There are some things in life that you simply can’t control. No matter how carefully you prepare for your next family holiday or big trip, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong, and you’ll be left unable to board your plane on time. Sometimes, the issue is something simple, like a minor technical fault that leaves you waiting around in the airport for an extra half hour. Other times, the problem is far more severe, and you could be faced with lengthy delays, or even cancellations.
Fortunately, though you might not be able to stop a delay or cancellation from happening, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t prepare yourself to get the support and compensation that you deserve. This guide will help you to deal with delays and cancellations the right way.
Remember that the Reason for the Delay is Important
The first thing you need to know is that the reason for your flight delay or cancellation is crucial when it comes to determining whether you’re going to get any compensation. The EU guidelines for traveller compensation dictate that you’re eligible to some money back from the airline that you booked with, along with vouchers for food and drink if your flight is delayed by more than 3 hours. However, that delay needs to be caused by something that was within the control of the airline.
If you’re delayed because your airline accidentally overbooked your flight, or there’s a problem with a technical fault on the airline, then they owe you compensation. However, if the delay is caused by something that the airline can’t control, such as a staff strike or a problem with the weather, then your airline won’t need to pay you anything. However, they’ll still need to do their best to get you to your destination, and they may still provide you with food and drink vouchers.
Know Your Rights
The best thing you can do when you’re facing a delay or cancellation for your flight is find out as much as you can about the airline’s policy. You can do this by heading online and looking up the details that might have been posted on the airline’s website. Or you can consider calling an airline representative for help. This also gives you an opportunity to ask what the airline is going to do next to help you reach your destination.
If the flight you’re taking is with an EU airline, or it’s travelling to or from an EU airline, then you will always be eligible for some compensation provided that the delay was within the airline’s control, and you were delayed for longer than 3 hours. Importantly, the delay must mean that you arrive at your destination 3 hours late, not that you simply take off three hours after you were supposed to.
Stay Ahead of the Problem
As mentioned above, there’s very little anyone can do to prevent a flight delay or cancellation from happening, but you can reduce your chances of an issue. For instance, make sure that you arrive at the airport several hours before your flight is due to leave. That way, you’ll be the first to know if something goes wrong, and one of the first passengers to be seated on a different flight.
If you’re worried about keeping up with the latest announcements from your airline, you can always try downloading their smartphone app – if they have one. This will help you to track delays as they happen. Most apps also come with unique instant messaging options that you can use to talk to a representative as quickly as possible.
Ask for What you Deserve, but Be Nice
Finally, remember that it’s okay to ask for what you deserve in the case of a flight delay or cancellation. If you know that you’re eligible for a free meal and drinks for your family, then you can always go to the flight representative for your airline and ask for the vouchers you’re owed. You can also check for additional benefits that you might be able to access, like free accommodation and travel to a nearby hotel.
However, remember to be polite and courteous when you’re speaking to these airline attendants. Just because you’re upset and frustrated doesn’t mean you should take the situation out on them. Airline customer service is always a stressful job, and your agents will be doing everything they can to help you. Give them the kind treatment that they deserve, and they’ll reward you for it.