important to have luggage that you can handle. By the way, those apps will tell you how long it takes to get from one terminal to another and you can be realistic in your expectations.
Hint: I had dinner at one terminal in Atlanta, shopped in a second before my plane settled on the third one to park. That meant I was up and down a long escalator and onboard the train a three times. As far as I was concerned, there was no harm done and I got home on time.
5. If you are scheduled on the last flight of the night, don't worry that you will not have an alternative.
Hint: Check to see if the plane needs to be at your destination for an early flight back out the next morning.
6. Have a bottle of water and emergency snacks at your fingertips.
7. Think about how you can use that extra time to your advantage without wasting energy fuming.
I've seen people in an obscure corner doing Yoga, and in my home airport, Rochester International, there is a new Strong Museum area of play for young and old alike.
There's more advice that I could give out. I'll save that for a further post.