If you’re a regular traveler, or simply someone who likes to take frequent vacations with the family, then the odds are that you’re eventually going to struggle with a flight cancellation or delay. Ultimately, although airlines are an incredibly convenient way for most of us to get around and explore the world, they’re not immune from the problems that can happen with almost any mode of transport.
Delays and cancellations can be caused by anything from staff strikes, to air traffic control problems, mechanical issues, and weather. While some of these problems are clearly the fault of the airline, other reasons for your delays may be nothing more than an act of god – and something you simply have to deal with.
With that in mind, here are a few tips you can use to minimize the impact of cancellations and delays.
Keep Travel Information Handy
A sudden flight cancellation or delay means that you’re going to need to adapt. Having all the information you need to know about your itinerary handy can ensure that you’re ready to make changes wherever necessary. For instance, you can use apps and online connections to make sure that you alter the time of your pickup at the other airport, or use the extra time to figure out the fastest driving route to your hotel. You can also download the app for the airline that you’re flying with to get real-time alerts on how your next flight is coming along.
Understand Your Options
As a passenger, you might not always be able to control what happens with your chosen airline, but you do have some rights that you should be aware of if your flight is canceled or delayed. Most airlines in the US have something called a Contract of Carriage, which determines exactly what kind of compensation and support you’re applicable for if you don’t get on your plane on time. If you’re not sure what your airline can do for you, you can always look up the details for your chosen company, or contact the airline directly through phone or social media.
Download a Useful App
Sometimes, when the going gets tough with a flight cancellation or delay, there’s nothing you can do but take matters into your own hands. The good news is that if you’re equipped with a smartphone, there are countless applications that you can download to find out where the next flight to your destination is going from, how much a ticket will cost, and when it leaves. You might even be able to ask your airline to transfer you over to that flight free of charge, particularly if it’s their fault that your current flight has been canceled. This is particularly useful when you’re negotiating with an airline.
Try to Get an Upgrade
If you can’t get compensation for your missed flight, that doesn’t mean that you can’t necessarily search for other benefits instead. Try being as nice as you can to the airline when you’re negotiating how to get onto your next flight, and see if they’re willing to bump you up to business class for your trouble. Alternatively, try asking the sales representative that you talk to whether you might be eligible for any extras like free hotel vouchers or food if your flight is going to be delayed for four hours or longer.
Go to The Source of Airline Information
If you’re not sure why your flight has been canceled, or you need some help figuring out what to do next, you could always try checking out the Federal Aviation Administration’s Website. This government organization provides up-to-date information on flight delays directly from the Air Traffic Control command website. Not only does the site include a map of the US that shows you all your major airports, but it also helps you to understand exactly why your flight has been grounded too.
Finally, as frustrating as it can be to suffer from a delayed or canceled flight, it’s crucial to make sure that you maintain a level head. Ultimately, throwing a tantrum and being abusive towards members of staff at the airport might feel like a good way to blow off steam, but it could simply mean that you get thrown off the next available flight too so that you’re left with nothing to do but book your own travel from scratch. Remember that you will eventually get to your destination, even if you end up being a little behind on schedule.