How to Handle Holiday Flight Delays

Photo (cc) by doviende

There are few feelings as frustrating as encountering a flight delay or cancellation, especially during holiday travel. Your anguish can be compounded by poor communication and a lack of customer service from the airlines. First, try these 6 Tips To Avoiding Flight Delays. But if delays and cancellations do occur, realize that you’re not powerless in these situations.

Take these steps to reach your destination as soon as possible – while making the most of the situation when you can’t…

  1. Arrive armed. Not with guns, with knowledge. It’s the greatest weapon against airport delays. First, check the status of your flight before leaving home. I once found out that my 8 a.m. flight was going to be delayed two hours, so I slept in an enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at home. When I arrived at the airport, it was clear that most of my fellow passengers had been waiting at the gate since sunrise.
  2. Plan alternates. As a pilot myself, I know never to take off without a back-up plan in case I encounter a problem en route to my destination. As a passenger, I practice the same technique. If it’s critical I get there that day, I do some research before my traveling to find out what other flights I could take if mine is delayed or cancelled. I investigate alternate routes on the carrier I’m ticketed on, as well as other airlines with service to my destination. I might even look for flights to another airport that’s not too far from where I’m going. In the event of a delay or cancellation, I can quickly propose these alternate plans to the airline’s customer service – speeding things up for me while making their job easier.
  3. Stay away from lines. I’ve seen hundreds of people in the gate areas lined up to get what’s called re-accommodated when airlines start delaying or canceling flights. By the time these passengers reach the front of the line, it’s likely they’ve already missed the next flight or lost out on the remaining available seats. So the moment you’re aware of a lengthy flight delay or an outright cancellation, call the airline and ask to be confirmed on a new routing. Some carriers, such as Delta, even offer the ability to do this at an airport kiosk or online. If you can’t get through on the phone or their website, use any other means necessary to speak with a representative as soon as possible. This can mean exiting security and going back to the check-in counter – or even paying for a business lounge day pass to promptly speak with an agent. Some travelers have received immediate assistance by tweeting their airline with their problem.
  4. Get out! The only thing more depressing that watching people try to kill the day in an airport is seeing people who are spending the night there. Once you know you aren’t going anywhere for a while, try to make the best of it. If you have a few hours to kill, go to a decent sit-down restaurant and have a nice meal – one of my favorite Alternatives to an Airport Lounge. If you have longer, leave the airport. Nearby hotels may have a free shuttle and offer a reasonably priced day pass to their pool and fitness club. Some airports have observation lounges or even aviation museums, such as the Smithsonian Air and Space annex at Washington Dulles. When you must spend the night, get a room. If your airline won’t give you a hotel voucher, be sure to get a distressed-traveler rate or try these 8 Tips to Save at Any Hotel.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age
This Pastime Can Keep Your Brain Sharp as You Age

It’s never too late to benefit from taking up this type of activity.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer
15 Ways Retirees Can Make Their Savings Last Longer

Study these strategies to make your golden years gleam.

These 12 Reusable Products Save You Money Over and Over
These 12 Reusable Products Save You Money Over and Over

Buy reusable versions of these household items, and you won’t have to spend another dime on them for years.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

15 States With the Largest Homeless Populations
15 States With the Largest Homeless Populations

Some of the states with the highest rates of homelessness might surprise you.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.