How Do You Handle Delayed and Canceled Flights?

 Airline timetables aren’t guaranteed, so plan accordingly. Many things can and do delay flights. Bad weather, air traffic delays, and mechanical maintenance are beyond the carriers’ control.

Find out how late your flight is if it’s delayed. Remember that airlines can’t always predict a delay’s duration in its early stages. In “creeping delays,” unexpected developments occur after the carrier’s initial delay estimate.

Flight delays due to unpredictable bad weather

Weather that was predicted to improve can worsen, or a mechanical problem can be more complex than expected. If the weather or air traffic control is bad, all flights will be late and there’s not much you or the airline can do.

If your plane has a mechanical problem or the crew is delayed on an incoming trip, you may want to reschedule if you won’t be charged a cancellation fee or a higher ticket. (It’s quicker to make such arrangements by phone than at a ticket counter.)

Delayed flight, what options do you have?

Ask the original airline to approve your ticket to the new carrier if you locate a cheaper flight. There’s no regulation requiring this, though. Persistence helps you arrive on time.

Most airlines will rebook you on the next available flight to your destination if your flight is canceled. If the delay is considerable, ask the original airline to endorse your ticket on another carrier. Holidays and other popular travel seasons can make finding extra seats difficult.

There are no government restrictions on what airlines must do for delayed passengers at the airport. Ask the airline if they’ll pay for meals or phone calls if you’re delayed. Some airlines, especially those with low tickets, don’t help stranded passengers. Others may not give amenities if bad weather or another factor causes the delay.

Airlines aren’t compelled to pay delayed or canceled passengers, contrary to popular assumption. Only when a flight is oversold is compensation required. Airlines rarely compensate passengers for flight delays. If you need to finish a business deal, give a speech, attend a family function, or be at a time-sensitive event, pick an earlier flight.

In other words, flight delays and cancellations are common, so defensive counter-planning is a good idea. Early flights are less likely to be delayed due to “ripple” effects throughout the day.

You have additional rerouting choices if an early flight is delayed or canceled. Getting trapped overnight if your last flight is canceled. Because of the convenient departure schedule or reduced ticket, you may choose a connecting over a nonstop or direct flight.

Changing aircraft always risks a misconnection. If you have a choice of connections, choose the one with the least-congested airport so you can get to your second flight. When choosing between connected cities, consider the weather.

Always check flight times when making a connection. If you don’t like the response, choose another flight or ask the agent to “build” a longer connection.

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