Around the holidays, delayed flights become a bigger concern because more people are traveling and the weather in certain parts of the country can become inclement with little prior notice. For travelers on their way to see friends and family, this can be annoying and troublesome. For business travelers, it could create risk and put business relationships on edge, especially if projects are time sensitive.
When you're at the airport and you see that your flight's status is changed from "on time" to "delayed" or even "canceled" it can cause your heart to sink. But before you panic, remember to take a deep breath then get to work on finding a solution. If your business trip gets delayed, these tips can help you get back on schedule, or at least find a solution that reduces risk to the project:
If you've been watching the weather reports and it looks like your flight might get delayed or canceled, it could be a good idea to purchase travel insurance ahead of time. As smallbizdaily noted, travel insurance can cover things like flight cancellations, health emergencies, missed connections, lost baggage and even rental car damage. Read through your coverage carefully to determine which situations it covers, as plans may vary.
It's also a good idea to notify your client ahead of time if you believe there's a chance of the flight getting delayed. This will give them plenty of time to make new plans and you won't have to rush quite as much if the bad news does come in. Keeping everyone abreast of the situation creates more trust in the business relationship. When you go to the airport, make sure that you have your client's contact information in your smartphone so you can alert them as soon as you have information.
Have a backup plan
There may be aspects of your meeting that don't necessarily require you to be in the room with your client. When facing travel delays, determine how much of your presentation can be relayed over the phone. Perhaps some critical information can be sent to the client via email. Then, you can hop on a call from the airport and get the ball rolling more quickly. Then, by the time you're able to arrive at your client's location, they will already have an understanding of your goals and what some potential next steps may be. Having a teleconference from an airport terminal is less than ideal, but it's much better than radio silence.
Dynamic Business noted that it is very important to rearrange your obligations as soon as possible. When you have to push a meeting to another day, reach out to your contact so you can start shuffling your schedules around as soon as you have information. Get in touch with your airline, or call your travel agent, and determine when the next available flight will be. From there, you should be able to find another suitable time to meet. If the delay is completely out of your hands, your client should be understanding of the situation.
The best offense is a good defense
Conde Nast Traveler reported that airlines aren't always legally required to compensate you for financial losses due to a flight delay or cancellation. With this mind, you should prepare for your travels with defense in mind. Rather than waiting for a delay and then reacting, try to get things moving before the situation deteriorates. As noted above, travel insurance is a good way to do so. Another good preemptive step is to start making calls to the airline when it looks like the flight might get delayed. Calling the airline is often quicker than waiting in line at the airport itself. When you believe a delay is inevitable, call the airline, then get into line at the airport - this way, you'll either reach someone by phone or be next in line to speak to a representative in person.
It always helps to have someone on your side. Travelers who book with Fare Buzz have dedicated travel experts on the line waiting to help with any travel problems that may arise. Plan ahead and be proactive about finding a quick solution to business travel delays.