Flight Cancellation? Here’s What You Should Do to Avoid a Travel Disaster

Delta Flight

A plane from Delta Air Lines in the sky | Delta via Facebook

You’re all packed for your trip and ready to go — you’re finally crossing off a travel destination on your bucket list, and this trip is one that you’ve been planning for months. until you find out your flight’s been canceled. While it may feel like all is doomed, have no fear — there are steps you can take to remedy your situation. Whether it’s an issue with the aircraft or inclement weather, your airline will do their best to get you traveling safely and as quickly as possible. The most important rule here is to not panic — you’ll get to where you’re going as long as you keep a level head and take the appropriate steps.

First of all, it’s a good idea to already have a plan in place just in case a flight of yours gets canceled, explains USA Today. Go online and take a look at the other flights that would be available in case of a cancellation, and plan to try rebooking with one of these other flights. You should also always check the status of your flight before you leave the house — while it may be beautiful, sunny weather in your home state, the country or state you’ll be visiting may be experiencing severe weather. You can check your flight status either using airline apps or their websites. If you used a travel agent, have their number handy, too. It might be easier and quicker to call them than it is to navigate the web for your answers.

Another must is making sure your cell phone is charged and ready to receive any incoming emails or phone calls from your airline. Bustle explains there are times when your chosen airline will automatically reschedule your flight, whether you ask them to or not. Typically, if your airline decides to reschedule your flight, they will send you an email notification. From there, you should check the airline’s website or app to see where and when you’ll be boarding.

Plane cabin interior

Plane cabin interior | KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images

Be ready to act fast without panicking when your flight gets canceled, too. The Huffington Post selected a query and answer originally posted on Quora that says to rebook the flight yourself, you should call your airline immediately. When you call, you should ask them to put you on the next available flight, and there should be no extra charge for this change. You should also pick your seat assignment while you’ve got them on the phone — if you don’t assign seats to yourself, you might get stuck somewhere you’d rather not sit. If you’re traveling with friends and family, this can ensure you get seats near them as well.

If you’ve tried calling your airline and you find yourself on hold for hours, then it may be best to hang up the phone and head toward social media. Airlines hire personnel to monitor their social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, says ABC News. Sending the airline a tweet about your issue or posting about your difficult travel experience on their Facebook page will probably get you a response — they may even respond faster than they would on the phone or at the airport. Once you try contacting them through social media, it’s common for the airline to get back to you with further questions to see how they can help you. You may even get someone to hop on the phone with you.

Businessman receiving airplane boarding pass

Businessman receiving airplane boarding pass | iStock.com

It’s also important to note that if your flight is canceled due to inclement weather or issues with air traffic control, then they don’t owe you any accommodations such as meal vouchers or hotel rooms. However, if the cancellation is from failing equipment on the aircraft, depending on the specific situation and the length of the delay, your airline might owe you travel accommodations. Try to see if there is a hotel shuttle bus you can use for transportation to and from the airport and where you’ll be staying, too.

If you can travel with only carry-on bags, then that’s even better. Once you check your baggage, it’ll be tough to be as flexible with rescheduling flights yourself, and you may be at the mercy of where and when your airline decides to rebook you. Traveling light allows you to make quick decisions without worrying about how you’re going to get all of your belongings back.

Travel apps can be helpful here, too. Condé Nast Traveler suggests downloading apps like FlightAware or FlightBoard to keep all of your confirmation emails, tickets, and flight information in line. These apps can be particularly helpful during cancellations, as your travel plans will be organized enough for you to quickly make the next step in getting to your destination.