Tips for Dealing with a Flight Delay
Travel delays can happen to anyone at anytime on any airline during a travel itinerary. To minimize the effect that a delay will have on your travel plans, there are a few proactive steps you can take.
I have been trying to make it to the Austin Mega Do for several years. Each year, just when I thought plans were set and I would be able to attend, something would come up and I would have to cancel. This year I was undaunted…I would be attending if I had to walk! And it almost came to that!
When I checked flights, I naturally leaned towards a US Airways itinerary. However, the ticket cost from Augusta kept hovering around the $600 mark and I was having a hard time justifying the cost. A round trip ticket to DFW alone was only $320 so I thought I would dip into my Avios account to find an award ticket from DFW to AUS. I was far enough out that there was space available on several flights. I knew that flying into an airport with which I was not familiar could present its own set of issues, so I built in a two hour and fifteen minute layover thinking that would afford me plenty of time to change from Concourse E to Concourse C at DFW.
Arriving on time in Charlotte with a 90 minute layover, I learned that my DFW flight was delayed by 45 minutes. I checked in with the Club agents who had very little information as to why the flight was delayed even after contacting the Gate Agent. I knew I needed to be proactive and contacted US Airways via Twitter to explore my options. In the meantime, the flight was delayed again – from 9:30 to 11:00. This was not looking good. At the Twitter team’s suggestion, the Club agent changed my flight to an 11:20 departure. I would be arriving in Dallas a mere 30 minutes before my flight to Austin – and a terminal change was required. Even with the SkyLink, I didn’t think I would make such a tight connection.
I reached out to US Airways again on Twitter who, after learning I was successful in changing to the 11:20 flight, asked if I would like my Austin flight changed from a 1:45 departure to a 2:55. Indeed I would!
I was absolutely amazed at the reciprocity booking abilities of the US Airways Twitter team working with an American reservation booked with Avios points! About ten minutes later, I received a direct message on Twitter letting me know that my flight had been successfully changed.
Cancellations and delays are inevitable in the airline industry. The lesson here involves being proactive when a potential problem presents itself. Stay on top of what is going on, have a plan of action, and keep your cell phone handy.
What you can do about impending flight delays or cancellations:
Cellphone. You should have your primary/booking airline’s toll free number programmed into your phone. If you are traveling internationally, make sure you find and add the international contact number as well.
Sign up for airline flight alerts. When I left my home airport, my original connecting flight was on time. By the time I landed in CLT 45 minutes later, I received a delay notification from the airline and I knew to continue to pay close attention to my flight’s status.
Monitor departure times closely. Your delay may be a simple one and may be only 15 or 30 minutes. But I have learned that when a flight’s departure time becomes increasingly later and later, the outcome may not be good. Using an iPhone app such as Flight Track Pro can also help in monitoring a flights status.
Who can help. Keep checking with a gate agent about the status of the flight. If you have Club access, those agents can also be extremely helpful in getting you rebooked if necessary. Reach out to the airline’s social media team. US Airways has greatly improved their Twitter presence and effectiveness lately. Call the airline – this is one time that having status with an airline can really help you to get through to a representative in a timely fashion.
Be proactive. If you feel your flight will either be cancelled or delayed enough that you miss a connecting flight, contact the airline as soon as you can by calling or through Twitter to have your scheduled reworked. With a flight cancellation, in most cases, a representative at your airline’s call center can rebook you before you would make it to the front of a long customer service line. In my case, it was social media that saved the day.
Remember…a travel delay can happen to even the most seasoned of travelers. Keep calm…be proactive… and keep your trip in tact!
Are there any other tips you could add as to what you do in case of an impending delay?
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