A cancelled or delayed flight is sure to be a huge source of stress and worry for any traveller. Whether you’re heading home with the kids after a family holiday, or you’ve been away on a business trip, the last thing you want is to be sitting in a terminal for hours at a time, waiting for someone to tell you what you can do next.
Unfortunately, as stressful as travel delays and cancellations might be -they do happen. Staff shortages, weather problems and system failures can all cause serious issues with your flight plans, and if you’re trapped in somewhere far away from home, it’s easy to start panicking. The good news is that taking some time to breathe deep and remember your rights should ensure that you come out of your tricky situation in one piece.
- Don’t Let it Ruin your Trip
The worst thing you can do when you see the word “Cancelled” or “Delayed” flashing on a departure screen, is lose your cool. After a fun trip with your friends, or even a lucrative company meeting, you don’t want to end up trudging home with a face like thunder. Stay calm and remember that these things do happen – you will get home eventually, and you could find that you’re entitled to compensation for your trouble too.
Keeping your mood in check will also help to ensure that you’re the first person to get assistance when flight attendants can start helping people, as they’re likely to avoid angry customers like the plague.
- Know Your Rights
As a passenger flying over seas – you do have rights, and it’s important to know what they are so you can get the compensation you deserve. According to details laid out for people in the EU, or those flying from or to an EU country, you should be eligible for compensation if your flight is delayed by three hours or more.
Generally, compensation is reserved for flights that are cancelled or delayed because of something that’s within the airport’s control. In other words, the airline isn’t going to pay you because a terrible storm meant that they couldn’t take off. Though the rules about compensation vary from one location and airline to another, most airlines will be required to provide you with another source of transport, accommodation, food, and drink when a flight is cancelled.
- Don’t Stay Silent
While it’s a common British practice to simply hold your tongue when something goes wrong, this isn’t the approach you need to take when it comes to dealing with flight delays and cancellations. Instead, you should be focusing on speaking to as many people as possible and getting the information you need to improve your situation.
Whether it’s the airline staff in the terminal who you talk to about the next flight you can be switched over too, or the customer service agents handling online social accounts, get speaking to the right people as soon as possible. Calling your airline could help you to skip any queues in the airline terminal itself.
- Be Polite But Firm
Crucially, while you need to have conversations with the right people to get your situation sorted as fast as possible, it’s important to make sure that you’re approaching representatives in the right mood. Take a deep breath if you’re feeling angry and remind yourself that it’s probably not the agent’s fault that your flight was delayed or cancelled in the first place.
Maintain a calm air and keep a note of who you speak to and where – you can use this information later if you get into any trouble. Remember, your airline needs to get you where you need to go by law, but some may advise you to make your own arrangements, and they’ll compensate you later. If that’s the case, you’ll need to keep records.
Even if you’re not paying for your own transportation home, it’s worth making a habit of keeping track of as much information as possible. Being able to prove that you definitely experienced a three-hour delay and had to pay for your own food while you waited could help you significantly when you’re claiming compensation.
If you’re making alternative arrangements for yourself, always choose the cheapest options possible, and record the details of anyone who advises you that you’ll need to pay for yourself.