Flights have been interesting this summer travel season, to say the least. Cancelations, delays, lost bags, and chaotic airports. How do you handle a flight cancelation like a pro? We’ve got your tips on today’s show to help you deal with the not if but when of current airline travel.
What to Do When Your Flight is Canceled
1. Know ahead of time!
- Email, text, airline app
- 3rd party app
- Check flight status 24 hours and 12 hours before.
- Watch the weather
Try to find out before you even go to the airport.
*The airline will most likely contact you if your flight is canceled. Most likely.
2. What to do?
- Get on the airline’s website or contact TA.
- Go to chat function,
- At the same time, call airline customer assistance.
At the airport:
- Get in line at the ticket counter.
- Also, get on the airline app’s chat function.
- Have someone else in your party call customer service.
What about my bag?
Talk to customer service but also be prepared to go without your bag if you are rebooking soon.
But here’s a hot tip. “The easiest way to get in touch with an airline quickly is to call their international phone lines,” Keyes said. “Take American Airlines. They don’t just have their main US hotline; they’ve got hotlines in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Australia, and dozens more. While 99% of US passengers call the main US hotline and endure long waits, you’ll typically get right through at a foreign office, and agents there can handle your reservation just the same.”
Sometimes airlines will rebook you with partner airlines, but it’s not common.
3. Refunds, credits, compensation.
You are entitled to a cash refund if the canceled flight significantly impacts your travel plans and you no longer wish to travel. Pay close attention because there is different “fine print” for each airline. Also, note that this only applies to cancelations and not to delays or disruptions.
You can always ask for compensation, meal vouchers, etc. However, use common sense here (and remember your manners).
4. How do we avoid cancelations?
Fly earlier in the day.
Other Tips for Flying
- Choose nonstop flights when possible.
- Don’t check your bags.
- Always purchase trip insurance.
Question: What do you do when your flight is delayed or canceled?
Please let us know in the All Things Travel Podcast Facebook group!
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Episode 125 Transcripts
Episodes are transcribed with artificial intelligence, so there are likely some highly amusing translations!
Shayne: Hello and welcome to all Things Travel. flights have been interesting. This summer’s travel season to say the least. Cancellations delays, lost bags and chaotic airports. How do you handle a flight cancellation? Like a. On today’s show. We’ll give you tips on what to do when not if, but when your flight is delayed or canceled. You’re listening to All Things Travel, episode 125 original air date, September 7th, 2022.
Ryan: So. When was your last flight cancellation?
Shayne: you know what it has been. A long time since I have personally had a
Ryan: while you are lucky? My friend.
Shayne: But picking out people from the airports and taking ’em to the airports. Just last month.
Ryan: Yeah, we had I, we were in St. Petersburg, Florida for a wedding. At new year’s Eve. And I think we even did a show about this afterwards, where we talked about how to handle flights and yeah. You know, three in the morning we get the, we get the phone call from Southwest and then we scramble over the next couple hours to try to figure out what to do.
And I even remember two summers ago being in, in Washington, DC and the flight back to Indianapolis, essentially the gate agent. Said, I’m sorry. The flight Indianapolis has been canceled and he literally like, like left. There must have been like a trap door
Shayne: Thank you. Good night.
Ryan: And, and I’m not bashing the gate agents in general, but this was just hilarious.
Cuz it’s like all this, everybody kind of looked up and all of a sudden he like ran off. Like he like ran around a wall, never to be found and Lucki. My wife used one of these tips we’re gonna talk about today and we were in really good shape. Yeah. So, so, and remind me at the end Shayne, cuz I have a bonus tip that I didn’t even think
about when when I put this outline for today together.
So remind me of that and I’ve, I’ve got something to share at the end, but first, before we talk about the frustrations of flight cancellation, where in the world does all things.
Shayne: Canton, Ohio
Ryan: Canton Ohio. All right.
Shayne: and east Canton, Ohio. They they’ve both been showing up and I’m not really sure where one be one begins in the other
Ryan: Okay. Well,
Shayne: thought I’d loop them in. But
Ryan: Canton me metroplex, if you will.
Shayne: The Kenton metropolitan area. And I found a cool place for us place. I think you’ll like benders Tavern
Ryan: All right.
Shayne: been open since 1902.
Ryan: be doing something right.
Shayne: Yes. It has a Gar, a gorgeous terrace, which I think I’ll use because the floor, I’ve never told you this, but I have a problem with busy floors, like a checkered floor in maybe a 50 style diners. My,
my brain can’t handle
Ryan: Huh? Okay. All right.
