Survival guide for flight delays

No one enjoys a flight delay. From missed flight connections to spending the night in the airport, one delayed flight can wreak havoc on your travel plans. So, how do you survive a delay? Here are six tips.

Stay informed

Flight delay (Image: kowitz used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Flight delay (Image: kowitz used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Check your flight’s status before you leave for the airport so you can stay up-to-date on any delays. While you’re on your way to the airport, use a mobile app like TripIt to check for delays –  with the Pro version, you can even sign up for text alerts should your flight be delayed. The earlier you learn about your flight delay, the earlier you can start working on finding a solution.

Stay positive

Yes, flight delays are stressful, but going postal on the airline staff or your fellow passengers won’t get you on a flight any faster. Try to maintain a positive attitude while dealing with a delay.

Try to rebook

Once you learn of your flight delay, ask at the airline counter if you can be rebooked on the next flight. This is where knowing about delays comes in handy: If you’re one of the first to know about the delay and you make a beeline for customer service, you’ll have a better chance of scoring one of the remaining seats on the next flight. Don’t forget to rebook any connecting flights, if necessary.

Ask for vouchers, when appropriate

Hotel room (Image: Jen SFO-BCN)

Hotel room (Image: Jen SFO-BCN)

If you’re going to be stranded for several hours or overnight, ask the airline staff if they are offering vouchers for meals, hotels or future flights. The key here is to ask, rather than demand.

Keep track of your bags

Luggage (Image: buba69)

Luggage (Image: buba69)

After surviving a long flight delay, the last thing you want to hear is that your bags didn’t make it to your destination. Be sure to ask what will happen to your bags if your flight is delayed or rescheduled. Will they be transferred to your new flight? Will they stay on the original plane? Ask plenty of questions to avoid more surprises when you land.

Make the most of your down time

While you’re delayed, you can start chatting up your fellow passengers and make new contacts or even friends. Or, you might take a walk around the airport to check out the restaurants and shops. You might even pick up that “New York Times” bestseller you’ve been meaning to read and get started. If you’re traveling on business, you can pull out the laptop, plug in and get some work done. Or, check out some of these unexpected airport services.

 
(Main image: calflier001 used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

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