Few things are as frustrating as having a flight canceled after you’ve made all the arrangements to take a trip. If you find yourself caught in this situation, there are steps you can take to make the situation more bearable.
It’s especially important to learn tips for canceled flights as weather conditions have become more unpredictable in recent years and airlines canceled more flights during the global pandemic. And the other causes of flight delays are still in play, including computer glitches and staff shortages.
The following looks at some tips for canceled flights to keep in mind as you seek to avoid common air travel mistakes. You want to have options in case the worst happens, and you must deal with a cancellation or lengthy delay.
Tips for Canceled Flights
You’ve booked your flights and the hotel at your destination. You’ve rearranged your schedule to accommodate some time away from home. You might even have already arrived at the airport. Then comes the bad news: the airline has canceled your flight.
It’s an inconvenient situation, to say the least. Once you’ve gotten over the anger and frustration (this may take a few moments) consider the following tips for canceled flights.
Always Make a Last-Minute Check
This first tip actually addresses what happens before a cancellation. That’s because while news of a flight cancellation is unwelcome in all circumstances, it’s far worse when you’ve left your home or hotel and are sitting in the airport terminal. It’s also typically easier to make new arrangements from home than it is at the airport because of the crowds.
A good way to know about cancellations or delays early is by signing up with your airline’s text alerts. That typically ensures you will be among the first to know if an airline cancels or delays your flight.
Should You Rebook Immediately?
This is the first and most important decision. Should you seek a refund on your flight and try another time to make your trip? Or should you immediately try to book another flight? Each travel itinerary has its own details, but factors for this decision generally include when the next flight is available, whether the trip included a connecting flight that you can still make, and if a delay will require making changes to your return plans (and require you to pay the dog sitter for another day or two).
Act As Quickly As Possible
If you decide to immediately book another flight, now is not the time for hesitation. Once you see the notification of a cancellation, immediately get into line to talk with an agent while you (or someone else in your party) also calls the airline. You want to pursue every avenue to book a new flight as quickly as possible. While it may not seem fair, this is a “first come, first served” situation.
Keep in mind that most airlines will rebook you on the next flight to your destination for free if your flight is canceled. Also, if you work with a flight coordinator, they can help you quickly make new arrangements.
Do The Research
Using your phone, you or someone in your party can start looking up alternative flights to your destination as you wait in line to talk to an agent or wait on hold on the phone. Knowing your options when you talk to the agent will help them work more quickly to solve your problem. Also, as pointed out by CNN Travel, having a good attitude will make an agent who hears nothing but complaints all day work harder and faster on your behalf.
Know Your Rights
A step too few people take when they fly is to review the cancellation policy of the airline. U.S. law requires airlines to refund passengers for unused tickets caused by canceled flights. For a long delay, they may not have to offer a refund, depending on the cause of the delay (such as anything deemed an “act of God,” like bad weather). However, most airlines make every effort to accommodate passengers, so read the cancellation policy of your airline to know the steps to take.
These tips for canceled flights can make the experience slightly less terrible, and also help you get to your destination as quickly as possible should you choose to continue with your trip. Flight cancellations and delays are more common than ever lately, but preparation is key to handling them in the best way possible.