Whether you're flying for business or pleasure, cancelled or delayed flights are a major concern for most travellers. While there's little you can do to change the outcome of a postponed flight, there are ways to plan your trip around potential delays. To avoid having your travel plans completely derailed, remember these tips on how to handle flight delay.
1. Fly in the morning
This is the most important tip you'll read in regards to flight delays. One third of all delays and cancellations are caused by maintenance issues, while the other two thirds are caused by weather. Flight delays tend to pile up throughout the day so your chances of catching a postponed or cancelled flight are greatly heightened if you're booked to fly in the afternoon or evening.
An AM flight allows you the flexibility of having the whole day to catch another flight, whereas later in the evening, a delayed flight can mean an overnight wait.
2. Check-in online if you can
These days most airlines allow you to check in online within 24 hours of the flight. Once you're checked in, you'll be able to get updates on the status of your flight before you've even left for the airport, so you can plan accordingly.
Remember that even if a flight is delayed, some airlines are strict about sticking to the original check-in time. Be sure to confirm what time you need to be at the airport before deciding to leave a little later.
3. Use carry-on only
Waiting to pick up checked baggage can be a time-consuming task to deal with when a flight has been delayed or cancelled. If you're running late for a connecting flight, it can make the whole ordeal even more stressful. You might not be able to pack as many outfit options, but you'll be much better off without checked baggage. There are plenty of roomy suitcases that can be used as carry-on available at Bags To Go.
4. Call the airline
If your flight happens to get cancelled, there'll typically be a queue to rebook. It's a good idea to give the airline a call while you wait, because the chances of reaching someone over the phone before you get to the front of the queue are quite high.
5. Ask for a lounge pass
To ensure you wait for your flight in comfort, always ask your airline (very nicely) for a lounge pass when a delay has occurred. Lounges offer the luxury of free WiFi, food and drinks and comfy seating, so it's a much preferable place to wait than at the gate terminal.
6. Entertain yourself
Much like the actual flight, some form of entertainment will make the time breeze by quicker. Most airports are designed to keep travellers busy during extended waiting periods, so why not explore what's on offer? Most likely you'll come across some decent bookstores, restaurants, cafes and WiFi - all of which can help you kill time.
7. Don't plan activities for your arrival day
A handy tip for reducing stress levels is to plan your holiday cleverly in advance. This means leaving your arrival day free of any tours or booked activities, so if you do have to deal with a delay or cancellation, you won't have the added hassle of missing an event. For peace of mind, leave the day you fly free.
8. Purchase a single ticket if you have more than one stop
When you have a connecting flight to catch, a delay or cancellation becomes more complex. Consider purchasing a single ticket for trips involving multiple stopovers - if you miss a connecting flight, the airline will help you book another one. Booking connecting flights as a single ticket can take the hassle out of making adjustments when delays occur. If you book two flights separately, you may not receive compensation for missing the second flight.
9. Check your travel insurance
If you've purchased travel insurance - which you should always do - remember to check your policy for cancelled or delayed flights. Most likely, the policy will cover the cost of booking into a hotel, as well as a set amount of meals.
Remember that conditions will differ depending on the insurance company and your choice of policy, so be sure to read the fine print before organising anything.
To make manoeuvring through airports for long periods a breeze, you'll want to be equipped with right luggage. Take a look at our range of large suitcases for all your international travel needs.