How to deal with a delayed or cancelled flight

Few things can be as frustrating as having your flight cancelled or delayed. After all, most people go to great lengths to ensure that they waste no time packing, parking, getting through security and to their gate.  So, when you have finally made it to your gate with plenty of time before takeoff, finding out your flight has been delayed or cancelled can put a damper on the beginning of any trip. Follow these tips to make sure you know what to do when your flight is cancelled or delayed: Talk to someone who knows what is going on As soon as your flight is delayed or cancelled, get in line at the gate desk.  While you are in line, also call the airline’s customer service number.  This will allow you to talk to someone who can help you determine what you need to do as soon as possible. Find your checked luggage If you checked any luggage for your trip, make sure you confirm with an airline employee that your checked luggage will end up at your final destination, especially if you book a new flight. Be flexible If you are flying into Chicago O’Hare and your flight is cancelled, check and see if there are any available flights to Midway.  If you can figure out transportation from an alternate airport to your destination, this may be a better option than waiting for the next direct flight. Use free reservation holding times Several airlines, including Delta, United, US Airways, Southwest and JetBlue, offer 24 hour periods where you can reserve a seat on a flight and cancel your reservation for free.  When your flight is delayed or cancelled, use this feature to reserve seats on multiple flights, and then cancel the reservations you don’t need once you’ve determined the best option. Try to get some compensation Technically, airlines are not responsible for any compensation if your flight is cancelled or delayed. However, it can’t hurt talk through your negative experiences with an airline representative and see if any additional accommodations can be made. In addition, if for some reason you are involuntarily removed from a flight, the U.S. Department of Transportation states that you are owed some sort of compensation. Sleep Traveling often causes us to become tired and fall behind on sleep.  If you have the time, book a hotel room and get some proper sleep in a bed.  If your delay isn’t quite that long, catching up on sleep while sitting at the gate is better than nothing. Grab some food Airports are loaded with extensive options for meals and snacks.  If you have a particularly long delay, find a restaurant where you can sit down, relax and even watch some TV.  After all, sitting by your gate can get boring very quickly. Take advantage of the time to walk around and stretch your legs, as you’ll eventually be stuck sitting on a plane for an extended period of time. Airport Activities If you are with other people, look for a trivia app on your smartphone or buy a deck of cards from an airport shop. Most likely you won’t be the only one waiting on a flight, so don’t be afraid to make a new friend. Don’t let a delay or cancelled flight ruin your trip.  Use these tips from The Parking Spot to get yourself to your destination as quickly as possible and to make the most of any extra time it may take to get there.
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