Ever Missed a Flight or had a Flight Delayed Before? Here is What to do!
You might not know that Airlines sometimes run short of aircraft once in a while, until you are stuck in an airport for hours! It would be ten times worse, if you are stuck with little ones, or elderly travel partners like parents who may also not be very well.
The delay of a flight is not something anyone would like to go through. Yet, today we are gonna look at this exact topic, following a conversation we had with a friend. This girl lets call her Vero, called in tears that she had missed her flight. At first, we thought she was late to the airport, until she explained that it was not just her. It was the whole plane load of passengers heading to Bali!
“It can happen to anyone. The announcement over the tannoy system: Flight number BL2345 has been delayed, Check your Desk for further updates…”
Or something like that…!
Sometimes the delay may be beyond human reach. For example, the recent volcanic explosion in Bali…Flights were cancelled and a friend in the industry bagged herself a week off!
Other climatic elements that can cause an airline to cancel flights include:
- unfavourable weather conditions,
- craft mechanical problems,
- Natural disasters,
- delays in incoming flights schedules.
The more Human caused reasons for a flight cancellation or delay could be:
- discount allocation,
- Poor traffic management etc.
Due to travelling on a wide scale, we have come to learn that flight controllers have to respond and sometimes react to such challenges in real time by either postponing or scratching flights, swapping crafts of scheduled flights, or call in the utilization of surplus airplanes.
They do this to minimize the fall out esp. compensation claims, having to pay for extras passengers may have to accrue due to the delay or cancellation etc.
In today’s post, we share our experiences and research on Flight delays and cancellations for the passenger! What can you do in such a situation?
As a passenger you have to understand that airlines do incur significant costs as a result of any delay or cancellations in operational costs. Yet to be honest, when you are going through the experience you only think of your problems like…
- Missed connections, (In Europe this can cost you a pretty penny)
- Missed business meeting and deals for the business traveller)
- Children missing school and having to explain why (Could be charged with truancy in UK)
- Maybe you have run out of holiday funds and cannot afford the basics while you wait!
Here is the thing, focusing on the problem only makes it worse, so we have learnt to focus on what can we do right now, to make this time less stressful and even fun?
[RELATED – AIRPORT SECRETS EVERY TRAVELER SHOULD KNOW!]
Focusing on the problem only makes it worse, so focus on what you can do!Click To Tweet
Our Top Missed Flight or Flight Delay Passenger Tips
#1. Find out what you are entitled to with the utmost politeness.
When we had that issue in Kigali with Brussels Airlines, my good banter and polite attitude with the Rwanda Airlines staff (Honey attitude) got us back to Entebbe in Business Class to boot!
Trust me we missed the flight not because of our fault, rather due to some serious corruption in the Brussels Airlines Kigali staff!
This meant we missed our flight to Brussels and Manchester. Yet we were put on the next flight from Entebbe direct to Europe. I know that if I had used the vinegar approach i.e. shout and rant, we may have had a real rough ride on our return leg from Uganda in April!
#2. Call the Airline Call Center
If you missed a flight due to the airline fault, do this! As opposed to joining the queue of disgruntled passengers probably throwing abuse at the put-upon desk staff!
Again, be polite, ask what can be done and whether they can get you out of the airport to a hotel if the delay is over 6 hours! Remember you are entitled to some compensation depending on the airline and how long the delay!
#3. If you remember our ultimate packing list when traveling with kids? Then you did pack some games, books, and things to while the time away in-flight? Well use those now!
Better still you travelled light and only have a carry-on bag, right? And you have your travel pillow! Then Settle down cushion ya head and take a nap! 🙂
[RECOMMENDED – SNEAKY TRAVEL COSTS THAT YOU MUST KNOW!]
#4. Make Sure to Have Travel Insurance,
Irrespective of how many days you are meant to be away? Understand that you cannot plan for somethings my friend. so whether you missed a flight by accident or airline fault, having travel insurance can be your cushion and fall back plan for recompense!
Our friend Kim was once stuck in Peru following a natural disaster. Kim was very well insured and was moved to a luxury hotel while the airline sorted out the delay! She was more than happy to stay the extra days relaxing as she works for herself. She’s a digital entrepreneur you see! And with WiFi and her laptop on board, she lived the laptop beach lifestyle for an extra 3 days! Sweet!
#5. If the missed flight was your fault:
In other words, you over slept, miscalculated the time it would take to get to the airport, or whatever the cause, outside of the airline remit…! You are up shit creek.
Definitely you are going to have to eat some humble pie. Pray the desk staff are having a great day and will take pity on you. But first….
Call the airline before you even get to the airport. Find out if you can be re-booked on the next flight and at what cost? If you are lucky and are polite enough that could be “Zero Cost.”
If you have a connecting flight…OMG you better have bought the one ticket…Otherwise the domino effect continues.
You may have to folk out for the various legs of your “Missed flight.” Or be so lucky as to have the airlines re-book you on the next available flight at no extra cost.
Just understand that these gate agents have heard every excuse under the sun, as to why someone is late for their flight. So NO DRAMA!
Did you hear about our Turkish airlines switched flight times Debacle? Yup…You end up paying $200+ per passenger. Or worse still paying for a full new ticket. Some airlines genuinely don’t give a rat’s arse about any reason you give. Or the desk staff do not have any authority to override the computer system. And the manager just won’t help…
#6. If You Have to Pay for the delay or missed flight:
Inquire from the gate agent if the airline has a “missed departure fare.” Be ready to ask if someone in management can help with this if the agents seems ignorant of this! We definitely were able to get that from an EasyJet Flight! If the delay was beyond your circumstances BUT NOT an airline cause, ask about the airline usually unofficial “Flat Tire rule.”
What the heck is this Julie?
“It’s where if you the customer missed your flight due to circumstances beyond your control, you could be placed on the next available flight…”
This only works if you are way under 2 hours of missing your scheduled flight!
PRO TIP: Are you are booked on one “through ticket” — one ticket from origin to destination via a transit point — and you miss your connection? The airline is obliged to put you on the next available flight without penalty.
However, the airline is not obligated to put you aboard the next flight if the trips are booked separately.
On the off chance that you have a “through ticket” i.e. one ticket from your departure to destination including transit on a US Flight; and you miss your connection. You may be in luck! US Airlines usually follow through on the obligation to put you on the Next flight with no penalty. In Europe, not so much! You may have to make a few calls before they respond to their obligation!
BUT, they are not obliged to do the above if you booked your flights separate!
So, now you are armed with the information and you wont be left hanging if you missed a flight or had a long unplanned delay!
Now, we will be keeping you posted on more trending and practical ways to handle a missed flight situation as time goes.
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Dr Pauli Kalungi
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