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What To Do If Your Flight Is Delayed

Knowing what to do if your flight is delayed can make all the difference when traveling. A short delay is an inconvenience, but any longer delay is downright frustrating. We’ve got a few tips to help you deal with the delays and avoid any mishaps. Return One way Multi-city From Add nearby airports Click here to swap locations To Add nearby airports Depart Return Cabin Class & Travellers ? Direct flights only Search flights

No one likes being delayed, but they’re inevitable. The worst part about delays is how they’re never predictable. The airline wants to take off just as quickly as you do, but there can be a variety of reasons why your flight is still delayed.

The best way to deal with the situation is to think rationally. You may be entitled to certain benefits, and the airline may give you some compensation to keep you happy. Here’s what to do if your flight is delayed.

What to do if your flight is delayed?

Avoid the worst airports for flight delays The worst airports for flight delays are SFO, MIA, FLL, DFW, DEN, LGA, LAX and MCO.
Find out what you’re entitled to If the delay is less than 3 hours, you shouldn’t expect anything but they may give you vouchers for food. 
Figure out what will happen to your connecting flight If you purchased a single ticket, then the airline will put you on the next available flight to your final destination.
Check out your travel insurance Your insurance usually kicks in after a 4-hour delay, so call your insurance provider as soon as that time passes.
Try to get a lounge pass If your flight is delayed because of the airline, you should ask for a lounge pass
Do research A 30-minute delays can quickly turn into one hour, so take this time to research your destination.
Grab something to eat Yes, food in airports tends to be greatly overpriced, but wouldn’t you rather have a restaurant meal than wait for whatever your airline serves you?
Have some fun! Many airports now have yoga rooms and even provide a mat for you to find your zen.

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1. Avoid the worst airports for flight delays

According to data from the Department of Transportation, the following were the top 10 worst airports for flight delays in 2017:

  1. Atlanta (ATL): 3,918 cancellations
  2. Chicago (ORD): 3,505 cancellations
  3. Houston (IAH): 3,481 cancellations
  4. San Francisco (SFO): 3,057 cancellations
  5. New York (LGA): 2,886 cancellations
  6. Newark (EWR): 2,875 cancellations
  7. Boston (BOS): 2,541 cancellations
  8. Orlando (MCO): 2,510 cancellations
  9. Fort Lauderdale (FLL): 2,371 cancellations
  10. New York (JFK): 2,047 cancellations

The worst airports for flight delays are based on the lowest percentage of on-time departures between January and December 2017. You’ll notice that these airports are all major hubs, so delays should be expected due to the number of passengers they see.

2. Find out what rights you’re entitled to

What you’re entitled to is really up to each individual airline. Generally speaking, if the delay is less than 3 hours, you shouldn’t expect anything at all. Airlines aren’t legally required to provide you with anything, but many will give you food vouchers or even a hotel room if the flight is delayed until the next morning.

There is one major exception. In the EU, when your flight is delayed for a minimum of 3 hours, you’re entitled to compensation. This compensation also applies to airlines based out of the UK such as British Airways

3. Figure out what will happen to your connecting flight

Knowing what to do if your flight is delayed is especially important if you have a connecting flight. If you purchased a single ticket, then the airline will put you on the next available flight to your final destination.

However, if you’ve made two separate bookings, you won’t be compensated for missing your second flight. It’s almost always better to book your connecting flights as a single ticket since the airline will be able to make adjustments if there’s a delay.

4. Check out your travel insurance

If you purchased travel insurance then figuring out what to do if your flight is delayed is easy. Your insurance usually kicks in after a 4-hour delay, so call your insurance provider as soon as that time passes. Most policies will allow you to book a hotel room and provide with a set amount for meals and entertainment. All policies are different so make sure you’ve read the fine print.

5. Try to get a lounge pass

If your flight is delayed because of the airline, you should ask for a lounge pass. Airline lounges will have hot food, free drinks, comfortable seating, and free WiFi which is perfect while you wait out your delay. Your airline may be hesitant to give these passes, out so just ask nicely.

6. Research about your destination

Delays seem to always take longer than expected. A 30-minute delays can quickly turn into one hour, so take this time to research your destination. The delay would have already thrown off your schedule, so maybe you need to adjust what you plan on doing. Alternatively, why not read up about the history of where you’re going?

7. Grab something to eat

Even if your airline isn’t providing you with a meal voucher, you might as well grab something to eat if you’re hungry. Yes, food in airports tends to be greatly overpriced, but wouldn’t you rather have a restaurant meal than wait for whatever your airline serves you? Who knows how long the delay will be!

8. Have some fun!

Delays suck, but you might as well try to make the most of it and enjoy yourself. Many airports now have yoga rooms and even provide a mat for you to find your zen. Beyond restaurants, it’s not uncommon to see spas and nail salons in airport these days so you might as well look your best.

Are you traveling with your kids, but all their toys are backed in the checked luggage? Airports including Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco, Boston Logan, Orlando, and Portland have kid friendly play areas.

If you’re really itching to do something new, head to the book store in the airport and see if they have any books where you can learn a new hobby (mixing drinks, knitting, cooking). Alternatively, how about picking up Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel Book; it might inspire your next trip.

Knowing What to do if your flight is delayed starts before you take off. Always check your flight status at least 24 hours before your scheduled departure time. The best place to get the most updated information is directly with the airline you’ll be flying with. If your flight ends up getting delayed, keep your cool, and know what you’re entitled to.

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