Flight or Fight – A Guide to Flight Cancellations
So you’ve packed your bags, locked up the house, the neighbour is going to feed the cat, and a taxi to the airport is booked. Everything is going to plan, and you’re looking forward to two weeks in the sun. But when you arrive at the airport, disaster strikes. You’re flight has been cancelled. Your rage culminates with a screaming rant at the check-in assistant and some assistance from airport security, who help you find a nice, quiet, locked room to calm down in. You may be thinking to yourself you should have just booked one of those nice cruises from Southampton. But read on to find out how you can avoid being detained and still enjoy your holiday if you’re flight is cancelled.
First line of action
The first thing you need to do is run to the airline gate desk, because you know there is a whole plane load of passengers all heading there to make their complaint. Don’t be at the end of the queue, because the assistant is going to be your worst nightmare after they have dealt with everyone else.
As you are running phone the airlines customer service centre. You should save the number in your phone before you leave the house just in case. This way you are in line to be dealt with by two airline representatives, and can talk to whichever one becomes available first.
If you can, post some strong words about the airlines cancellation on Twitter. It’s a little known fact that some airlines actually monitor twitter to see what is being said about them so they can shut you up quickly. Unlike at the airline gate desk, you might actually get dealt with quickly if you say some nasty stuff about them.
You need to do whatever you can to get yourself on the next flight to your destination, so screaming kids and irritable grandparents can come in handy in trying to sway the airline representative’s decision about who goes first.
Know your rights
It’s worth knowing exactly where you stand when an airline cancels its flight. Of course you have rights, but different circumstances are dealt with in different ways by airlines. The best possible scenario is if your flight is cancelled because there is a mechanical problem with the plane. This way it is the sole responsibility of the airline, and they have to look after you. You can demand a hotel room to relax in, and you will be fed and watered all at the airlines expense. But just don’t expect to be staying at the Hilton. You can also get a full refund for you ticket if you want it.
On the other hand, if the cancellation is weather related you may not be so lucky. Different airlines have different policies for cancellations due to weather, so see what yours will do for you. If it’s absolutely nothing, which is what a lot or airlines graciously offer, you have to rely on your travel insurance to foot the bill, so make sure you’re covered.
But if you are flying with an EU airline company, and you are stranded in a foreign country because of a weather related cancellation, you’re in luck. They are required by law to a put you up in a hotel and pay for your meals until they can get you home.
Take them for all their worth
Having your flight cancelled is by no means a nice way to start of finish your holiday, but work the situation to your advantage and it could end up being a lot less irritating than it seems. Make sure you pick up your food vouchers, which will entitle you to a free meal in the overpriced restaurants scattered around the airport. If you are taking a domestic flight in the United States that is cancelled due to non-weather related problems, the airline is obliged to get on the next flight, whether it is theirs or a competitors, thanks to Rule 240.
Having your flight cancelled is not the end of the world, so don’t let it ruin your holiday. A little preparation and remembering these steps will go a long way to making your flight cancellation a more enjoyable part of your holiday.