It's easy to feel yourself tumbling into a state of panic when you hear those horrifying words at the airport, "Flight Cancelled." After all, whether you're on your way to a family holiday, or you're waiting to get home after a long trip, no-one likes to spend unnecessary hours waiting around for someone to tell them that they can finally board.
1. Know Your Compensation Rights
2. Do Your Homework
3. Book Flights with Care
4. Prep for Each Flight
5. Manage the Crisis with Care
Although there's a good chance that you'll be able to get some compensation for your troubles if the flight your taking is from or to somewhere in the EU, that might not make you feel a lot better straight away. On the other hand, the following steps could ensure that you feel confident and empowered the next time you find yourself in a travel-related bind.
As mentioned above, if you're flying within the EU, then the good news is that you do have some rights when it comes to compensation. Although the amount of support you're entitled to can vary depending on who you fly with, you should be eligible for something if your flight is cancelled or delayed for a period of three hours or more.
Importantly, you will only be eligible for compensation if the reason or your flight cancellation was under the control of the airline. In other words, you might not get anything if you're grounded because of a bad weather condition or something similar.
Before you even book your flight, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of a travel disaster. For instance, you can research the cancelled-flight and on-time-arrival records for your chosen airlines. Though this won't tell you for certain whether your flight will be cancelled or not, it can at least help you to choose someone to fly with who has a good history.
At the same time, it's worth looking into other airports close-by that you may be able to drive to if they can offer you a flight in the case of an emergency. The more research you do before your flight date arrives, the more likely you are to be ready for anything when disaster strikes.
Another thing you can do to reduce your risk of a flight cancellation is make sure that you book your travel plans with care. For instance, although it can be much cheaper to pay for a connect-flight, you'll be much better off with a direct trip if you do happen to be hit by a delay or cancellation. The more connections you have, the more risk you have of facing a problem.
At the same time, it's a good idea to make sure that you book the first flight of the day whenever you can. Late flights are generally more likely to suffer from compounded issues caused by backlogs throughout the day.
Prepping for your flights will help you to ensure that you have a very limited risk of encountering any unforeseen problems. For instance, when you book your trip, you can sign up for flight alerts to be sent straight to your phone whenever there's the chance that something could go wrong. You can also download the airline's app if they have one to keep an eye on your plane.
Another way to make sure that you're prepped for your flight is to check the weather in both your starting and finishing destinations. Watch out for any storms that might be coming your way, and make sure that you pack a carry-on, rather than taking all of your luggage in a large suitcase if you can manage it. If you can move quickly after a flight cancellation, you could be one of the first people to get a seat with another airline.
Finally, as soon as you hear about a delay or cancellation, start taking steps to fix the issue. Speak to a customer service agent on the phone or on social media instead of waiting in a huge line. Alternatively, you can try connecting with someone over your app.
Remember, whatever happens, it's important to be polite. It's probably not the airline employee's fault that something went wrong with your travel plans. The best thing you can do is treat these people with care and respect, as that will make it more likely that they'll want to go above and beyond to help you. However, make sure that you do keep a note of their name so you can refer to it later in discussions about compensation.