Are you planning a flight soon? Chances are, no matter how much effort and planning you put into it, things don't always go as expected. The winter storm in 2022 left thousands of flights canceled and delayed. But that's not the only thing that can cause flight disruptions. Air travel has changed significantly since Covid, with many airports now having new guidelines and procedures.
Regardless of the cause, getting your flight canceled or delayed is always a hassle. But there are some steps you can take to ensure that if it does happen, you're prepared and can get back on track as soon as possible.
Here's what to do when your flight is canceled or delayed:
Prepare like a pro
It's important to research the airline's policies concerning flight cancelations before you depart. Booking a refundable ticket, checking in online, and downloading a mobile app are all great ways to stay one step ahead. Another good idea is to take pictures of your luggage in case of theft or accidental loss. That way, you can provide the airline with a more accurate description of your bags and proof of ownership. Keep in mind that the most an airline will reimburse for lost luggage is $3,800 for domestic travel, so be mindful of what you pack. Furthermore, don't forget to bring snacks, water, and a neck pillow when traveling long distances. These will come in handy in case you get held up at the airport waiting for your next flight. And lastly, know that you're entitled to a refund if your flight is canceled and you choose not to rebook.
It's easy to get frustrated and angry when your flight is canceled, but it won't help in this situation. Gate attendants have heard it all before and probably won't be able to help you beyond the airline's policy, such as booking hotel accommodations or meals for the duration of your delay. In some cases, they'll threaten to call security if you keep raising your voice or expressing your frustrations in an angry manner. So, be cool and polite when talking to airline staff. You'll have better luck if they like you!
Avoid long lines at the gate counter
If your flight is canceled or delayed, the last place you want to be is in a long line at the gate. By the time you reach the counter, you may have missed the next flight out or all the good hotels in town may be sold out. Instead, try to find alternative ways of getting information from your airline. Many airlines have mobile apps that will allow you to chat with a representative via text, which can be just as efficient as a voice call. However, if you need more detailed help, try calling the airline's customer service number for assistance.
Get in touch via social media
Many airlines have social media accounts that can help you out if you're stuck with a canceled or delayed flight. They might post updates on your flight status or provide alternative solutions by listing nearby airports, train stations, and bus depots that can get you to your destination. Other canceled or delayed passengers may provide helpful advice, too, so be sure to check out popular travel forums and hashtags like #traveltips on Twitter as you wait to hear back from the airline's customer service team.
Email customer service after your flight
Once you've arrived at your destination, email customer service about your canceled or delayed flight, especially if you feel the airline could have avoided the disruption. Weather-related delays or reasons out of their control don't count! But if a flight crew member failed to check that the PA system was working properly before takeoff, or if the plane was delayed due to maintenance issues, you might be eligible for a voucher or refund. By highlighting any negligence on their part, you may also help the airline improve its policies and procedures in the future.
No one likes having their flight canceled or delayed. This is why it's important to make sure that if it does happen, you're prepared and can get back on track as soon as possible. Research the airline's policies, stay calm and polite when talking to staff, use social media or mobile apps to get in touch with the airline, and email customer service if you want some form of compensation for the inconvenience.
With these steps in mind, you can make the best of a bad situation and arrive at your destination stress-free.