Even if you’ve spent weeks, or months carefully planning each step of your next vacation, there’s always the chance that a sudden flight cancellation or delay could derail your plans and leave you with a massive headache to worry about. While no-one wants to have to deal with something as stressful as a flight delay or cancellation, this relatively common problem doesn’t have to put a damper on your entire trip.
By making sure that you know the details around cancellations and delays in advance and taking extra steps to prepare yourself if something goes wrong, you can make sure that you’re ready for anything during your next big adventure.
1. Know Your Rights Around Compensation
If your flight ends up getting cancelled or delayed, then you should be eligible for compensation if you’re left waiting for more than 3 hours. Additionally, it’s worth noting that you can only get compensation from your airline if they are responsible for the delay or cancellation. That means that you might not get any support if a weather problem causes the delay.
Saying that, it’s worth learning as much as you can about your situation, by checking out the airline’s policies online and gathering as much useful information as you can. If nothing else, your carrier should provide you with a seat on the next available flight, and give you access to food, water, and anything else you need to remain comfortable.
2. Be Proactive
In the event of a delay or cancellation, most airport staff and gate agents will be swamped with angry people that they need to deal with. It makes sense to call the customer service representatives for the company instead, as this should help you to speak to someone a little faster. Additionally, it’s much quicker and easier to deal with someone on the phone than to shout over a crowd of angry passengers.
If you can’t get the support you need on a phoneline, you could always try rebooking your flight with the airline on its mobile app or speaking to people over social media. There are plenty of companies out there that have their own social service team today.
3. Ask about Hotel and Meal Information
If you’re faced with a serious delay that’s going to leave you waiting around in an airport terminal for several hours, it might be a good idea to speak to the airport staff about how you can go about getting food and drinks without spending all your money on expensive airport food. Some airlines will be able to provide their passengers with vouchers for these essential things so that they can make the most out of the time they have to wait.
It’s particularly important to ask about these things if you have children to look after too – as we all know how grumpy youngsters can get when they’re both simultaneously bored and hungry.
4. Download the Right Tools
Ultimately, although you can watch the weather carefully, and spend your time tracking which airlines have the biggest history of delays and cancellations, you can never really know for sure when a delay is going to strike. To make sure that you’re always prepared, it can be helpful to download a flight-tracking app, so that you can see what’s going on with your plane. This way, if you’re not taking the first flight in the day, you can watch how your plane’s journey progresses as it gets closer to you.
Additionally, you can also look into your airline to find out whether they have their own application you can use to get through to customer service when you need a little extra help. Just make sure that you have your phone fully charged when you’re travelling. An external battery can help with this.
5. Hold onto Documentation
Finally, when you arrive at your destination, make sure that you have copies of your boarding pass and any other travel documents you might need with you. There are plenty of airlines out there that could reject a claim for a disrupted or delayed flight if you don’t have a document to issue with your claim. Make sure that you keep track of everything from your boarding pass, to the receipts when you buy food for you and your family.
Although you might not be compensated for everything, the more information you have to hand over, the more likely you are to get the money you deserve back from the airline.