Inclement weather, medical emergencies or just bad luck - there are plenty of reasons why your flight may be cancelled. But, a flight cancellation could mean you are stranded at an airport waiting around for another flight or worse, you are scrambling from airline desk to airline desk to find someone else to get you home. No matter the reasons why, there are good ways and bad ways to handle those overwhelming flight cancellations.
Always Have Extra in the Budget
Flight cancellations happen - and always unexpectedly. You can be better prepared by having a little extra in the travel budget for these situations. Extra funds could help you stay a little longer in a comfortable hotel or even pay the extra cost of switching airlines last minute to get home. If flights are cancelled because of bad weather, you may have a few days where you are stuck in your current location, so pad the budget enough to handle food, accommodations and even a rental car for at a couple days.
Decide How Long You’re Willing to Wait
There are times where getting home is important - or you just cannot deal with another day in your current location. There are ways around flight cancellations, but it might mean traveling to a different location and catching a connecting flight rather than a direct flight back home. For example, your flight from New York to California was cancelled, and you cannot stay in New York another day. Your only option for getting home in one day rather than next week is to fly to Denver, wait overnight, and then fly to California. While it is a hassle, it gets you home when you want to be there.
If your flight is cancelled decide how long you are willing to wait or how far you are willing to go to get home.
Check Your Flight Status before Going
Before you check out of the hotel or even pack your bags that day, check your flight’s status online. If it’s cancelled, start the hunt for alternate flights right away. Even if there are no flights, keep looking. New flights pop up and sometimes due to connection issues, seats will open up on flights that were already booked full.
Always Fly with Airports that Maintain Multiple Airlines
Small airports are limited on how many flights they have coming in and out. But, large international airports can cater to over a dozen airlines at once - increasing the chances you will find another airline to take you home even if your flight was cancelled.
You Can Go to Another Airport
Just because the airport you are at now doesn’t have any flights does not mean you are out of luck. Other airports in the area may be able to accommodate you. For example, your flight at Burbank Airport in California was cancelled. But, if you take a cab or shuttle to LAX, you will have a plethora of new airlines and flights to choose from that aren’t.
Don’t be Afraid to Call
If your flight is cancelled, call the airline and see what they can do. After all, it wasn’t your fault the flight was cancelled. Airlines may be able to find you a connection flight or another flight leaving from a different airport. Also, an airline may be willing to compensate you for an overnight hotel stay, last minute flight change, etc. - especially if the cancellation was not due to poor weather.
Book through Travel Agents
The money you pay a travel agent helps in these situations. A travel agent has access to hundreds of flights at their fingertips. When your flight is cancelled, give them a call and see what flights they can find. They will be able to continue to look for a flight faster and more efficiently - and even be able to purchase you a ticket on a new flight. Even if they cannot find a flight right away, your travel agent can find a hotel or some form of accommodation so you are not stranded at the airport or sleeping in the lobby.
Flight cancellations are never fun and they can be stressful. But, by being prepared with a padded budget, flight information at your fingertips and access to backup plans, you don’t have to feel stranded. Even if you are in a foreign country, a flight cancellation can be an easy fix. Just use these quick travel tips and handle your next flight cancellation like a pro.