There are a number of reasons why flights get delayed or cancelled. At times they are inevitable and unavoidable due weather or mechanical reasons and at times due to some operational reasons. The fact of the matter is that whatever the reason it’s the passenger, i.e you, who really suffers. These are, therefore, the steps you can evolve to minimize your tension and distress as the airline will not compensate you for what is not their fault.
1) Weather spooking your trip is generally a seasonal phenomenon and therefore you have to plan ahead.
Keep your mobile and your laptop or ipad, etc fully loaded as these will come in handy for your calls or information on other airline telephone numbers and schedules;
Keep a list of nearby hotel numbers and contacts;
Avoid carrying with you a check-in bag. Instead a carry-on would be ideal for such situations;
Pack in a extra pair of clothes, pyjamas, toothbrush and paste, other toiletteries, etc as they add to your comfort zone in case you end up in a hotel for want of a flight;
Don’t forget to pack in some snacks and food as the airline may not deem it necessary to immediately provide you with the same in case of a delay or cancellation;
Also you need to have the chargers in your bagfor your devices whose batteries may go down if there is a long usage;
2) If the weather is playing the spoilsport for your flight, then besides thinking ahead in such scenarios, you have to learn to move fast else it will make all the difference in getting an alternate flight or sitting it out at the airport. Immediately call the airline and be in constant touch with them. Polite conversations instead of anger are the key to extracting help from the person on the other end.
3) Don’t be late at the gate if your flight is delayed. Sometimes, the airline reverts to its original timings even if a delay is announced. In such situations if you are not there you are treated as a no show by the airline. If that happens you lose all your money on the ticket and there is no way that you can convince the airline to dole it out. You must report to the gate at least 20 minutes prior to departure, minimum.
3) The moment a delay or cancellation, for whatever reasons, is announced head towards a customer care service desk and queue up or get in touch with the gate agent to find alternatives and the airline’s plan of action.
4) If the flight is delayed you need to find out the new timings for departure. If you are connecting a flight then you would want to know whether the connection would be feasible or not. Also, whether the airline is going to provide some amenities or hotel rooms till the delay is information you need to gather.
5) In the event of a cancellation there are more issues involved. You have to be in constant touch with the airline officials, telephonically or personally, if you want a quick solution. Waiting for them to get in touch with you will not solve your problem; rather it will leave you stranded. Instead of depending on the airline you must make an effort to contact other carriers and see if you get an alternative.
6) In the event of a cancellation, the airline may probably refund the amount on your ticket or it may alternately provide you hotel accommodation till the time it arranges for a stand-in aircraft. You must reconfirm this with the airline personnel so that your options are clear.
7) If you have been given a hotel accommodation then you can make the most of it by making yourself comfortable. You can also at leisure relax and chalk out your future plans for the trip since everything would need to be re -organized.
8)) In case you are travelling into Europe or from Europe or in an European airline, there are certain rules of compensation by the airline for delays and cancellations. You must make yourself aware of these rules by obtaining them from the airline or the European Commission.
9) If your flight has been disrupted due to vagaries of the weather then an alternate is to travel by land to a nearby city from where you could possibly take a direct flight to your destination. You could try and work it out with the airline so that it would not make a hole in your pocket.
10) However, remember if you have a return ticket and you have done your one-way by making DIY arrangements, make it a point to inform your airline so that they are not under the impression that since you did not travel the first sector on their flight you are going to be a no-show for the return portion. This is very essential else you might end up losing your ticket.