How to Deal with Canceled Flights
What do you feel when you hear that your flight has been canceled? Most of us feel a mix of anger, disappointment, fear, and panic.
The canceled flight always seems hard to believe – airlines have plenty of planes in their fleet, so why not send a different one if yours is having problems? Unfortunately, that’s not how airline industry works. For major airlines, especially when flying out of their hub, replacing a malfunctioning plane with another is not a problem at all. But if you are flying with a small or budget airline, out of a small airport, a technical problem might spell getting stranded at the terminal. You might be very disappointed if you have your best attire ready, hotels booked, and trip planned.
Before you start despairing, read some of the advices how to survive this situation and deal with it like a pro.
Rebooking on the next available flight is the most common solution after cancelation. Sure, you will have to deal with a long line at the customer service or listen to music for a while on phone hold. But this is the most reliable way to get on the next plane and solve the problem. You can try to forgo the line by reaching somebody via social media, twitter or email, but those methods don’t always work. Despite a low rate of success, still try to contact the company every way possible while standing in line.
2. Go to another airline
If you are stranded and ditched by your budget airline that might not have flights you need for days, try abandoning your original plan all together and go to another airline. Last minute flights are usually expensive, but if you get full refund from the original airline, you can apply it to the next best option and continue on your trip.
If you have to do this, know in advance that you will most likely lose some money, but will save the day and salvage your business trip or vacation.
If you don’t have much time and have a bit of budget to play with, look for best last minute flight deals online. If you use your smart phone and book your ticket there, you will skip the line of people with the same problem as yours. If you are really time-pressed, book directly on the airline website, because some budget booking sites take a few minutes to process your requests and reservations.
If you are polite and have good status with major airlines, you will not have any problems booking a flight on a different airline. You might have to be good with words and pull some strings to get it done so fast, but the ability to get wherever you wanted to go in time is a great reward.
3. Wait it out and get compensated
All airlines are aware of the mood canceled flights create for all their passengers on the ground. Every company will do everything possible to avoid your frustrations and their own losses, so rest assured that if your flight got canceled, it really was no way around it. And also know that the company is obligated to compensate you.
According to law, you have to be compensated monetarily, but often times they will take your inconvenience into account too.
There are times when your budget is too limited or you have some flexibility, so it makes the most sense to wait it out. If you agree to go this route, call the airline and get compensation via miles and hotel reimbursement. There are cases when people received free mini vacations this way.
You should always be polite. If you will call customer service and start screaming, it will take you nowhere. Airlines will almost always pay for your accommodations if the cancelation happened because of mechanic problem and is their fault. Still, being polite is a way to go to receive more. You can kindly remind them that you are now in a really tough situation and gather sympathy this way.
If you paid with a credit card, you are likely to get a reimbursement for travel delay. There are plenty of cards that offer this kind of protection for their clients, $500 or even more. Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserved Cards, the Marriot Rewards Premier Credit Card and the Citi Prestige Cards are good examples of cards that offer this benefit. All you have to do is give them a call and get the money back on your card.
$500 can come very handy while waiting it out at the airport or in a city. You can pay for a nice hotel or a fancy Airbnb.
4. Last word
Travel cancelations are definitely not pleasant, that’s the cold hard truth. But if you are quick to react and lucky, you might come out on top and even get some benefits.