Flight Delays: Your 411
Vacation. We all look forward to the day where we finally get to stop planning and start doing! Travel day! While this is easily one of the most exciting days of vacation, it can also be one of the most frustrating. And, the current state of the airline industry does not make it any better. In fact, we are seeing the most flight delays, cancellations and other issues that we have seen in quite some time here in the travel industry. While these days can be long, stressful and exhausting, it always helps to be prepared. Here are some of our favorite tips and tricks for surviving air travel during these unprecedented times.
DOWNLOAD FLIGHT AND AIRPORT APPS
Being in the know is half the battle when it comes to flight frustrations. Before your travel day arrives, download the app offered by your airline as well as the airports you will be flying in and out of. This way, you can be checking your TSA and flight status periodically as well as receive notifications about changes to your itinerary.
INVEST IN TRAVEL INSURANCE
At Adventures by Jamie, we always recommend budgeting for travel insurance. This is true now more than ever. Travel insurance can smooth out almost any hiccup that may try to derail your vacation. There are lots of different company and package options when it comes to travel insurance – so you can choose the one that works best for your needs and budget. Some packages go as far as to cover hotel, food and so on in the case of flight delays or cancellations. And if you ask us…that peace of mind is worth the extra money.
BE AWARE OF AIRLINE POLICIES
If flight delays or cancellations come up, it is important to always know your flight delay rights. Every airline company has their own policies for how they deal with these circumstances, and if you are not aware of them, they may not tell you. It is important that you understand what you are entitled to or how their procedure works. More often than not, airlines will not compensate passengers for weather delays or staffing strikes. However, if the airline itself is responsible for your itinerary change, you may be eligible for some compensation. If you are unsure, never hesitate to ask.
While this may seem like it makes no sense, here us out. While your flight may in fact be delayed, if you are at the airport early, you will have a better chance of speaking with customer service representatives and possibly getting some options for different flights. While many people will be calling in and hoping for the same, being a step ahead of the rest of the pack may allow you some insight that those still at home may not have. Plus, it is better to be there and know that you are ready to go when the time comes. As little stress as you can create for yourself on travel day…the better.
One of the worst things about flight delays is that you feel stranded and may not have easy access to things you need. This goes even more so when you are traveling with little ones. Being prepared is one of the best things you can do to help eliminate travel day stress. Pack extra snacks (granola bars, popcorn, and nuts are some of our favorites), have your electronic chargers easily accessible, have a bag of books, color sheets, card games etc… Whatever you can think of that you may want to use to pass the time, make sure to have it with you. Nothing makes already stressful situations worse than being hungry or bored…believe us. We also recommend you make sure to have all of your personal products with you; medication, hygiene products, a change of clothes etc. Better safe than sorry after all!
GET AWAY FROM THE CROWDS
Being stuck in a crowded airport for any length of time can be draining and if you find yourself stuck there longer than you planned on, it can make things even worse. Give yourself permission to walk around the airport and find a not as populated level or corner where you can spread out and take some deep breaths. This is helpful when you are traveling with children as they will find it easier to be able to move around without bumping into other passengers. Some of our favorite places we have found in airports have been because of flight delays so…it’s not all bad!
DON’T TRAVEL CLOSE TO IMPORTANT DAYS
If you have an important family event or work presentation on your calendar, we recommend you avoid travel the day before if at all possible. Nothing makes things worse than having to be somewhere important at a certain time and being stuck in a far away city. Do your best to allow for a break day in between in case things do not go as planned.
WORK WITH A TRAVEL AGENT
Having a travel agent in your corner is now more important than ever! Travel agents are normally aware of your itinerary changes before you are, which means we can get to work on finding a solution before you even have a chance to fret. We will do all the holding, question asking and rearranging so you do not have to.
BE PATIENT AND KIND
We know schedule changes are frustrating, believe us…we don’t like them either. However, it is important to remember that the staff at the airport and on the airline phones are not personally responsible for the delays or cancellations. They are just as frustrated as you. Please remember to be kind and respectful to staff as they are working as hard as they can to get everything back on track for you and all the other travelers affected. Kindness really does go a long way.
Flight delays and cancellations are never fun. But, if you follow our favorite guidelines above – we are confident you can survive the frustrations with limited inconvenience.
What is your favorite way to combat flight frustrations? Let us know in the comments below!