Flight delays are something that no one can prepare for, but it’s an unfortunate reality that can affect everyone. Regardless of how cheap your flight was, how well you’ve planned your trip, how early you’ve woken up in order to get to the airport on time, or the state of the traffic on your way there, sometimes there are simply unexpected occurrences which are out of your control but nevertheless can affect your flight drastically. When these delays or cancellations occur, however, you’re not powerless. While the conditions which cause the delay are out of your control, the steps you take following the announcement can make all the difference. Below we’re going to outline what you should do in the event that your flight is delayed or cancelled.
Understand your passenger rights
Depending on where you’re flying to or from, the number of rights you enjoy as an air passenger will vary wildly. In the United States, for example, there’s not too much you can do about a delayed flight unless the airline you’re flying with has a Contract of Carriage, essentially a document which details the compensation you can expect to receive. If you’re flying to or from Europe, however, you’re legally entitled to receive a substantial amount of compensation if the delay or cancellation is a direct result of negligence on the airline’s part and not due to circumstances outside of their control such as the weather. Companies like AirHelp can help you claim this compensation for a delayed or cancelled flight or else you can contact the airline directly. Be warned that the latter step often involves hefty waiting times for a response, sometimes up to six weeks.
Check your connecting flight status
If you’re due to travel somewhere else after your initial flight it’s important that you check on your connecting flight immediately. Delayed flights can often have a knock-on effect, and if the delay is long enough it may cause you to miss your flight completely. If this is the fault of the airline then they will have to purchase a new flight on your behalf, but if you booked the two flights separately and the delay or cancellation was due to something outside of their control then you’ll unfortunately have to pay for a new connecting flight yourself.
Chow down on some free airport cuisine
Alongside monetary compensation, airlines often offer their passengers meal vouchers in the event of a lengthy delay. Usually only for delays longer than three hours, these meal vouchers are meant to satiate passengers while they wait in the terminal for their next flight. Take advantage of the opportunity if it comes your way, as these vouchers can only be used in the airport in which they’re issued. If you’re planning on pocketing them to use at your destination, you’re going to arrive not only late, but hungry too.
Don’t fall asleep
It can be tempting to get comfortable and rest your eyes, especially if the delay in question is a matter of hours – but don’t. While setting an alarm and getting some rest might seem like a good idea, the length of a delay can change on a whim, and you might need to go to your boarding gate sooner than expected.