When you’ve put your time into planning your trip and fully paid for your holiday, an unexpected delay or cancellation can cause you to panic, but you shouldn't let the setback ruin your trip. There are a few extra precautions, some airport techniques and knowledge on your air travel rights that can help you avoid stress during the start of your journey. Here’s a look at what to do if your flight is cancelled or delayed.
Air Travel Rights
Airlines have different regulations in place and in most cases, an airline will offer a full refund or an alternative flight to compensate you for the trouble. It’s worth reading through your travel agreement when you book your flight, as airlines aren’t legally obligated to offer other arrangements. The terms will be in the contract of carriage, so read up on what you’re entitled to and make sure it’s being fulfilled. In other cases, be sure to have reliable travel insurance that will offer a compensation for the issues incurred.
Review Your Credit Card Terms
When your flight is cancelled for an eligible reason such as mechanical trouble and weather issues, your credit card might be able to help out. Some credit cards offer trip delay protection and might be able to reimburse you in your flight is delayed by 12 hours or longer. It’s worth knowing before you head off to the airport, but it will be easy information to access if you find out the flight is delayed on your arrival. It can tend to cross over with your entitlements with travel insurance packages, but it’s a much quicker way to access funds.
A lot of airlines can prepare for significant delays efficiently, but sadly the majority of travellers panic and begin to queue up at customer services and wait for their advice. If you download the selected airline's app, some of them now offer options to rebook your flight on the app. This, in turn, reduces your wait time and the stress of dealing with customer services and staff on the gates.
It’s always worth enquiring about any credits, vouchers or other tokens where to the airline can offer temporary accommodation or a meal in the airport. The airline is likely to provide the compensation if they have the authority. Usually, the only cases where they would offer any compensation if it’s entirely out of their control, trouble with the weather for example.
If you’re unwilling to confront or complain directly in the airport, try using social media to your advantage. As the multiple online platforms are public, airlines will want to compensate you as quickly as possible and keep their customer happy. You don’t have to be assertive, but start a conversation with them and see where it takes you. A lot of airlines are known to send additional compensation via their social media channel to keep the airline from looking poor.
Download the Right Apps
One delay can lead to many, and keeping up with the boards and waiting for information cant get confusing in a busy airport. There are different flight tracking apps and other helpful tools that can guide you much better than queuing unnecessarily and waiting around for answers.
Know Your Surroundings
If your delay is abroad, then you might be entitled to more or less from the airline. In the EU, regulations differ and if you arrive at your destination more than three hours late, then you’ll be entitled to compensation. Some airlines have been known to offer a complete refund or very generous package as an apology, so it’s worth a quick Google to find out if you delay could benefit you.
Keep the Negotiations Open
If there is a big issue with your flight and they’re unable to provide you with suitable alternatives, you'll likely see them offer you multiple compensation packages, and it’s best to see what suits you before accepting the first thing they offer. It goes back to what potential feedback you can give the airline via social media and word of mouth, they will likely offer you multiple compromises until you’re happy (to an extent), which should, in theory, reduce you likeliness of your complaint on these public channels.
Keep a Record of Everything
Anything you have spent in the airport and any issues you find on the other end of your journey need to be recorded. You're more likely to receive additional compensation if you have evidence of troubles you've endured.
There isn’t much you can do you avoid a delay, but when it does happen it’s best not to panic and just consider the best ways to approach the question you’ve asked, what do if your flight is cancelled. You can then make better choices and make the best out of a bad situation.