You are going to your destination on schedule, whether for business or vacation, and you had prepared for your trip and had everything you needed to start your trip. When you get to the airport, you check the departure board and discover that your flight has been canceled.
An airport delay can be frustrating and exhausting. Flight delays are more prevalent than you would believe due to extreme weather, crew shortages, technical difficulties, airport construction, and security concerns.
What do you do now that you’re stuck at the airport? This indeed frustrates you since you arrived at the airport early to get to your destination sooner. However, flight delays are unforeseeable.
According to the Department of Transportation, domestic flight schedules in the United States were delayed by 41% in 2020.
There are various options for dealing with the problem of flight cancellations and airport delays. Since these problems are common, knowing your options can help you choose the best course of action for your circumstance.
It also depends on the airline you’re traveling with, where you’re flying from/to, and your class price. You have to handle an airplane delay or cancellation on a case-by-case basis.
If you’re stranded on your travel for business or leisure because your flight is delayed or canceled, here are five professional advice and recommendations you can do.
5 Things You Need To Do If You’re Stuck at The Airport
Know Your Flight Rights
The first thing you need to do when you find out you have an airport delay is know your rights. It’s essential to understand your passenger rights to recover from travel delays.
While all airlines have the same passenger rights set by government regulation, no rule or federal legislation in the United States defines what rights you have if your flight is canceled.
However, if you’re flying anywhere from Europe, according to EU Regulation 261, a passenger has rights should a flight be delayed or canceled and may be compensated if eligible.
If the airport delay is due to a mechanical fault, you should review the terms of your airline’s contract of carriage, which is a legal agreement between you and the airline. When dealing with cancellations, your rights are primarily dependent on the airlines’ contracts of carriage and corresponding general contract law standards.
In other words, your alternatives in the case of an airport delay may differ based on the airline you booked and where you’re traveling from.
On every airline, you have two fundamental contractual rights for frequent cancellations. All airlines should provide you with a spot on the next available flight or a refund for the amount of your unused ticket.
Because the details differ by contract, some airlines may go out of their way to make you feel better and maintain you as a satisfied client, while others may perform the bare minimum needed. However, many airlines provide no rights if flights are canceled due to circumstances beyond their control, such as weather conditions.
Get a Delayed Flight Compensation or Refund
When a technical breakdown or anything beyond the airline’s control causes your flight to be canceled, the airline may provide you with delayed flight compensation and further help. In such a situation, you are usually entitled to a full refund of the remaining value of your airfare cost.
The refund should be made the same way you paid for the ticket – by credit card, bank account, or cash. The amount of compensation depends on the country from which you are departing.
It is not defined what constitutes a significant delay that can lead to getting compensation. Because each flight and cancellation or delay is unique, you should check with the airline to see if they can compensate for your problem or not.
The duration of the airport delay, the length of the trip, the airline you have chosen, and your specific circumstances all play a role in determining whether you are eligible for a refund or not. It varies on a case-by-case basis.
You might get up to €600 ($700) in compensation if you experience an airport delay. You don’t have to pay any money to avail it.
You might also request a refund in addition to the possible compensation. If your connecting flight is canceled, and you want to cancel your trip altogether, certain airlines can give you a free return flight back to your departure location and a full refund of your ticket price.
Get Information About The Next Available Flights
One of the simplest and most usual remedies to an airport delay is to take the next available seat. Airlines usually choose this route to get you to your destination quickly.
Most airlines will give an open seat in the same class as the original trip on their next departure to your destination. If no seats are remaining in your initial class, they may offer you a ticket in a higher class at no additional cost.
However, they may also give you a seat in the lower class in such a case. They must refund you the difference if the available seat ticket is in a lower class.
Airlines may also offer you a trip with different stopover locations or reroute you to another airport near your intended destination. If there are no seats available on that specific airline, they may offer the next available seat on a partner airline if that is the most convenient choice.
Airlines generally avoid switching you to a partner airline, but depending on the severity of the problem, they may be willing to do so. In the end, it all comes down to the airline’s choice and contract.
You must remain vigilant about the status of your new flight arrangements. The airline will most likely book you on the next available flight to your destination and may not notify you of this.
To obtain an update on your progress, call or check customer support as soon as your flight gets canceled.
In the case of an airport delay, an airline may inform customers that the delay will continue for some hours and then abruptly announce over the PA system that they will be boarding soon. A flight can be undelayed suddenly, and you should be prepared if this occurs.
If the delay is only a few hours, it is best not to fall asleep until your next flight, as you will miss any new information on the status of your flight and may end up missing it.
Be Patient With The Customer Service Agents
In the event of an airport delay, be kind and respectful to individuals attempting to help you, whether in person, over the phone, or on social media, and you’ll better get accommodated. You could even get an upgrade on your next journey if you do so.
Always talk to the airline’s representative about your alternatives and be patient. Many agents will strive to assist you in every way, but they cannot do certain things without compromising their jobs.
Being calm and understanding with the agent works wonderfully, and they almost always go out of their way to help you. Sometimes, an airport delay is unforeseeable!
Spend Some Quality Time At The Airport
Lastly, if you arrived at the airport before your flight was canceled, you can take advantage of the opportunity to explore the airport’s attractions. Denver International Airport offers a free outdoor ice skating rink (even skate rentals are free).
There are more than 60 extraordinary works of art exhibited at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and a self-guided walking tour is available. The world-famous Rijksmuseum has set up exhibitions of Dutch masterpieces at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in addition to Terminal 3 at Singapore’s Changi International Airport which has a four-story slide.
Moreover, airports are excellent locations for people-watching and, of course, plane-spotting. They’re also an excellent spot to work out, as several airports now include free gyms and yoga studios you can take advantage of.
In the case of an airport delay, you can also shop at duty-free shops or eat snacks to pass your time till the next flight. If you’re too bored, we have a list of things to do to keep you entertained at the airport!
An airport delay and cancellations can be frustrating, and they require you to be prepared beforehand. Hopefully, you will not have to deal with a cancellation, but if you do, you now understand your rights, your best alternatives, and what to expect from the situation.