Waiting at the airport for a delayed or cancelled flight is never fun.Travel can be a stressful experience, and the presence of large crowds can make it even more challenging. The confusion and uncertainty that often come with crowded spaces can exacerbate the situation. However, with some planning and patience, you can make the best of an airport delay or cancellation.
Here are 10 tips to help you successfully navigate flight delays and cancellations:
1. Get the latest flight updates directly from your airline. Sign up for text or email notifications from your airline so you can receive real-time updates on your flight status. Many airlines also have mobile apps that will push notifications about delays and cancellations straight to your phone.Staying informed can prove advantageous in the event that you need to make alternative plans.
2. Have backup plans ready in case of a cancellation. If your flight gets cancelled altogether, it’s good to already know your options for rebooking. Decide if you want to get on the next available flight, even if it’s with a different airline, or if you’d rather cancel your trip. Also, know whether you are entitled to a refund or travel voucher from the airline.
3. Get creative with flight changes. If you need to rebook a new flight, don’t limit yourself to your original airline. Find the best flight options by searching through multiple airlines and airports located in your desired destination city. You may find an alternate flight that works better, sometimes even on a different day. Airlines are not required to endorse tickets to other airlines, but it can’t hurt to ask!
4. Use flight tracking tools.Apps for tracking flights, such as FlightAware and FlightStats, can provide useful information about the status of your flight that the airline might not be able to. These tools can provide insight into potential delays and their causes, such as weather or air traffic, which can help you better manage your expectations.
5. Contact the airline by phone. If you need immediate assistance rebooking, the airline’s customer service agents will be able to help more than airport agents can. However, airport lines may be shorter. Have your flight information ready when you call. Be patient but persistent if put on long hold.
6. Know your passenger rights. Airlines must abide by certain rules around delays and cancellations under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations.This includes offering food vouchers for extended periods of delay. Research your rights in advance so you can advocate for yourself if issues arise.
7. Bring food, entertainment, and essentials. Have snacks, empty water bottles, books, portable chargers, and anything else you might need to withstand a multi-hour wait. Pack extra medications and phone chargers in your carry-on bag just in case. Being prepared can definitely ease the stress!
8. Get comfortable and monitor gates closely. Stake out a good spot to sit near your departure gate with access to power outlets. Keep your eyes and ears open for announcements about your flight. Trying to rest or work can help pass the time.
9. Stay calm and polite with airport staff. Flight delays and cancellations are frustrating, but they are not the fault of the gate agents or airport staff. Being kind and understanding in your interactions will get you much farther in resolving issues. Save your frustration for airline customer service, not airport employees.
10. Remember, staff are doing their best in difficult situations. Weather delays, air traffic congestion, mechanical issues—these problems are out of the control of most airline and airport employees. Recognize that they are likely stressed about the situation too, but they are working to get passengers safely on their way.
Flight delays and cancellations are never pleasant, but hopefully these tips can relieve some of the stress. By staying informed, being proactive, and keeping your cool, you can handle even the most difficult airport situations successfully. With the right approach, you may even find airport delays provide an unexpected chance to catch your breath between travels. Safe travels!
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