Tips for Handling Flight Cancellations

The last thing you want to hear is that your flight’s been cancelled. Delays and cancellations are unavoidable during bad weather, and with all the recent storms, it’s important to know what you should – and should not – expect from the airlines. According to The New York Times, you need to be persistent and use every means possible to get what you need. For example:

  • Try tweeting. When flights are cancelled, airlines notify travelers who’ve signed up for flight alerts by email, text, or phone. If you have a Twitter account, you’ll be one step ahead of other stranded travelers who are also desperate to find another flight. Why? Because more and more airlines are now using Twitter to reach customers, and they’re quick to take care of problems connected to negative tweets.
  • The next flight tip: Read the fine print. The Department of Transportation doesn’t require airlines to compensate you for a delayed or cancelled flight, but each airline posts a “contract of carriage” on their website. So, before your flight, print it out. That way, if an issue arises, you’ll know if an airline will give you credit for future travel, provide meal vouchers, put you up in a hotel – or not.
  • Also, if your flight is oversold, you can be bumped off. That’s why it’s important to check-in before you head to the airport. In fact, most airlines allow you to check-in online, up to 24 hours in advance. If you do happen to get bumped, ask for cash instead of a travel voucher. That’s because passengers who get bumped and rebooked on another flight are entitled to $400 in cash.
  • One final flight tip: report any lost baggage before you leave the airport, and insist that your carrier file a lost luggage report and give you a copy. Most airlines try to return lost bags within 24 hours, but they make no guarantees about reimbursing passengers. All the more reason to pack light and use carry-ons.

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