flight got cancelled, what to do
Canceled flight cause problems, including being stranded at the airport – canva

A canceled flight can derail even the best-laid plans. Find out what to do when your flight gets canceled, how to move forward, and what you’re entitled to.

The first thing to do when you find out your flight is cancelled

Once an airline has canceled your flight, you need to get in touch with a representative as fast as possible. Alternative routes are often available on a first-come first-served basis. If you’re already at the airport, get in line to see an agent or use the self-service kiosk.

You can also contact the airline via the call center to see what the situation is. Try both the US domestic number and the international call center as one may be operating at a faster pace than the other. Online chat features are often more efficient. If you’re still struggling to get through, try contacting the airline on social media as the marketing team is keen to maintain their reputation on online platforms.

What are your rights if a flight is canceled in the US?

Any passenger on a canceled flight has the right to request a full refund whether the airline is at fault or not. This includes the price of the ticket and any extras like baggage fees. If you’re flying on one of the top ten biggest US carriers, check the Airline Customer Service Dashboard. It shows the legal commitments made by each airline for their responses to flight cancellations.

Of course, refunding an entire flight is a big loss of revenue. It’s also not the best course of action for travelers, who’ll have additional costs to reorganize their existing plans. That’s why they have dedicated teams of people offering alternative options to get passengers to their destinations.

How airlines inform passengers of canceled flights

Most airlines request contact details when you book your flight. This means that they can inform you of delays and cancellations via text, email, or app notifications.

If you didn’t receive anything or want to check, this information will be available online. Airlines announce cancellations on their official websites. On the day, you can check the live departure boards at the airport or on the official airport website. You can also use third-party apps like FlightAware to notify you as soon as a flight is canceled.

Always check your flight status before you leave for the airport

Before you leave your home or hotel, make sure you check if your flight is still going ahead. It’ll be much easier to reorganize your route from the comfort of your room than from the chaos of the airport. You’ll have access to reliable Wi-Fi so you can contact the right people more easily. It’ll also save you the cost of the drive or taxi to the airport and back.

What the airline will do after your flight is canceled

How an airline reacts to flight cancellations will depend on its policies. The Montreal Convention covers 135 countries, including the US. This universal treaty binds carriers to assist and compensate passengers for any cancellation because of something in the airline’s control. It doesn’t specify amounts of compensation and is treated on a case-by-case basis.

Usually, airlines offer you the next available seat on a route to your destination. This could be with the same airline or another carrier if they have agreements with other airlines.

Sometimes they may offer you a cash refund. Try to avoid this option unless you have the flexibility to travel on other days. Last-minute flights can be expensive and you may not be covered for any accommodation you have booked at your destination.

Overnight cancellations

Most airlines will offer you a room and transport to your hotel if you need to wait until the morning for your new flight. Or they may offer you a voucher to help cover the cost of your hotel. They aren’t bound by law to do this, so it’s important to check the policy of each airline.

If you can’t get a room, or your wait is just a few hours, see if the airline will give you access to an airport lounge at their discretion. It’ll be a quiet and comfortable place to recharge away from the hustle and bustle of the airport.

Here’s our list of the best airport hotels in America. Be sure to check them out if you’re in the airport mentioned.

Airline policies for flight cancellations post boarding

If your flight is canceled and you’ve already boarded your flight, you should be offered the same care. You’ll be asked to disembark the plane and have the option to book a new route or request a full refund. Canceled flights post-boarding typically give passengers a right to higher cash refunds or travel credits.

Airlines can’t keep you waiting on tarmac for more than three hours and during this time they must give you access to food, water, and bathroom breaks.

Last minute cancellations

Airlines can cancel flights for a variety of reasons even after take-off. Maintenance problems and staffing issues are common excuses for flights not going ahead. Remember it’s a big dent in profits when a flight is canceled, so airlines only make this decision when it isn’t safe to fly or the flight doesn’t meet minimum US standards.

Sometimes flights are canceled because of reasons outside the airline’s control. This could be anything from bad weather to political instability in the destination country. When this happens, there are often loopholes to keep companies from paying out too much money. Many US airlines declare meteorological concerns as extraordinary circumstances, meaning your entitlement to compensation will depend on their individual policies.

Be kind when explaining your case

You’ll always catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Airline staff are dealing with hundreds of disgruntled passengers. Approaching the situation with anger and resentment will probably result in a detached and generic response. If you explain your situation to employees in a calm and reasonable manner, they’re more likely to go out of their way to help you.

What to do if you had a connection after your canceled flight

How you proceed if you can no longer make your connecting flight will depend on your booking. If you bought both flights in a single ticket, the operator is obliged to re-accommodate your route. This applies even if the flights were with two different airlines.

If your flight is canceled but there’s still a chance you could make your connection on the next available flight, the airline may push you to keep your original ticket. This can be a risk, especially if your ticket is self-transfer or you need to recheck your luggage. For more information on accessing your luggage during a layover, check out this article.

If you booked your connecting flights on separate reservations, then you’re in more trouble. The airline has no obligation to offer you a new connection and you’ll need to consult with your travel insurance company.

How to reduce your chances of your flight being canceled

Nobody likes early morning flights. But flights with early morning take-offs are more likely to get off the ground and without delays. As the chaos of the day builds up, airlines are most likely to be hit with staff shortages and logistical errors. It also means if your flight is canceled, there are more options with seats available later the same day.

Avoid connecting flights as it doubles the chances of one being canceled. It’ll also have a bigger impact on your travel plans as you’ll have at least two flights to reschedule instead of one.

Check the weather and the state of the airline in the lead-up to your departure. If an airline has canceled a lot of flights lately, they may be having issues and could offer you alternative options ahead of time. Major US companies like Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines offer weather waivers, allowing you to move your flights free of charge to avoid bad weather.

How to prepare ahead of time for canceled flights

Having adequate insurance is the best way to prepare for canceled flights. Study your travel insurance policy carefully so you know exactly what you’ll be able to claim when plans go awry.

Many credit card companies offer perks and insurance plans to cover you during travel disruptions. For example, tickets bought with American Express Platinum cards reimburse customers for essentials like hotels and food if their flight is canceled.

Avoid checking luggage if you can. This makes it easier for an airline to re-accommodate you meaning you may get more preferential treatment. It’ll also prevent your bag from getting lost in all the confusion.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply