As the world seems to have reached the consensus that the pandemic is effectively over, people are returning to air travel en masse, which overwhelmed understaffed airports and airlines. The result, when coupled with increasingly intense weather events, has been widespread flight delays and cancellations, a trend that we've witnessed growing throughout the year.
Airports are anticipating the busiest holiday travel period seen since pre-COVID times, as people put the pandemic behind them and seek to reconnect with loved ones. With all the hustle and bustle, and ongoing equipment and personnel shortages still plaguing the aviation industry, there's a greater chance you yourself may have to contend with flight delays during this end-of-year period.
To help air passengers get through such challenges, the experts at Airport Parking Reservations compiled their top tips on what you should do if your flight gets delayed, as well as how to entertain yourself during prolonged wait times at the airport.
Invest in Travel Insurance
With flight delays becoming a common occurrence, it's more important than ever to plan out your trip to the airport, allowing extra time for hassles like long queues at check-in and security. To help handle unforeseen circumstances, it's a good idea to purchase travel insurance that offers coverage for delays and other travel uncertainties. Most policies provide additional cover for flights postponed by more than 12 hours due to a staffing strike, adverse weather conditions or an equipment breakdown.
Keep Expenses Receipts
Typically, coverage for travel delays comes in the form of a fixed benefit to help cover your expenses while you're waiting at the airport, including food and drink. Be sure to keep receipts from your airport purchases so that you can submit a claim to the. airline and, hopefully, get reimbursed for them later on. But, bear in mind that airlines will only pay for 'reasonable' expenses, not things like alcohol, extravagant meals or expensive hotels.
Know Your Passenger Rights
If your flight is delayed you may be entitled to compensation or a refund, but you'll need to know what you're entitled to if you hope to claim it. For flights outside of the U.K. or E.U., passenger rights vary depending upon the particular airline's conditions outlined in the contract of carriage. So, be sure to acquaint yourself with the terms and conditions set out by your carrier. In the U.S., airlines aren't legally required to compensate customers whose flights are delayed or canceled.
Contact the Airline's Customer Service Team
As soon as you learn that your flight will be delayed, contact the airline's customer service department. Representatives should be able to give your guidance on immediate steps you may be able to take to resolve your problem. But, know that flight delays that are beyond the airline's control may negate your right to any compensation, so get informed on the circumstances that caused your delay before calling to complain or demand restitution.
Finding out your flight is delayed is undeniably a very stressful and frustrating experience, as is waiting at the airport when the situation is beyond your control. But, remaining calm and trying to take these difficulties in stride is the best thing you can do for yourself and others, both mentally and emotionally. Make an effort to empathize and be kind to the people around you, who are most likely also distressed at the situation.
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