The above shot is an illustration of the faces one makes when stuck in an airport!
Other than making said faces, what do you do when your flight gets canceled?
This is a question every traveler should have in the back of her mind…I say her because if you’re traveling as a family or a couple, there’s every chance a woman, a wife, a mom, made those reservations and is carrying around the itinerary and the tickets!
That’s not to say we men ought not to get more involved – we should!
What happens if your flight is canceled?!
If you are a Southern Girl Travel client (THANK YOU! We Love You!), we’ve got you covered!
Southern Girl Travel is small enough (just like we like it) that we know exactly when you’re traveling and we’ll be tracking your flights.
We will likely get notifications of many types from all of your airlines.
Chances are that unless it’s a last minute weather issue or equipment problem, we’ll know about your cancellation or serious delay before you do. If there is a cancellation or a major delay, we’ll track you down as soon as we hear about it and let you know your options.
How will we track you down?
If you are traveling domestically, we will use a combination of phone, email, text, and social media, as well as a good old fashion land-line call to your hotel…whatever we think will be the quickest method to reach you.
When you’re traveling internationally, if you can, check in on your email or social media accounts periodically, especially close to your return date.
We’ll try the same methods as for domestic travel, but sometimes phone contact is tougher.
We’ll have you some options and help you book an alternative flight home.
Just in case you’re traveling on your own, though, here are a few guidelines on steps to take when that flight is indeed canceled:
1. Relax…you’re on vacation!
In the big scheme of things a canceled flight is no problem and in fact it might even be an opportunity to spend an extra day in someplace sunny and warm.
A cancellation might provide a chance to get a glimpse of a city you’ve never visited before. It might give you the opportunity to spend a few hours chatting with fellow travelers in an airport bar over a few beers.
Stressing over a delay is the default position for so many of us, but try really hard to embrace the unexpected and find the best in a delay!
2. Always check on that return flight
You know the feeling.
It’s a few days before that flight out to the vacation you’ve been planning for months. Part of the fun is checking and rechecking that first flight.
We know you won’t miss a change on the flight out.
The return flight is a totally different deal. Sometimes you might even be dreading that return flight home.
There’s no place like home.
Don’t be sad about going home as there’s always another day to travel.
Even if you’re not excited about returning home, don’t forget to check in on that return flight, too.
We all know that wifi is ubiquitous around the world these days, so it should not be hard to confirm your schedule.
Do it first in the early afternoon of the day before your departure and again before you go to bed. Check one more time before you leave for the airport.
If there’s a cancellation, get in touch with the airline or reach out to your hotel or resort concierge for some assistance. If it gets bad and you’re not one of our Southern Girl Travel clients, just reach out to us and we’ll lend you a hand!
3. Purchase an airline club day pass
Corporate road warriors will all tell you that the price of admission is well worth it.
They almost always buy the annual memberships, but as a vacationer you can also take advantage of this perk, as most airlines offer a day pass.
If you’re in the airport already and your flight is canceled and you can’t figure out your next step, head as quickly as you can to the airline’s club (this assumes you’re in an airport that has one) and buy a day pass.
It will likely cost you around $50 per person, but it will be worth the cost.
First, you’ll get access to airline employees who are well-versed at dealing with flight changes. We have heard that serving in the clubs is a preferred tour of duty for airline employees and the airlines only reward the best employees with such service.
In the clubs, chances are you’ll get a happy face who will go the extra mile to help you.
Second, you’ll get all the free (well not exactly free, but included) drinks you can enjoy…remember, you’re still on vacation and the pilot is driving!
Someone has to drive home from the airport when you get home, though, so do pace yourself!
Some international airports that do not have airline clubs like we do in the US may have an alternative that you can use. We love the clubs in Jamaica and would not think of flying into Montego Bay without using Club Mobay – if you’re headed to Jamaica soon and aren’t familiar with these, let us know!
4. Don’t forget to use your phone
This is another hint for when your in the airport and discover a cancellation.
Don’t forget your to call the airline immediately (if you’re a client call us!) as you may be able to beat your fellow travelers to the punch and grab a seat on the next flight.
If you’re traveling internationally, know the rules for your calling plan before you go…the cost of some international roaming may or may not be worth it, so check those details before you leave.
5. Don’t forget to be patient
This is going to take a little time.
Cancellations always do.
We know it goes without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway – BE PATIENT!
6. Be NICE!
Your cancellation or delay is NOT the fault of the airline employee manning the desk at the gate or answering the phone (or the fault of your friendly travel agent either).
Be nice to them.
As the old adage goes, you will get more with sugar. Even if it kills you be nice. KILL them with kindness.
It works for us every time.
7. Use your temper strategically
Notwithstanding the advice in number 6, sometimes you just have to be an ass.
Be nice as long as you can, but if you feel you’re really being taken advantage of, don’t be afraid to raise your hackles a bit.
This advice is purely domestic.
Again, this advice is not for outside the United States!
If you’re in another country you may not know the culture and letting you temper show might get you in serious trouble – you have been warned.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for compensation
Hey, the worst they can say is no!
Chances are you’ll incur some additional costs with a flight cancellation, especially on a return flight.
Don’t be afraid to politely let the airline know this and ask for compensation. You will likely be told no, but they might say yes.
At a minimum ask for first class seats when you finally score that return flight.
And there are our eight tips!
Oops, almost forgot…Always know where to find your confirmation and frequent flyer number.
If you’re a client we’ll have them for you, but knowing where to find them quickly (you’ll never remember them) can speed things along when working with the airlines.
If you have any questions about what to do with a canceled flight, let us know, we’ll be happy to chat with you about it!
And finally, always remember to:
Relax…you CAN get there from here!