What to Do When Your Flight Gets Canceled or Delayed
Severe weather, mechanical issues, and computer glitches are just a few of the reasons why your flight gets canceled or delayed. This sometimes frustrating and hectic problem may cause you to panic. Once you’ve been notified that your flight has been canceled, there are a number of things you can do to help make the experience better.
Speak to a Gate Agent
If you’re already at the airport gate and you’ve been informed your flight is canceled, be sure to listen carefully to any announcements they may make in regards to the cancellation. Depending on the circumstances, the gate agents may ask that you wait before approaching them about rebooking (as they may be already working on it). They may ask you to call a certain support line, head to another gate, or come up to visit them to talk about your booking options.
Rebook Right From The Airline Website or App
Some airlines will allow you to rebook yourself onto another flight right from their website or mobile application if your flight has been canceled. They may give you one or more options to select from for your rebooking, but if those options do not work you will need to connect with your airline in another manner.
Connect with Your Airline on Social Media
Use Twitter, Facebook or Instagram to connect with many of the carriers. I’ve found that the response time from the airline’s social media accounts is often much faster than waiting on hold or for a callback from their customer service team.
Call Your Airline’s Support Number
Unable to rebook yourself using the previous options? Call your airline’s support number for assistance. If there are major flight cancelations, we know calling the airline support line number have long wait times but is still a good option for you to seek.
More and more airlines are using automated callbacks for long wait times, which means you don’t need to wait on hold. For instance, when I was on hold with Delta regarding a flight cancellation, their phone support system informed me that the call wait time was approximately 35 minutes. I could either wait on the line or have them call me back when it was my turn (and you don’t lose your spot in line). This made waiting to speak to an agent less of a hassle.
One of the best things about having status with any airline is the dedicated customer service numbers they have for their status flyers. Often times the wait will be much shorter than the normal customer service wait time. This is one of my favorite things about holding airline status.
Get Reimbursed for Your Cancellation or Delay
Sometimes you need to cancel your trip and it is at no fault of the airline. The Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit cards provide trip cancellation reimbursement. Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement if a covered loss prevents you from traveling on or before the departure date and results in cancellation of the travel arrangements.
You will be covered up to $10,000 per covered trip as long as you pay with your Chase Sapphire credit card. It doesn’t matter if you are paying cash or using your Chase Ultimate Rewards points. According to the Chase website, examples of a covered situation include the following:
- Accidental bodily injury, loss of life, or sickness experienced by the Cardholder, a traveling companion or an immediate family member of the Cardholder or a traveling companion
- Severe weather that prevents the start or continuation of a covered trip
- Terrorist action or hijacking
- Jury duty or a court subpoena that cannot be postponed or waived
- Financial insolvency of the Cardholder’s travel agency, tour operator, or travel supplier
Further, both the Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Chase Sapphire Preferred provide trip interruption coverage. This will provide reimbursement for expenses such as meals and lodging if your common carrier (airline, bus, cruise ship, train) travel is delayed more than 12 hours if you hold the Sapphire Preferred card and 6 hours if you hold the Sapphire Reserve card or requires an overnight stay.
The delay must be away from the cardholder’s city of residence and be less than 365 days in length. You will be covered up to $500 per ticket for reasonable additional expenses incurred for meals, lodging, toiletries, medication, and other personal use items due to the covered delay.
This is another solid benefit of Chase’s Sapphire suite of credit cards. The Thrifty Traveler team hasn’t had to use either of these benefits, but it is nice to know they are there if we need them.
Thrifty Tip: Not sure which Chase Sapphire credit card is right for you? See our guide to picking the best Sapphire card for your travel needs.
We know how frustrating it can be when your flight gets canceled or delayed. Always remember to stay calm and be kind to the gate agents or customer service representatives helping you. The odds are it isn’t their fault your flight is delayed and kindness goes a long way. There is always a solution to getting your situation dealt with. Staying calm and taking advantage of the resources discussed above will help get you back on track and to your final destination.