You wake up at 4 a.m. to rush to the airport only to find out that your flight is delayed. It’s normal to get angry — maybe even say a few swear words under your breath.
Hey, while you’re at it, why not update your Facebook status with a long rant and a few angry-face emojis. But after that, what can you really do? Flight delays suck but there are a few things that you can do immediately (depending on your situation) to get the problem solved. Use the following tips to not let a flight delay ruin your vaca.
Call The Airline’s Customer Service
Sure, you have airline staff right there at the airport but sometimes there’s only so much they can do on the spot, in-person. Of course, talk to them. But before you go that route, call your airline’s customer service. Chances are, they’ll help you out quicker and with the right resources (as long as you don’t get the automated service and can actually talk to a real human!). When you get through, just explain your situation in a kind way (no real-life angry emojis!) and try to remember that your flight delay is not the airline reps fault. A little kindness may just be your ticket to your weekend getaway.
Know Your Rights
Every airline is different, so educate yourself with the airline policies. Airlines aren’t always obligated to compensate you for delays based on federal regulations, however, as a general rule (and if you’re lucky) airline carriers normally will rebook you at no additional fees or give you a full refund. Knowledge is power and the more you know, the better! You might even want to read up on reviews and see how customers handled similar situations in the past.
No, we don’t mean another Facebook rant! Note that every airline runs their social media differently but companies pride themselves for their public appearance on social media. So don’t be surprised if you get an airline’s attention on Twitter or Facebook. Reach out to them (again, kindly), and you may get the proper assistance you need!
Credit Card Insurance
A lot of people don’t think about this but depending on the type of credit card you use, you may be able to get fairly compensated regardless of what’s within the airline’s control. Read up on your credit card’s policies. For example, The Citi Prestige® Card offers trip delay reimbursement when your flight is delayed at least 3 hours. If this is the case with your credit card, file a claim.
Vouchers can be a tricky business. If the delay is within the airline’s control (i.e. mechanical issues), your chances of getting hotel/meal vouchers are more likely. If it’s out of their control (i.e. weather-related — snow storm in New York), the airline is not required to provide vouchers (but you can always ask).
Please note: Some airlines may offer travel vouchers instead of actual cash. Travel vouchers expire and if you’re not planning on flying within that period, then it’s just money down the drain. If your airline doesn’t provide an alternative (cash, money), ask. Also, as stated above, know your rights! Make sure to have a chat with your credit card provider (see above) before accepting any travel vouchers. If your delay is more than 3 hours, ask about vouchers for meal or hotel credits, which is different from travel vouchers.
Chill The F Out
Your ideal vacation isn’t to spend it in an airport (obviously), but if you can try to relax. This can be difficult to do when you’re tired, jet-lagged, or on a strict timeframe. Just remember that you did everything that you can do and now, you can either spend the next few hours complaining or try to make the best of it. Here are a few suggestions:
- Work. If you have work to do, grab a coffee, bust out your laptop and be productive.
- Read. Start a new book on your Kindle, visit the airport bookshop, or download a new audiobook.
- Nap. Walk around and try to find a quiet spot where you can grab a little shut-eye. Just don’t oversleep and lose track of time!
- Grab a drink. Head to an airport bar and grab a drink. Just don’t overdo it!
- People Watch. Play a game and create stories about the people you see. (There will be plenty of interesting people at the airport!)
- Meditate. Clear your mind for a few minutes (or hours!). There are plenty of apps like Headspace that’ll allow you to meditate on the go. You just need a few minutes to reset your mindset.
- Walk. If you’re traveling with people, ask if they can watch your bags while you stroll around the airport. Or, you can always ship your bags with LugLess (starting at $15) and don’t have to worry about your luggage.
The next time your flight is delayed, don’t panic. Use the tips above and try to make the best out of a crappy situation. Travel can be stressful, exhausting, and unpredictable. But it can also be wonderful and take you on adventures you’d never imagine. Remember, it could be a lot worse!
What’s the longest flight delay you’ve experienced? Let’s continue the convo in the comments!