Shayne: Yeah. And their food looks absolutely amazing. I really wanna try this place.
Ryan: All right. Well, Can east Canton. We are so glad that you’re listening to all things travel. Do us a favor, reach out to us on the Facebook group or via email. We’ll we’ll share those at the end of the show because I have a great little, little present, little thank you for you being featured on the show today.
Shayne: And to make sure that you hear where in the world as all things travel next week, be sure to follow the show so that you never miss any of our travel tips, travel ideas, or travel stories.
Ryan: All right, Shayne. So we have a variety of tips of tricks of things to keep in mind when it comes to flying and specifically what to do with major delays or flight cancellations.
The first tip know ahead of time, you will save yourself time and stress if you know, ahead of time that the flight’s going to be majorly delayed or canceled.
So what does that mean? Check your emails, have your tech set up with the airlines, use the airline app or a third party app. I think you you’ve talked about one in the show that you like.
Shayne: Yes. In fact, when the flight that I was talking about from last month, we were sitting, playing a game. A game called Mexican dominoes with our daughters here, waiting for their flight back to Tampa. And I was using this app flight aware to watch their flight. Now flight aware has this little button that you can tap and it’ll it says, where is my flight?
The flight that’s coming here from Tampa. I’m able to find that plane on its route to Tampa from where it’s. And earlier in the day, you can follow the route. Even before that. And I noticed that on the flight, a couple flights ahead that it wasn’t leaving on time.
There was some weird things going on with that. And I kept telling the girls, your flight’s gonna be delayed. Have you heard anything yet? No, nothing yet. Nothing yet. And I kept telling ’em all day, your flight is gonna be delayed. And just by the information on flight wear, knowing that the planes earlier destinations were behind.
Then we were ready for when their flight ended up, ended up being about two hours delayed.
Ryan: Very good. Very good. So sign up with the airline. They’re not, you know, sometimes people don’t wanna put in their personal information, their contact information, cuz they think they’re gonna get spammed or whatnot. This is a time where you wanna have. Your contact information. You want them to have your mobile number?
You want them to have your email because that’s how they communicate with you. Check your flight 24 hours ahead of time. Check on the app. Check online. Yes, my flight’s still on time for that next day. Check 12 hours ahead of time. Yes, it’s still on time. And then. If your flight is canceled, the airline will most likely contact you via email, via text via the app.
Most likely, sometimes it doesn’t happen, but nine times outta 10 in my experience, Shayne. We’ve been told enough ahead. There was one time we were going to Hawaii and we were actually unloading the car at the airport and we got a text that our flight was gonna be delayed about six hours.
And we’re like, Ugh. But what had happened was they didn’t know it was gonna be delayed till it got to the airport and they had it look at it and they’re like, no, this is gonna take more time. So. In that situation, it was a weird situation, but yeah. So first of all, try to know ahead of time, if you can.
What’s the second tip.
Shayne: Knowing what to do. And this is gonna depend on whether you’re at home or you are already at the airport. So, If you’re at home, you can get on the airlines website or you can contact your travel advisor to figure out what to do and in addition to getting on the airlines website, you can use the chat functions in the airlines app, maybe call them sometimes it helps if one of you is on the chat function while the other is trying to call in and looking on the website, just
Ryan: That’s a good.
Shayne: Hitting them from three different places. If you’re already at the airport, then go ahead and get in line at the ticket counter because the gate agent is probably gonna have the most information that the best updated information you can find from over anywhere else. And then while you’re in line, also get on the app and use the chat function.
And if someone’s
Ryan: this is what my wife has done in the past. And it’s been really helpful because now you’re in, in the queue, if you will, in both places and she’s actually been standing in line. Waiting her turn physically where virtually she’s already talking to somebody on chat, getting things figured out, and she’s actually been able to get him out of line before her turn.
But you know, before even getting to the counter and this actually also occurred when our bags were lost, she was in line waiting to talk to somebody and on chat and was able to take care of it on chat. Before she even got to the front of the.
Shayne: And another secret tip that I tried on a flight from Tampa that was delayed once is when they announced the delay and everyone was standing in line at our ticket counter. I walked down a couple of other ticket counters for the same airline that weren’t busy and there was someone there. I asked them what was going on and they were able to give me pretty good information without having to wait in the other line.
Don’t tell anyone else about
Ryan: don’t follow the, her. You know, because everybody’s gonna go to the same place with the same question. If there’s a way. To talk to another agent. Now, the days are gone where another airline is gonna help rebook you on another air. I mean, that’s, that’s not what I’m talking about.
