bad weather. Computer glitches. labor shortage. Oversold trips. economic inflation. Holiday crunches. This has been a difficult effort for many air travelers for most of 2022.
And it looks like the year is going to be a rough one as it came with a winter ‘bomb hurricane’ that could make travel in the week before Christmas Day a cold and messy chore. What if you are one of the unlucky passengers caught up in these events?
Here are some tips to help travelers navigate the system when flights are delayed or canceled whether due to staff shortages, weather or other issues. Practical tips are highlighted in bold:
Avoid being trapped in the airport
As bad as knowing your flight has been long delayed, or worse, canceled, it’s best to find out from the comfort of home or a hotel room and make new arrangements from there.
“Check the status of your flight before you go to the airport. Most of these notifications don’t happen at the last minute, said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. “Save yourself driving to the airport.”
SEE ALSO: Airlines issue travel waivers ahead of massive ‘bomb hurricane’ from wintry weather
You should, Keyes told CNN Travel in an interview Sign up for free airline text alerts regarding the status of flights when purchasing your ticket. You should also download your carrier’s app.
You can also put the airline and flight number directly into the Google search bar to retrieve status this way. This is also useful for friends or family who are ready to take you along.
Keys also suggested Check out the FlightAware website To track trends of the largest flights across the country.
If you are already at the airport
Sometimes delays and cancellations happen after you have arrived at the airport. Once bad news arrives, what should you do?
Keyes said to Head as quickly as possible to the airline agent’s office – And get ready to multitask while you’re in line.
Speed is a key word here. Keyes said: “It will make a first-come, first-served difference. It’s first-come, first-served. Placing yourself closer to the desk can pay off.”
Then you may like it Call your carrier while you’re waiting. Depending on where you are in line, Getting to a call center may be faster. “Whatever happens first, great,” he said.
Calls to US local numbers can have a really long wait. Keys suggested Try an international call center for your carrier instead.
“Most travelers based in the US would think nothing of calling Delta’s Canadian helpline. You might get to an agent much faster. They can all handle your reservations the same way.”
You can too Use of the self-service kiosksays American Airlines. Scan your boarding pass or enter your log locator to see your updated flight details. From there you can also switch your flight and print your new boarding passes.
Attitude and research are important
Whether you deal with an agent in person or on the phone, the way you handle things can make all the difference. This starts with the attitude.
“Honey attracts flies more than vinegar,” Keyes said. “Look at this from the perspective of the airline agents. They’ve been dealing with really angry customers since the pandemic started. It’s the agent who has the most ability to help you.
“He asks kindly and sympathetically You are more likely to get what you want than to be stupid about it.”
He had another piece of advice for when it’s your turn to talk to an agent about making new arrangements: “Come prepared to really make your own choices. Doing your own research is very helpful.”
Your agent can expedite things if you’ve already researched new approaches and potential suggestions while you’re waiting. Be ready to explain what you want.
If you booked through Expedia or another third party site, you will have to deal with them when there is a cancellation.
If the price is the same, I suggest you Keyes Book directly with the airline. In case something goes wrong, they “make it more complicated with multiple sets of policies” when you book through a third party.
She suggests US PIRG, a consumer advocacy group Avoid pauses when booking if possible. The more you stop, the higher the chances that something will go wrong.
The group also supports advice from Keyes for Be nice and polite to customers But also says consumers should Be persistent in trying to resolve the situation satisfactorily.
Help from other airlines
Co-operation between airlines can be in your favor.
When flights are cancelled, many airlines have a choice It puts you on another airline’s flight Because they have joint agreements,” Lawson Smith, product operations specialist at Scott’s Cheap Flights, told CNN Travel in June 2022.
“That means, for example, if Delta is having a service outage but a US carrier is taking a flight to your destination, you might be able to get on that flight.”
“If you choose not to stay on a later flight and book a new ticket out of your own pocket, you’re entitled to a cashback, even though it may not help you get where you want to go,” Smith said. “As we all know, last-minute flights are expensive.”
Trapped for the night
What do you do if it looks like you won’t be able to travel until the next day and you’re not in your city?
“Ask the airline to put you in a hotel or give you a hotel voucher. they may; Maybe not. “It is not required by law,” Keyes said.
He said they are less likely to do so if it has to do with the weather, than if the problem is a mechanical problem with the plane or staffing issues.
What you may get depends on the airline itself and the specific circumstances of why the flight was cancelled.
Learn about the policies. For example, Delta Airlines says it will provide a hotel voucher in some circumstances if travel is interrupted more than four hours after the scheduled departure time when the delay is between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Whatever you do, Keyes said, at least ask. It is unlikely that you will be offered a voucher for hotels and even ground transportation and only meals.
In some cases, airlines will provide accommodations for you, Smith said, but it’s a case-by-case basis and can never be guaranteed.
Also, your credit card may be your friend in this situation.
“The good news is that Many credit cards offer travel protection Like reimbursement in the event that canceling a trip forces you to get a hotel, meals, and so on, Smith said. “These travel protections are usually included automatically as long as you use the card to pay for your trip. Google your credit card plus travel protections to see what specific offers your card carries.”
If your flight is delayed rather than canceled outright, You may want to consider whether you will be waiting at the airport. Depending on your personal circumstances, staying there for five or six hours may be easier than going to and from the hotel. As Keyes said, Check if there is a hotel inside the airport.
The Points Guy advises trying to get into the airport lounge if you can, where you can recharge your phone and rest more easily.
Travel insurance and receipts
Consider buying travel insuranceairport parking reservations, advises in an email to CNN Travel.
She said, “Most travel insurance policies provide additional cover for travel-related uncertainties. Additional [coverage] It usually becomes applicable if your flight is delayed more than 12 hours due to a strike, bad weather or mechanical failure.
The site also advises that you do so Keep any receipts for airport purchases. You can try to get a refund from the airline later.
But keep the basics. “Airlines only pay for ‘reasonable’ expenses, so they are not likely to get a refund for purchases like alcohol, expensive meals, or extravagant hotels.”
Your flight refund entitlements
says the US Department of Transportation You are entitled to a refund of the cost of your ticket due to a cancellation or ‘significant delay’. And you choose not to travel.
This is the policy regardless of the reason why the airline canceled or delayed the flight. However, what constitutes a “significant delay” remains open to interpretation.
According to the DOT website, it “has not specifically specified what constitutes a ‘significant delay.'” Whether you’re entitled to a refund depends on many factors — including the length of the delay, the length of the flight, and your circumstances. If you are entitled to a refund after significant delay on a case by case basis.”
CNN Wire ™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc. , a WarnerMedia company. All rights reserved.
#flight #canceled #delayed #prepare #potential #holiday #travel #chaos