In the wake of the pandemic that shook the world in 2020, the world has become all too familiar with canceled and delayed flights. There are several reasons why your flight might be canceled, including bad weather, heavy air traffic, security issues, etc.
When the pandemic hit the world in 2020, the airline industry was one of the worst hit. Planes worldwide were grounded because of a lack of demand and travel restrictions. Airlines urged senior pilots, flight attendants, and other airline employees to retire early and furloughed others. In total, the industry lost more than 400,00 workers. Now, with travel back in full force, airlines don't have the amount of staff they need to keep up with the demand.
On top of staffing shortages, the summer months bring thunderstorms and the start of the hurricane season. These conditions make flying and landing a hazard, so the only option is to cancel flights.
Considering all this, airlines have had to ground flights, delay some and cancel some outright to cope. Flight cancellations or delays can be frustrating and cause panic in your travel party; this is understandable.
But knowledge is power. Knowing what to do may help ease your concerns, so here are a few things you can do if you find yourself with a canceled or delayed flight.
- While a lot of flight delays and cancellations are unexpected, there's no harm in checking your flight status while you're still at home or in your hotel room. Save yourself the trouble of being stranded at the airport.
- If you're already at the airport when you find out the news, immediately make your way to your airline's customer service desk and get in line. Re-booking you is a first-come, first-serve service.
- While in the line, call your carrier. Depending on how far back you are, you might be able to reach an agent faster on the phone.
- Contact your hotel. If your flight delay/cancellation causes you to arrive at your hotel after your reservation date, you'll need to inform the hotel. If they don't hear from you, they may consider you a no-call/no-show, cancel your reservation, or apply penalties.
- If flight delays have caused you to miss your connections in a foreign country, don't immediately book a hotel. Research that country's travel restriction first. They may have a vaccine or testing requirement, meaning you cannot leave the airport.
- Look for an airport lounge. Being stuck in a crowded airport is not ideal. But you can make the best out of a bad situation by heading to the nearest airport lounge. You'll be able to stretch out, have some privacy, and recharge your body and your electronics.
- While airlines will rebook you on the next possible flight, they aren't always required to reimburse your other expenses like meals and hotel stay. While your airline might not cover your costs, your travel insurance will. Travel insurance covers costs incurred during a trip interruption (like flight delays), including food and drinks. If your delay extends past 12 hours, they'll also reimburse your accommodation and transport costs.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself in the case of travel delays is purchase travel insurance.
Of course, using a travel agent to book your next trip can help ease your burden if your flight is canceled or delayed. Calling the airline, recommending an airport lounge, contacting your resort, and helping you purchase that crucial travel insurance plan, are just a few of the many ways a travel agent can help you in this situation.
So, when you're ready to book your next trip and ensure you have support if things go awry, be sure to contact me.