You know, don’t go to the general airport, you know, go to a, if you’re flying with American, go to an American kiosk But, you know, if everybody’s standing at the same place and you see an option to talk to somebody else, do that. Another one, Shayne that goes along with this, and this is, this is not something that I’ve tried, but as I research that this topic for today, a hot tip that kept coming up is if your phone company allows it, if the type of data that you have allows it, instead of calling the us customer, Call and abroad number.
So maybe you have free calling to Mexico or Canada or something like that with your data plan, call the Canadian number or the Mexican number because everyone else is gonna be calling the us number. And you’re gonna get through a lot faster than you would with the us number. That was kind of a Jedi trick that I hadn’t thought of.
Shayne: Yeah, I worked in a call center when I was in college and I can remember now how the calls were routed for various campaigns for back at the time we did calls for at and T and for hotels. And so I can definitely see how you’ll be in a different queue if you try those other numbers.
Ryan: Yeah. Now what happens if I’m at the airport, Shayne? And I, I, maybe it’s a connection. So my, you know, I’ve checked my bags and I don’t have my bags, so my flight’s gonna be canceled or my flight’s gonna be so delayed that I’m not gonna be able to come back till you know, much later or the next day, what should I do about my bags?
Shayne: Well, hopefully you’ve prepared in advance for a day or so without your bags, cuz that is always a possibility. , but in the meantime, go talk to customer service and ask them, you know what, ask them, cuz they’ll have the best information of where your bags are. They’ll probably all be together with the other people on that flight.
So they’re gonna know they’re gonna have answers for everybody. That’s on your flight. That is delayed.
Ryan: C correct. You do have to be realistic. If, if your flight is canceled, you will eventually, and you choose not to fly. And we’ll talk about the differences with this in a little bit, and you choose not to fly. You can get your bags. If the flight is just delayed and you are drastically inconvenienced by that maybe even spending the night in the city, you won’t necessarily get your bags for that flight and you need to be prepared in case that happens.
Shayne: That’s why I always have at least my toothbrush and some floss and a little bit of mouthwash
Ryan: You know, and, and having one day of medication, if you take a certain medication, stuff like that, you just, it’s just good planning. So the third tip is sometimes airline will rebook you with their partner airlines, but it’s not common. So if you’re flying with air Canada, ask them about United, or if you’re flying with KLM, ask them about air Canada, because those flight.
Those airlines have a partnership and sometimes they will work together. Now they do not have to, and it’s not as common as just booking on the same airline, but they do have some options when it comes to getting you where you need to be.
Shayne: Well, and now we can talk about when the delay or the cancellation occurs. Now it’s time to figure out what you’re gonna get in regards to a refund, a credit or compensation. If the canceled flight significantly impacts your travel plans. And you no longer wish to travel.
You are entitled to a cash refund, but pay close attention to the fine print, because it’s gonna be a little different for each airline and this only applies to cancellations not to delays or disruptions. And then you can always ask for compensation for a meal voucher or something like that, but use common sense and one of the best pieces of advice here is.
be nice. You might be that one person. That’s nice when everybody else is yelling at them, demanding answers. So just be nice.
Ryan: Yes. And I know there’s a lot of discussion about, you know, if this happens to my flight, I’m entitled to this. I’m entitled to that. All I can say from a travel advisor standpoint is yes, you probably are entitled to compensation. Yes. You are probably entitled to credits, but. It is really dependent on who’s standing across the counter from you, and it’s really dependent on the situation.
And so being nice, being pleasant, trying to work with the person across the counter will help you immensely when it comes to those things. No, obviously, if you just decide I’m not flying, you will be, you, you will be entitled to cash refund. That doesn’t mean immediately. They’re not gonna handle you a check that day.
It means it’s, they’re gonna start that process of refunding you. If you choose to go get a hotel room for that night and they haven’t been offered to that. You can start the process the next day with the airline to get reimbursed for that, but just know, there’s no hard and fast rules when it comes to this.
So that’s just so manners matter, patience matters. And just trying to figure out the best situation for you and your family is the best thing that you can do. So how do we avoid flight cancellations? There’s always gonna be cancellations, but I can tell you one tip that helps more than any fly earlier in the day, especially with your initial flight.
The earlier the better, because flight cancellations and major delays stack up during the day, they very rarely occur first thing in the day. So I know you don’t wanna fly to Florida at 6:00 AM. I know, I know you don’t wanna get a hotel room for the night before just to get up at three to make it to the airport for the first flight.
But if you are concerned about delays, if you are concerned about cancellations, that’s your best strategy.
