Air travel, just like any other mode of transportation, can suffer delays and cancellations. It’s a nightmare. No one really wants a delayed or canceled flight because it’s annoying, exhausting, and expensive.
Several reasons a flight might get delayed or canceled include bad weather, short staffing, and unexpected machine failures. While this can get really stressful, airlines cancel or delay flights for your safety, and you can’t do anything about it but wait.
You always have the option to give up the flight and try the next day again, but if taking that flight is important, you have to do something about it ASAP. You can’t predict how your booked flight will go, but there are several ways you can get around these potential delays and cancellations.
1. Get the earliest flight
If you’re not a morning person, this strategy will surely be your least favorite. However, flying in the morning and on the earliest flight of the day can guarantee you fewer chances of experiencing delays and cancellations.
Historically, flights that fall between 6 a.m. and noon are the most critical, so they face fewer problems. Most delays and cancellations happen because of maintenance issues or bad weather, so delays usually pile up at later times of the day, like afternoon flights. Night schedules, on the other hand, will make it harder for you because delays may cause you to wait overnight.
Morning flights allow you more flexibility to navigate your options in the event that flights get delayed or canceled. You can always get back that lost sleeping time when you board the plane to your next destination.
2. Connect with the airline
Whatever the problem with your flight is, always check with the airline before anything else. Some flight delays and cancellations can cause panic, and things can get heated. Don’t just listen to what others around you are saying; try to communicate with airport staff or approach the help desk so they can guide you accordingly.
Expect that it might get crowded and the staff will have a hard time handling everyone, try to call the airlines even when you’re at the airport. By doing this, you can avoid joining the crowd at the flight assistance desks, which might result in a stampede. While queue lines are horrible during flight issues, you might get a better chance to converse with the airport personnel when you contact them by phone.
3. Check online websites and apps
Almost all airlines now have their own online website or app where you can register, book, check-in, and even receive updates on your flight’s status. It’s helpful to use an online site or app so you can do the monitoring yourself.
When you check your flight online, most apps and sites will notify you about the status, and you’ll also know whether there are delays or cancellations. You can plan your next move after you have all the necessary details.
Another important use of having the airline’s website and the app is that you can personally process the rebooking of your flights in instances where there are confirmed delays and cancellations. This way, you don’t have to join the long lines for rebooking. However, it’s still important to connect with the airlines so you can confirm if there are changes that the website or app failed to update.
4. Explore the airport
In some cases, the delays and cancellations are due to bad weather or other high risk concerns, and there’s a high possibility that it will take longer to fix the flight schedules. Don’t stress yourself and your body by staying near the gates or the desks for a long time. The airline will notify you once there are updates, so it’s better to find a place to stay and pass the time.
If possible, you can ask the airport staff if they can give you a pass to one of their lounges. You can also try asking them if they have any designated areas that are much more comfortable to stay in. You have to let your body and mind rest to think of your next move better. Find some power stations or outlets so you can recharge your devices.
If the traveler’s lounge is full, try exploring the airport. Airports are usually lined up with stations and shops like coffee shops and restaurants where you can stay for a while. Try to score some WiFi so you can kill time surfing the net while waiting for further updates. While on it, monitor the weather so you know what to expect.
5. Set longer layovers
If your vacation destination requires longer flights, you might need to opt for a stopover. If possible, you should take a non-stop flight so that you don’t have to worry about missing your connecting flights due to delays. One flight will lessen the trouble, but it could get more expensive.
If you don’t have a non-stop flight option, it’s better to schedule long layovers. Set enough time between connecting flights so you won’t be stressed about missing the next one. You will have to undergo customs and other checking processes with stopovers. Don’t rely on an hour allowance; make it two to three hours so you can take a breath and check things thoroughly while transferring flights.
Another pro-tip is not to plan anything the day after your scheduled flight. Some may have something reserved in advance before they reach their destination. Avoid making reservations or any plans a day after the flight, because some delays may take half a day or longer to fix, and you might miss your travel plans.
6. Avoid large luggages
It will be hard to fit in all those OOTDs if your luggage is too small. However, a carry-on bag is better when flights are delayed or canceled. Baggage check is one of the most time-consuming ordeals, and it worsens if you’re running after your connecting flight. Another disadvantage of having a lot of luggage is that it can affect your rebooking of flights because the airline needs to ensure that you and your bags will be together on the flight, so it may take a while for you.
Pack lightly or choose roomy hand carry bags so you can fit as much as you can within the limit. You have to be practical, so your vacation plans will go smoothly.
7. Secure travel insurance
Don’t go into a battle without a backup plan. In this case, don’t plan a trip without securing insurance. Travel insurance coverage differs between companies. You will thank yourself for getting one when you’re faced with a flight delay or cancellation. Read through the conditions of the travel insurance and check their policy for delayed and canceled flights.
Most travel insurance policies will cover or reimburse you for the expenses incurred due to delayed flights, like food and hotel accommodations. The coverage will vary depending on the validity of the reasons. Check with your provider so you can make the best of it.
8. Be nice
Delayed and canceled flights can have the worst effects on people. Some will take out their anger on the airline staff or their co-passengers. Whatever happens, always try to keep your cool. Avoid picking fights or shouting at the staff or other people simply because you’re annoyed.
It doesn’t hurt to be friendly, and sometimes it pays. Be kind to those that are assisting you. Some staff will appreciate your kindness and will arrange your request faster. This will increase your chances of getting on to the next flight or even getting upgraded. Because there are delays, the airline will usually find empty seats to squeeze some people in to reduce the number of stranded passengers, so try to get on their good side. The same goes with your co-passengers. Be good to them because they might be able to help and assist you when you’re lost.
No one really wants flight delays and cancellations because they can hinder our perfect vacation plans. But we can’t predict the unpredictable, and some things can happen outside your capacity. Don’t ruin your planned trip by stressing over the whole flight. You can’t stop air travel issues, but there are always ways to get through them and continue with your vacation getaway.