Solution: First, cancel your credit cards; if you suspect theft, contact local authorities and make a report. If your passport is missing, contact the nearest embassy or consulate, and do not delay -- you may be able to get a replacement passport within 24 hours.
How to fly with no ID: The TSA will let you fly but you will have to help them verify your identity by "answering a few questions," so get to the airport an hour earlier than usual.
Before you go: Add credit card hotline numbers, airline contacts and embassy/consulate numbers to your mobile. Make copies of passports and credit cards as well as mobile phone contacts; give a copy to someone you trust and keep another on your person.
5. Wrong airport, wrong terminal.
It does happen. A recent TripAdvisor post by an employee of Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS) said, "We often have passengers miss their flight [with us] because they type in either the Fort Walton Beach Airport or the Destin airport. Both are airports, they just aren't served by the major airlines."
Another snafu: You're flying American at Dallas' DFW airport, so you naturally head for the "American terminal." That could be any one of four terminals at DFW and the resulting confusion could make you late for the plane.
Yet another snafu: You're flying Southwest for the first time out of Chicago. You go to O'Hare. Southwest, however, only flies out of Chicago's Midway.
One more: A friend once waited out a storm at DFW before finally getting a flight back home to Southern California; too late she realized the plane was heading to LAX; unfortunately, she left her car at the Burbank airport.
Solution: Know before you go. Always, always examine your tickets but also check for updates on your airline's website and/or Facebook and/or tweets.
Note: Sometimes it pays to knowingly board a flight that's not on your itinerary just to get away from a bad weather situation, especially if the alternative is being delayed for days, but save your receipts. You might be able to work something out with your carrier later or expense it if you're flying for work.
6. Unexpected rule changes.
They raised the bag fees but somehow you missed it.
Solution: Try throwing yourself on the mercy of the airline, but if it's Spirit, be prepared to mount a Facebook campaign and garner 30,000 "likes" because that's what it took for a dying veteran to pry a refund out of them. Otherwise, have a credit card handy; the airline may not take cash.
7. Bad jokes.
A JFK passenger jokingly told a TSA officer this month, "Yes, I have a bomb." The officer was not amused. Inappropriate remarks will delay you; they could also land you in jail.
Solution: Do I really have to tell you a security checkpoint is not a comedy club?