With thousands of flights delayed as a result of the continuing bad weather in the Northeast and Midwest, we thought now might be a good time to revisit some tried and tested tips on how to deal with a flight cancellation.
While it is true there is little recourse for passengers who experience a flight cancellation due to inclement weather, there are some things you can do to help improve your situation.
Here is a rundown of our Top 5:
#1: Provide appropriate contact information
Airlines will often reach out to booked passengers well in advance if a flight is canceled – sometimes even before you are at the airport. So why battle the elements with a premature trip to the airport when you can stay warm where you are for a few more hours? All you have to do is provide the right contact information and be sure to check your email and voicemail.
#2: Set-Up Access to Flight Notifications
Almost every airline has a mobile app or email alert function that will update you on the status of flight delays and cancellations. You can set these services up individually with each airline or download the FlightTrack app from Mobiata which covers 3,000 airports and 1,400 airlines.
# 3: Have a Back-Up Plan
You have checked-in for your flight and cleared security, only to hear an announcement that your flight has been canceled. The airline will advise you to visit a customer service desk to re-book your flight. But it is important to realize that 200 people will be trying to do the very same thing. So, as you make your way over to customer service, you should pull out your phone and call your airline’s customer service number. Re-booking with an agent on the phone will give you a better chance of getting on a good flight, including the opportunity to find a more convenient flight than the one the airline has automatically booked for you.
#4: Look at other options
If your original carrier’s flights are already booked up by other passengers, request a flight on a competing carrier. It is a good idea to pull up a list of competing carriers’ schedules and flight numbers (if you can) while waiting in line. A good app to have in your back pocket is Next Flight. It searches for all available flights from more than 1,200 airline carriers and 4,200 airports worldwide.
#5: Make Flight Delays Less Painful
Equip yourself with the GateGuru airport maps to find the best food and shopping options while you wait for your next flight. Scott Mayerowitz of the Associate Press also recommends buying a one-day pass to the airline lounge. Not only are the surroundings more comfortable, but he says the on-duty ticket agents may be able to help you find empty seats on another flight.
Stay warm and happy travels!