26 Mar How to Handle the Headaches of a Flight Delay
There are few words more upsetting for the average traveler to hear than “cancellation” or “delay”. Although airlines are becoming more efficient than ever, it’s safe to say that cancellations and delays are still a common part of life for frequent flyers. Even if you don’t find yourself in the sky very often, statistics suggest that most people will encounter a delay at some point during their lives.
While any type of travel interruption won’t be fun for you and your family, (unless you’re heavily compensated) it’s worth noting that there are things that you can do to reduce the headaches of the standard delay, and potentially improve your chances of getting onto a new flight faster. Here are our top tips to keep in mind.
Track your flight
Worried about flying during a time with bad weather forecasted? Make sure that you’re the first to know about any travel problems by tracking your flight. There are plenty of applications that can help with this, and they’re absolutely free to add to your smartphone. You can even find out whether the airline that you’re traveling with has their own app.
If your airline does have an app, this will also give you a quick way to get in touch with customer support and re-plan your itinerary if something goes wrong. Just remember, you should still turn up for your flight on time if it’s delayed unless your airline tells you to do otherwise.
Go to the airport lounge
The thought of an airport delay often conjures up images of sitting on a cold floor and waiting for hours at a time just for an update. Although an airport lounge might not speed up your delay experience, it will at least give you an extra dose of comfort while you wait. Alongside convenient accessories like power outlets and available Wi-Fi, airport lounges also come with comfy seats and snacks. Hopefully you’ve packed some basics in your hand luggage but if you haven’t, the lounge will keep you entertained for a while.
Additionally, while you’re in an airport lounge, you’ll be given first-class treatment. That means that you’ll be the first to know if there are any alternative flights available and whether you can get a seat on one.
Tweet and call while you’re in line
The first thing that most people do after they hear about a flight delay is join a line to speak to an airline representative. While this is usually a good move, it’s also important to improve your chances of getting in contact with the right people as quickly as possible. Call your airline while you’re in line, and if possible, post something on their Facebook or Twitter walls too.
Most airlines have very responsive social media teams that help them to protect their hard-won reputation. If you post a complaint on a social platform, you’re sure to get a response from someone very quickly.
Find a hotel room
If your flight has been completely cancelled, or you know that you’re going to be grounded overnight, it pays to start looking for accommodation for you and your family on your smartphone as quickly as possible. If you wait too long, there’s a good chance that other people will snap up a room before you. Remember, if you’re not sure whether you’re going to need a hotel room, you can still book one with a website that allows you to book for free and pay when you arrive.
This way, you’ll know that you have accommodation available if you need it. Remember, don’t look for the most luxurious room. If the hotel agrees to pay for your accommodation, they will expect the room that you pick to be reasonably priced.
Look for alternate routes
Finally, while you’re on your phone searching for airport information and available hotel rooms, it makes sense to see if there are any alternative routes available from different airports or airlines. If your airline is struggling to find seats for all of their customers on alternative flights, and you can show them that you’ve found an open spot to your destination, they might do what they can to transfer you – even if that means paying for your transport to a different airport.
The more you can assist your airline agents with getting you and your family to wherever you want to be on time, the more appreciative they’ll be. They may even be willing to upgrade you to a better quality of seat if that’s the only alternative option you can find. However, you might have to be extra polite to swing this!