Holiday travel 2022: What travelers should do when flights are delayed, canceled as airlines brace for busy week

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bad weather. computer malfunction. Shortage of personnel. Oversold flights. inflation. holiday crunch. For much of 2022, it was a tough slogan for many air travelers.

And just as the winter “bomb cyclone” has arrived this year, it seems as raging as traveling the week before Christmas can be cold and thorny business. What if you were one of the unfortunate passengers caught in an event?

Here are some tips to help travelers navigate the system when flights are delayed or canceled due to staff shortages, weather, or other issues. Practical tips are highlighted in bold.

avoid confinement at the airport

A long delay or cancellation of your flight is bad, but it’s better to find it from the comfort of your home or hotel room and make new arrangements from there.

Check flight status before going to the airportMost of these notifications don’t come at the last minute,” said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flight.

SEE ALSO: Airlines issue travel waivers ahead of massive ‘bomb cyclone’ due to winter weather

Keyes said in an interview with CNN Travel: Sign up for airline free text alerts About the flight status at the time of ticket purchase. You’ll also need to download your carrier’s app.

You can also enter the airline and flight number directly into the Google search bar and get your status that way. This is also convenient for friends and family waiting to be picked up.

Keith also suggested Check FlightAware’s website Track trends in large flights across the country.

If you are already at the airport

Delays and cancellations may occur after you arrive at the airport. What should you do when bad news arrives?

Keith said Head to the airline desk as soon as possible — And get ready to multitask while you wait in line.

Fast is the keyword here. “Who arrives first makes a difference. It’s first-come, first-served. Positioning yourself closer to your desk benefits you,” he says Keyes.

Then you might want to Call your carrier while you waitDepending on where you line up, It may be faster to contact the call center“Whatever happens first, it’s great,” he said.

Calls to phone numbers within the United States may experience significant latency.Keyes suggested Try your carrier’s international call center instead.

“Most U.S.-based travelers don’t think about calling Delta’s Canadian helpline because it could lead them to an agent more quickly. increase.”

you can also Use self-service kioskssays American Airlines. “Scan your boarding pass or enter a record locator to see your most up-to-date travel details. From there you can also switch flights and print a new boarding pass.”

Attitudes and Research Matters

Whether you’re working in person with an agent or over the phone, how you approach things can make a big difference. It starts with posture.

“Honey attracts more flies than vinegar,” Keys said. The agent is the person most competent to help you.

ask kindly and considerately You’re much more likely to get what you want than to be mean. “

When it was his turn to talk to his agent about new arrangements, he had another tip:”Be prepared to offer your own options alreadyDoing your own research absolutely helps. “

If you’ve already researched new routes and possible suggestions while you wait, your agent can expedite things. Be prepared to explain what you want.

If you booked through Expedia or any other third party site, any cancellations must be handled through them.

If the price is the same, Keyes suggested you Book directly with the airlineIf anything goes wrong, if you book through a third party, “more complicated with multiple sets of policies”.

US PIRG, a consumer advocacy group, suggests: Avoid layovers when booking if possibleThe more times you stop, the more likely something will go wrong.

The group also endorses advice from Keyes. be nice and polite to agents Consumers also say they should make a persistent effort to resolve the situation satisfactorily.

Help from other airlines

Cooperation between airlines may work in your favor.

“In the event of a flight cancellation, many airlines have the following options: put you on another airline’s flight Because they have an interline deal,” Luson Smith, product operations specialist for Scott’s cheap flights, told CNN Travel in June 2022.

“This means, for example, that if Delta Air Lines has interrupted service but American Airlines is operating a flight to your destination, you may be able to get on that flight.”

“If you choose not to accommodate a later flight and book a new ticket out of your own pocket, you are entitled to a cash refund, but it may not help you get where you need to go.” Like, last minute flights are very expensive.”

trapped overnight

What if I can’t catch a flight until the next day and I’m not home?

Ask the airline to provide hotel accommodation or hotel vouchersThey may do it. Maybe not. It’s not required by law,” Keyes said.

He said they were less likely to do it if the problem was weather related than if it was a mechanical issue with the plane or a staff issue.

What you get depends on the airline itself and your specific circumstances as to why the flight was canceled.

know the policyFor example, Delta Air Lines says it will, under certain circumstances, offer hotel vouchers if the delay is interrupted by more than four hours from the scheduled departure time between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am.

Whatever you do, at least ask, said Keyes. Hotel and even ground transportation and meal vouchers are not only provided.

In some cases, the airline may arrange accommodation, but this is on a case-by-case basis and is not guaranteed.

Also, credit cards can be your ally in situations like this.

“The good news is Many credit cards offer travel insurance For example, if you need to make hotel or meal arrangements due to flight cancellations,” Smith said. Search Google for credit cards and travel protection to see the specific benefits the card offers. “

If the flight is delayed rather than completely canceled, You may want to consider whether you should wait at the airportDepending on your personal circumstances, it might be easier to stay there for five or six hours than drive to and from the hotel. Find out if there are hotels in the airport.

Points Guy recommends, if possible, going to an airport lounge where you can charge your phone and rest more easily.

travel insurance and receipts

Consider buying travel insurancean email to CNN Travel advises booking airport parking.

“Most travel insurance offers additional coverage for travel uncertainty. [coverage] Generally applies when flights are delayed for more than 12 hours due to strikes, bad weather or mechanical failure. “

The site also advises: Keep receipts for purchases made at the airportYou can try to get your money back from the airline later.

But keep it basic. “However, airlines only pay for ‘reasonable’ costs, so it’s unlikely you’ll get your money back for purchases like alcohol, expensive meals, and luxury hotels.”

Flight Refund Eligibility

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, You are entitled to a refund of your ticket price due to cancellation or “extreme delay”. And you choose not to travel.

This is the policy regardless of the airline’s reason for canceling or delaying the flight. However, what constitutes “significant delay” is open to interpretation.

According to the DOT website, it “does not specifically define what constitutes a ‘substantial delay.’ It depends on many factors, including circumstances.The DOT will determine if you are eligible for a refund after significant delays on a case-by-case basis.”

The-CNN-Wire & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., Warner Media Company. all rights reserved.

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