You’ve a flight booked and you’re all set to go, but when you arrive at the airport, there’s a glitch. The glitch could be caused by a delay in your departure flight’s arrival on account of bad weather. It could be mechanical issues. Maybe something else entirely. Whatever it is, it’s now apparent that you’re not going anyplace soon.

Do you have any rights? If so, what are they? And what is it you should do next?


Passenger Rights

Cancelling a flight: If the booking you made is non-refundable and you decide that you cannot make the trip, then you will enjoy absolutely no recompense. You’ll lose the entire cost of your original flight, or, if you change the flight to a different time or date, it’s likely there will be a reasonably hefty expense involved in doing so. That said, some airlines will make exceptions, but only if there’s a death involved or a fairly serious illness. Get in touch with the airline for details on that.

If you do feel there is some uncertainty with regards to being able to go on the flight prior to booking, it’s wise to purchase costlier, refundable tickets. Either that, or invest in trip insurance, but do make sure your trip insurance does cover the right costs.


6 Things the Airlines Will Not Tell You About

The airline delays or cancels a flight: In this case, the airline will aim to get you onboard the next flight available, though this doesn’t imply that you’ll be on the next flight, as it may already be fully booked. Furthermore, if the delay is to stretch for hours or perhaps overnight, the airline does not, in fact, owe you anything in terms of free meals or vouchers for a hotel stay. Nevertheless, a few of the larger carriers will, out of courtesy, offer these types of perks. If you have any doubt, you should always ask.

If you’re bumped: This is where your rights do kick in. If you are in involuntary fashion bumped from your flight, then you will be compensated for your expense, providing that your chosen airline is unable to get you onboard a different flight which arrives within a single hour of the previously scheduled flight’s arrival time.


The Weather and What You Should Know

It may be raining very heavily near the time that you’re due for departure. But you could be in for a lot worse than this – a thunderstorm.

And it’s a fact that summertime storms tend to be worse than winter storms. Why so? Because, quite unlike the typical winter storm, which develops at a relatively slow pace and moves slowly, summer storms have a tendency to form rapidly, stretch over hundreds of kilometres, and they can travel over expansive regions of the country.

And, as any pilot will tell you, providing they are being honest, it’s the thunderstorms that are best avoided. Dependent on the thunderstorm’s nature and activity, you could end up rerouting up to 60 or 70 km just to avoid the worst of the storm. In turn, that can create a delay, but it does help to avoid some potentially extremely nasty air turbulence.


What You Should do When You Become Aware of a Flight Delay

As soon as you hear that your flight is going to be delayed, or perhaps worse, cancelled, you should act fast.

Keep in mind that all of the people that were booked onto your flight are now going to be making every effort to get onboard the upcoming flight – the next one available. So, you should take the following steps to ensure that you’re among the very first in line for the available tickets.

Get in touch with your airline: Here, it’s about multi-tasking. If you’re already at the airport, get yourself in line to speak with one of the airline’s agents and while you’re doing that, get on the phone, since you can’t be sure which of these ways is going to see you experience faster service. You can also try Twitter, given that many airlines follow along with Twitter messages very quickly and their response will also be quick.

Find out about alternative airlines: If you find that the follow-on flight that’s going to your desired location is already packed full, ask if the carrier you are with will make the desired change without you having to incur any financial penalty – that does occur.

If you’re already in the queue, get on your smartphone and assess for other airlines that travel to your destination, thereby saving the agent some time and speeding up the whole process for you.

Find out about alternate routes: By all means you can choose to fly away from your desired destination. If you opt to make a stop en-route at a hub airport you’ll have more options available and a far higher chance at landing on an empty seat. Once more, you can rely on your smartphone so you can speed things up with the flight agent.


Don’t Be Expecting Amenities

There is nothing that an airline has to do to appease passengers that are delayed for any length of time. They do not have to issue meal vouchers; they do not have to provide free lodging at a nearby hotel. You’ll find that some airlines, particularly those that charge the low fares, will not make a provision for any type of amenities to those that are stranded.

If the delay is due to bad weather, or for some alternative reason that is beyond the control of the airline, others will not provide amenities. And, there’s no requirement for an airline to provide compensation to passengers when flights have been canceled or delayed.