What to do When Your Flight Gets Cancelled

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Cancelled, it is the most dreaded word in the travel industry. Airline cancellations are the worst. Whether it is weather, mechanical issues, or even a missing flight crew that causes the disruption, it is bound to put even the best of travelers in a bad mood. And as great as having a travel planner on your side, we can do little to prevent this situation from happening. You will experience this at some point in your travels. When your flight gets cancelled, it can be frustrating and inconvenient, but there are steps you can take to address the situation and minimize disruptions to your travel plans. Even with a travel agent by your side, you will want to know some of these when the problem arises. 

Here’s what to do when your flight gets cancelled. 

  1. Stay Calm: It’s essential to remain calm and composed, even though flight cancellations can be stressful. Take a few deep breaths to help you stay focused.
  2. Check for Notifications: Often, airlines will notify passengers of flight cancellations through various means, such as email, text message, or phone call. Check your communication channels for any news from the airline.
  3. Contact the Airline: Call the airline’s customer service or visit their service desk at the airport. Be prepared for potentially long wait times, especially during peak travel seasons. Explain your situation and ask about the next available options. 
  4. Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with your passenger rights, which can vary by country and airline. Airlines typically have policies in place for compensating passengers in the event of cancellations. These policies may include providing you with alternative flights, accommodations, meals, and, in some cases, compensation. Ask the airline about your rights and entitlements.
  5. Ask About Rebooking: In many cases, the airline will offer to rebook you on the next available flight to your destination at no extra cost. Discuss your options with the airline representative and choose the best choice for your situation. 
  6. Consider Alternative Airports: If the airline can’t provide a suitable replacement flight, ask if there are other nearby airports you can fly into or out of that might have available flights. Be aware that you may need to arrange your own transportation to or from these airports.
  7. Check Travel Insurance: If you have travel insurance, review your policy to see if it covers flight cancellations. Depending on the policy, you may be eligible for reimbursement of expenses related to the cancellation.
  8. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the situation. Flight statuses can change, and alternative options may become available. Use airline apps or websites to monitor your flight’s status.
  9. Arrange Accommodations: If you’re stranded overnight due to a cancellation, and the airline doesn’t provide accommodations, consider booking a hotel room near the airport. Keep any receipts for expenses related to the cancellation, as you may be able to seek reimbursement.
  10. Rebook as Soon as Possible: Once you’ve secured alternative travel arrangements, confirm your new flight details and make necessary adjustments to your plans. Flights can fill up quickly, so rebooking as soon as possible is essential.
  11. Follow-up: After resolving the situation, consider contacting the airline’s customer service again to ensure that you received any entitled compensation or assistance.

Remember that airline policies and procedures can vary, so it’s essential to be patient and polite when dealing with airline staff. While flight cancellations are frustrating, being respectful and cooperative can often lead to more favorable outcomes when seeking assistance and alternative arrangements. As the saying goes, “You’ll attract more bees with honey.”

Lisa Rossmeissl is the owner of Boomerang Escapes, a home-based agency located in Old Bridge, New Jersey with agents in TN, MS, and WI. 

She has been a professional travel consultant since 2008 and specializes in Australia and the South Pacific. Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti, Fiji, and Cook Islands are among the specialist certificates she holds.  Her agency’s focus is on creating custom itineraries with their client’s wants, desires, and budgets in mind.  She and her planners believe in getting to know the traveler to ensure they have a vacation to remember.  With each planner specializing in a different market area, Boomerang Escapes can offer a wide variety of leisure vacation planning.

Lisa RossmeisslWhat to do When Your Flight Gets Cancelled

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