Travel Tips

Things To Do If Your Flight Is Delayed

A delayed flight can derail travel plans, but there are a few things you can do to minimize the impact on your holiday.

Find out why the flight is delayed

Flights get delayed for a variety of reasons. So start by contacting your airline to find out why you won’t be departing on time. According to the US Department of Transportation, there are five types of flight delays:

  • Air Carrier. The delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control.
  • Extreme Weather. Blizzards, hurricanes, or other inclement weather can cause flight delays if the airline deems it’s unsafe to fly.
  • National Aviation System (NAS). These delays are issued by the national aviation system, and include non-extreme weather conditions, airport operations, heavy traffic volume, and air traffic control.
  • Late-arriving aircraft. A previous flight with the same aircraft is running behind.
  • Security. Such delays are a result of evacuation of a terminal or concourse, re-boarding of an aircraft because of security breach, inoperative screening equipment, and long lines in excess of 29 minutes at screening areas.

For instance, if your flight is running behind because the plane is being refueled, you can probably expect a short delay – but if there’s a tornado in the forecast you may be in for a longer wait or even a canceled flight.

Use your smartphone

Download your airline’s mobile app. You can use it to check departure statuses, and some apps let you change itineraries without having to speak to an agent in person or by phone.

Check your connecting flight’s status

If you’re trying to catch a connecting flight, you’ll want to find out what that flight’s status is. In some cases, your airline may have to put you on a different route in order to get you to reach your final destination.

Stay calm

Taking a friendly, composed approach can go a long way when you speak to airline representatives. If you throw a tantrum, the agent will be less inclined to offer you a hotel or meal voucher. It’s not the person’s fault your flight has been delayed. Take an even tone, avoid using foul language, and refrain from making personal attacks.

Spend your time with fun

Many airports, both in the US and abroad, offer a wide array of activities and exceptional food. In addition, you can go out and do some sightseeing. Just make sure you’re back at the airport with ample time to go through security.


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