Flight delays and cancellations can play havoc with your best laid travel plans. To make matters worse, when these problems occur during peak travel times, it can be almost impossible to get an airline representative on the phone to deal with your problem. Fear not, this short guide will reveal what to expect from airlines when things go wrong and how to make the best of the situation.
You are not going to be the only person with a problem if an airline is cancelling a flight. To stay ahead of the pack, make sure that you’re connected to social media. Most airline companies will immediately notify, whether by email or text message as soon as they cancel a flight or they know a plane will be delayed.
The immediate response that most people will have to bei told a flight has been cancelled or delayed is to try and phone up the airline in order to make ticket changes. However, contacting the airline company through social media platforms, like Twitter, can be a more effective and quicker means of resolving your problem and getting yourself re-booked on the next available flight (after all, airlines hate negative publicity).
Every airline company has a different compensation policy for when things go wrong. These policies are normally be found on the companies website (the document is known as a ‘Contract of Carriage’). If you have any problems, make sure to refer to this document. Alongside the airlines regulations, individual countries and even economic and political groupings (the European Union for example) also have legislation in place, which can overide the ‘Contract if Carriage.’ Put simply, to get the best deal and ensure you receive everything you are entitled to, you need to know your rights.
It is not only weather or mechanical failures that result in passengers missing flights, overbooking by the airlines is also a major problem. Both the US and the European Union have strict legislation in place to protect the rights of passengers who are bumped from flights. In both the US and EU, passengers are entitled to cash from the airline should they be forced to re-book a flight (in the US, compensation starts at $400 per passenger, raising to $800 if the company can not book them onto a flight within two hours of the original departure time. In Europe compensation ranges from €125 to €600 depending on the length of the delay).
If the airline looses your luggage you are going to have some problems. There is normally a ceiling on the amount of money that the airline company will pay you for lost luggage, which is normally significantly less than the value of your luggage (a little over $3,000 in the US). There are also legal loopholes that the airline can use to avoid paying you compensation (for instance, if you do not create a report at the airport immediately after you have landed you are not entitled to compensation). While I am emphasising the possible problems, it is rare that luggage goes missing and most airlines will get your missing luggage delivered to you within 24 hours.