Shayne: Yeah. If you have a one o’clock flight, there’s a pretty good chance that your airplane is going to be coming from somewhere else before your flight. And if it’s delayed there, then your flight’s gonna be delayed. And if you’re later in the evening, it just increases your chances that. For each trip, that plane makes that your flight is gonna be delayed.
Ryan: So here’s the tip that I just remembered. Shayne, as we talked about this, we had a situation, the situation I talked. Earlier was in Washington DC, where our flight was delayed about five hours. So, very significantly it was going to really impact our travel day. And we had three kids with us, our two kids, and one of my daughter’s best friends was with us.
And we’re like, this is gonna suck, you know, sitting in the airport having to deal with all this. So we went to the United lounge. And we purchased day passes and really for all five of us, because the kids were free because they were under 18. It was rather economical. So instead of sitting in the airport, quote unquote, we were able to sit in the lounge.
We had food, we had beverages, we had a nicer bathroom amenities. If you will, nicer seats, places to charge. I was even able to go to the work center there and get some calls done and get some work done. Did it cost us money? Absolutely. , but it certainly, even as we looked at, okay, we’re gonna have to feed everybody, with a meal and a snack and different things like that.
Well, you know that, you take that into consideration. It was pretty dead even, and it was a lot nicer situation for somebody who does not tend to travel using those lounges. If you’re faced with a big delay like that, you might want to think about that and see if that’s an option.
It won’t necessarily always be, but I’m glad that happened. That.
Shayne: Were you flying United and I was able to find,
Ryan: Yes. That’s why we went to United, cuz that was the one where it was canceled and the guy was, miraculously disappeared. And so we were able to rebook on a flight later that evening, but we had half a day where we were gonna sit in an airport.
Shayne: And did they offer that to you because of the situation or did you, you just thought of it and asked
Ryan: We just thought of it and went to the lounge and asked if there were in a day passe as possible. And no, I know there are people out there that are listening right now that have credit cards that allow them to do this, or have loyalty status that allow them to do this. And that’s a great option.
Also for us, we decided to do that, that, you know it never hurts to ask and it worked in our favor that day.
Shayne: Oh, it was a great idea. Ryan, have you ever considered maybe becoming a travel advisor or planner as a career
Ryan: Quite possibly quite possibly. All right.
So as we wrap up, sir, two more last minute tips. I’ll take the first one. You take the second one, choose nonstop flights when possible, not direct flights because direct flights can stop midway at other airports, but choose a nonstop flight when you can, because. Once you’re able to get off the ground. You’re on your way. You’re not having to worry about that 45 minute layover that you thought you shouldn’t book, but you did and all that kind of stuff. You’re heading to your destination, Shayne. I know that you preach this next one. What is it? I.
Shayne: it’s kind of funny that I would get assigned to this one because it’s something I’ve. Changed my mind about over the course of this summer. And that is don’t check your bags if you
Ryan: Because all that problem with not having your bags goes away. Doesn’t.
Shayne: Oh yeah. Yeah. You have all that stuff with you. Whether it’s your medications, your nightly toiletries.
You’ve got it all with you.
Ryan: You know, and for somebody that flies Southwest, where two bags per, per flight is in, or two bags per passenger is included. This is really hard because. I want to be able to pack what I want. And if I know that I have the space and it’s included, I’m probably gonna do it, but maybe what I should do then is take a carry-on that I have this stuff in and take one check bag.
Yeah, it’s just, I’ve had too much trouble this summer. I totally get where you’re coming from.
Shayne: well, and then on your return flight, you could always just pack your laundry in the one that you check, maybe some souvenir that you’re not gonna need immediately. And then the stuff you need for the next day, keep that in the carry on. So you have it with you.
Ryan: Absolutely. Well, Hey, we know that flights are tough right now. We know that there’s delays. We know there’s cancellations, but try these tips. The next time something happens, be prepared by setting yourself up to get information, know what to do if, when you’re at the airport and have some of these tips up your sleeve and you’re gonna have a better flying experience.
Where are you gonna go with that flight? You’re gonna go on vacation and Shayne and I would love to help you plan that vacation. As you know, we are both travel advisors with Creating Magic Vacations. You can reach out to us to plan that tropical or that fun family fun trip. You can reach me, Ryan at creating magic vacations.
That’s R Y a N or Shayne at creating magic vacations. That’s S H a Y N.
Shayne: Most families are confused and overwhelmed when planning a vacation, we work with you to plan a trip perfect for your interests, saving you time, money, and stress.