What to do when your flight is delayed or canceled.

Part of flying is knowing what to do when your fight is delayed or canceled. This article reviews things to consider when your travel plans are disrupted so that you can get to your final destination.

By FlexMedStaff


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The airline industry has seen its largest number of delays and cancelations since 2014. Growing demand for air travel is being met by a significant staffing shortage seen with airlines and the FAA. Approximately 20% of flights are delayed, and 4% are canceled. At the same time, the majority of flights do not arrive at their destination on time. Try to make sense of that!

Whether you are a frequent traveler or rarely fly, it’s worth considering what you would do if your flight is severely delayed or canceled so that you miss your connecting flight or do not arrive at your final destination on time. Although you may still arrive late, this article provides helpful ways to get to your destination when your flight is delayed or canceled.   

Book a Later Flight. If your travel plans may be disrupted, consider booking a later flight on the same airline. If your original flight does get canceled, then they will refund you. If neither flight gets canceled, you could be on the hook for paying for both, so make sure you are booking with an airline with a friendly cancelation policy.

Change Airlines. If you are worried the flight might get canceled or miss a connecting flight, consider booking a last-minute ticket with another airline that offers full refunds or travel credit, such as Southwest airlines. This way, if your original flight takes off in time, you can cancel this second reservation.

Call Customer Service. If your flight is canceled or you might miss your connecting flight, consider calling the airline’s customer service hotline. Instead of waiting in line to complain to the gate agent, pick up your phone and call customer service. Sometimes, the wait to speak with a customer service agent will be faster than speaking with a local representative.

Open Airline App. If your travel plans may be disrupted, use the mobile app to determine a game plan. You might consider booking another flight. Some mobile apps will not allow you to modify a reservation within 24 hours, so you may need to call or speak with a customer service agent. At the very least, check the app for future flights to know how you would like your itinerary changed when you talk with someone.

Rebook at Nearby Airport. Just because your travel plans are delayed or canceled, recognize that rebooking out of another airport may be a great alternative if you are in a rush to get somewhere. Consider renting a car, driving your own vehicle, or booking a driver to a nearby airport if there is a flight to get you to your destination.

Book a Rental Car. If it appears as if your travel will be significantly delayed, then consider getting online to reserve a last-minute rental car. You could drive to another airport or your destination if you need to. There are no cancelation fees for most rental car companies. Thus, if you book it and your flight takes off on time, then cancel your rental car reservation without paying a cancellation fee.

Drive. Depending on the number of hours you are willing to drive, consider jumping in your car and driving to make it to your destination on time.

Dogsled. If you are in a remote area of Alaska, might you consider a dogsled???

Impromptu Vacation. If you can’t get back home or find an alternative way to get to your destination, consider turning it into a short, impromptu vacation. Book a hotel, meet new people, and try a new restaurant!

Final Thoughts:

For many of us, making it to our final destination for work or pleasure is very important. If your flights are severely delayed or canceled, what will you do? Having a game plan and taking quick action will help you find alternative ways to make it to your destination. When you are pressed to reach your destination, consider these options for your Plan B, C, D, and E.   

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