Is there anything more likely to ruin a vacation or trip, than a delayed or cancelled flight? Whether you were trying to save money on your family vacation and your connecting flight got cancelled, or you’re staring at a “DELAYED” sign after a long business trip, the first thing you need to know is your rights.
As a passenger travelling within the EU, you should be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed for three hours or longer. While the promise of compensation might not get rid of all the stress associated with a cancelled flight straight away, it should help you to feel a little better when you finally arrive at home.
Once you know the compensation situation, you can take the following steps to make your travel experience as pain-free as possible.
1. Speak to Someone
The first thing you need to do when your flight is delayed or cancelled is speaking to the right person. This means that you need to talk to someone who knows more about your current delay than you. You can either get in line with the rest of the angry passengers who want to know what’s going to happen with them next, or you can speak to a representative on the phone.
Alternatively, there’s always the opportunity to try and connect with someone from your airline on social media. Most modern companies will have a social media team set up to help the airline manage its reputation when things go wrong.
2. Get Online
Another way to improve your chances of getting home faster is to get online. You’ll probably be browsing on your phone anyway to find out as much as you can about flight compensation and what you’re eligible for. While you’re at it, make sure that you research the next flight going out from your area, and see whether there are any available seats. You might be able to suggest options at different airports, or with alternative airlines to your flight rep to help them out.
Being flexible about your options can help you to get home a lot faster, particularly if you’re willing to drive down to another airport to catch a connecting flight. Just make sure that you keep track of everything, so you can claim for the fuel you used to get to the other airport when you’re getting your compensation.
3. Get Ahead of the Queue
We’ve already mentioned how you can avoid the queue to talk to a rep in person by going online, but you might be able to improve your situation even more by quickly signing up for a mile’s membership with the airline you choose to fly with. If you’re not a miles member already, many companies will provide a special number for their elite members to use in emergency situations so that you could get an answer quicker this way.
Many miles clubs are completely free to join, so there’s no harm in signing up and seeing what membership status gets you. You may find that you get one step ahead of other people in the queue for an alternative flight.
4. Keep Your Cool
It’s safe to say that cancellations and flight delays are stressful experiences to deal with, but it’s important to make sure that you don’t let the chaos of the situation get the better of you. While it’s normal to feel disappointed and angry, make sure that you take a couple of deep breaths and remind yourself that you’re in the same boat as a lot of people. Throwing a tantrum won’t get you home any faster.
Maintaining a calm and collected air will make it easier for you to hold a lucrative conversation with the flight representatives serving customers just like you. Gate agents are often particularly helpful to the travellers who stay calm and pleasant.
5. Travel Light
Finally, although it’s impossible to predict when a flight delay or cancellation is going to happen, you can make sure that you’re always prepared for the worst by packing light whenever you can. There’s plenty of good reasons to avoid checking bags. A carry-on bag can come with you wherever you go, which means that if your flight is suddenly delayed and you need to switch to another plane, you don’t have to worry about waiting for someone to find your luggage.
Packing light won’t necessarily get you on a new flight instantly, but it should mean that you’re in a better position when an alternative mode of travel becomes available.
Have you ever had a flight delayed or cancelled? If so, what did you do? What do you think of these tips? Can you add more to this list?
*Disclosure: Collaborative Post.
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