Dealing with flight delays: 5 things to do right now

You can plan your next trip down to the finest detail, but there isn’t much you can do when it comes to protecting yourself against the possibility of flight delays and cancellations. As the weather continues to become more problematic, and airlines deal with everything from technical issues, to increased air traffic, it’s worth making sure that you know what to do if you find yourself in the middle of a frustrating delay.

Though there’s no such thing as a “great” delay, the following things can help you to avoid some of the most significant inconveniences associated with a disrupted flight.

  1. Make Sure You Pack for a Delay

It pays to be prepared. If you can avoid packing luggage, and take a carry-on bag of everything you need with you to the airport instead, then you could reduce your risk of losing your suitcase when your flight is suddenly canceled. With a carry-on bag, you’re free to jump onto the next plane that becomes available without worrying about where your clothes are going to end up.

Check out the carry-on restrictions that have been set for your specific airline and try to plan your packing strategy accordingly.

  1. Make Sure People Can Reach You

When a flight is delayed or canceled, your airline will need a method of getting in touch with you the moment something new becomes available. If you haven’t included your email address or phone number on your reservation, then go into your account and add your contact details immediately.

If you’re worried that this won’t do the trick, you can always be proactive about getting the information you need and call the airline yourself. Remember, however, you’re likely to face a lengthy wait, as there will be other passengers like you also looking for answers.

  1. Do Something About the Delay

When flight delays and cancellations happen, it’s tempting to think that there’s nothing you can do but sit back and wait for someone to give you an alternative mode of transportation. However, since there’s no guarantee that you’re going to find a place on the next flight out, the first thing you should do when your delay comes through, is speak to someone who can help to book you a new seat.

One option could be to speak to a gate agent at the airport itself. However, this can be a frustrating approach for some customers, as you’re likely to face a seriously long line just to speak to someone. You could always try buying an access pass to the VIP lounge instead, as the people in these locations are less likely to be dealing with questions from hundreds of unhappy passengers.

Alternatively, you could try phoning the customer service agents for your chosen airline and asking them what you can do next. If you’re a member of a VIP group, you might get service faster. There’s always the opportunity to turn to social media too. Many airlines today carefully monitor their Facebook and Twitter accounts because they don’t want to risk getting a bad reputation. Posting a complaint is likely to generate a quick response.

  1. Find Your Own Solution

If you know that there’s nothing your airline can do right now to get you moving any faster, but you need to get on a plane or risk missing a connecting flight, then you could always help the company you booked with by doing your own research and offering a few suggestions.

Check out the availability on other airlines to find out if any additional carriers are heading to the same destination at a similar time. This will save your airline rep a lot of time, and ensure that they’re more likely to make the effort to get you onto a different flight for no additional charge.

If for whatever reason, the airport you’re with is struggling with delays, you could always try offering to go to another nearby airport instead. This could save you some serious time, and a little travel won’t cost you a great deal of money.

Hang Onto your Gadgets

Finally, if you’re stuck in an airport for hours on end, then your gadgets will soon become your best friend. Your smartphone isn’t just a way to connect with your airline and keep in touch about upcoming alternative flights, it’s also a source of entertainment perfect for stopping you from going stir-crazy.

Make sure that you take your smartphone with you on your next flight, along with a charger and a spare battery pack just in case you can’t get to a wall outlet.

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