For a lot of us, flight delays can bring out the worst. You end up feeling tired and frustrated at best, and furious and ready to take revenge on the next person who crosses your path at worst. Flight delays are a huge headache for everyone, and even worse than a delay is a cancellation. Unfortunately, they’re also a part of flying. There’s plenty of upsides to flying the friendly skies, but also an abundance of potential downsides.
So whether it’s a Delta delay, an American delay or any other airline, how can you best deal with the situation?
Know Your Rights
Before you fly make sure you know your rights with that particular airline. A lot of people don’t feel empowered when they face a delay or a cancellation because they don’t know what their rights are as a passenger of that airline, or they may feel more empowered than they should based on what they signed off on.
Go through your Contract of Carriage with your airline, and you can find most major U.S. airlines contracts listed on the Airfarewatchdog site. It’s just helpful to know if there are things you can do, or if the airline is leaving your hands tied.
You might even end up flying a different airline if you read the Contract of Carriage and aren’t happy with what they say about delays.
Try to Get Compensation
While most airlines aren’t required to, many will provide you with some kind of compensation mostly in the form of vouchers or points if your flight is delayed more than a certain amount of time or it’s canceled altogether. Many passengers are just so ready to put the situation behind them that they don’t file complaints, but there are tools available that can do the work for you.
There are apps that will automatically file claims for compensation for your flights that included delays or cancellation, and it can be worth it.
Passengers should know that even if an airline says they don’t compensate, a lot will anyway.
During the entire experience also make sure that you’re writing down names of people you speak with and taking notes. Also, make sure you keep all of your receipts and any other documentation that could be relevant at some point.
Consider Travel Insurance
You might also want to book travel insurance. This can be particularly helpful if you’re traveling during the holidays or when the weather is more likely to be bad, and something unexpected can pop up. A lot of people skip travel insurance, and then they feel frustrated when something happens with their flights.
Finally, if you fly with one or two airlines more often than others, you should probably consider joining their frequent flyer programs and having one of their branded credit cards. Airlines tend to put the priority on their elite customers and the more status you have as a loyal customer of their airline, the more negotiation opportunities you’re likely to have if your flight is delayed. Plus, you might even get special deals on their exclusive lounges, and waiting in one of these can make a delay go by much faster.