How to Prepare for Flight Delays in 6 Simple Steps

March 27, 2019

Airplane Wing

Nothing starts your vacation or business trip off on the wrong foot quite like an unexpected travel delay. Unfortunately, no matter how carefully you plan your itinerary, or how far in advance you start arranging your schedule, there are countless reasons why you might end up waiting longer than you expected to get to your destination.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing you can do to stop a sudden storm or a technical issue from grounding your flight. However, that doesn’t mean that you must resign yourself to having no control over your next adventure. Learning how to prepare for potential flight delays means that you’ll always be one step ahead of a disaster.

  1. Watch the Weather

First, it’s important to be aware of how likely it is that something will go wrong with your flight. You don’t have to be a weather expert to know that a week of serious snow storms might impact your travel plans. If you’re aware that the skies are in turmoil when you’re set to fly, then think about taking some extra precautions, just in case.

For instance, can you start looking up alternative routes to your destination now, just in case your flight can’t take off? If you’re worried about the problems with flying, can you get to wherever you need to be in a car instead?

  1. Get a Free-to-Cancel Hotel Reservation

There are many websites online today that will allow families and individuals alike to book a room with a hotel, and cancel that room for free, if they’re willing to pay a little extra when they show up on the day. Although taking this route might mean that you end up slightly out of pocket if you need to find somewhere to stay while you’re waiting for your flight, you’ll be in a much better position than someone who’s trying to find a room on the day.

Just make sure that you read up on your airline to find out if they’re obliged to pay for a room for you if you’ve been delayed for longer than 3 hours. Most of the planes flying in the EU will offer accommodation to those who can’t fly according to the original schedule.

  1. Get Your Tech Ready

The last thing you want when you’re stuck in an airport without a plane, is to have no way of contacting the airline, your travel insurance company, or even your hotel help desk. Take some time before your trip to list all the people that you might need to contact if disaster strikes and program their numbers into your phone.

It’s also worth investing in a region-free sim card just in case you get stranded somewhere and your standard minutes and texting package won’t work. Some airlines even have apps that you can download when you need some extra help planning your travel.

  1. Know Your Rights as a Traveller

Remember, though airlines can’t be held accountable for everything (such as storms), they will be expected to offer you some compensation if you’re flying with an EU-based airline, or to an EU country, and your flight is delayed by 3 hours or more. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to check what your rights are before you start your journey, so you know what to do when something goes wrong.

If you do need to contact an airline representative, we recommend phoning the number that you’ve programmed into your phone for the company, or downloading their app, rather than waiting to talk to someone in person.

  1. Keep Yourself Entertained

A flight delay is often a stressful and frustrating experience. Sitting in a crowd full of angry people while you wait for your situation to be addressed is unlikely to make you feel much better about the situation. With that in mind, try to look for ways that you can keep yourself entertained instead. For instance, bring a book with you to the airport. If everything goes smoothly, at least you can read it on the plane.

On the other hand, try spending some time wandering around the stores and restaurants in your terminal or airport to pass the time. You can even strike up a conversation with your fellow passengers.

  1. Stay in Contact with the Airline

Finally, make sure that you’re up-to-date on the latest information about your flight as you prepare for your upcoming trip. Check your email and read the news stories published by the company before you’re due to take off, to make sure that you’re the first person to be aware if something has changed. If your airline informs you that your flight may be delayed, they may also give you an option to change your travel details without any extra expenses too.