Since the pandemic started, lots of flights have been cancelled. Travellers were forced to change their plans, readjust their lives. As of Fall 2021 travelling is available again but under different conditions. Since airports reopened, thousands of passengers have experienced delayed or cancelled flights. Airlines also began to struggle with increasing demand and worker shortages. From delays to cancelled flights, passengers had to deal with lots of different circumstances. Over the last months, with the pandemic being still a real problem, airports are full of anxious travellers. That’s why we selected 4 tips to avoid airport trouble and have an enjoyable flight.
1. First tip to avoid airport trouble: Request a refund and rebook your flight.
What if your flight gets cancelled, even hours before departure? This is a nightmare scenario for most travellers. That’s why we thought it should be 1 of the 4 tips to avoid airport trouble. Nevertheless, it is a very usual phenomenon. According to the Department of Transportation, passengers are eligible for a refund if the airline cancels a flight or there’s a significant delay of their flight. The thing is that there is no specified time that the flight has to be delayed for you to get an actual refund. If the delay happens because of the weather, for example, customers can request a refund if the delay or rescheduled flight is more than 90 minutes. Passengers may also request a refund if a schedule change happens at least 72 hours before departure and is four hours or more.
Always look for alternatives, though and as soon as possible. You may be able to buy a ticket on another airline for less than you paid before. Though this process may be more difficult and time-consuming, travellers can also ask their airline to put them on another carrier. If you have no other choice but to call an airline, communicating with them might be tricky. Instead of calling your country’s try one of its English-speaking foreign offices, which may be less busy. Also, if you paid by using a credit card with travel insurance, check for the possibility to get a refund in this way.
2. Second tip to avoid airport trouble: Consider getting travel insurance.
Most airlines will try to sell you flight insurance whenever you book online. There is always pressure to buy more and more products before you purchase your flights. The question about the travel insurance is if it is really worth it after all. Given the current chaotic situation, now might be the time to consider getting one. Travel conditions have changed for good and being sure that you have a safety net to fall back into is quite important. There are new policies that have been designed especially for post-coronavirus travel. Last-minute changes can always occur and insurance might be the solution you need. Be careful to read the rules and conditions.
Not everyone agrees flight insurance is necessary. Frequent travellers and experts recommend it for international trips or complicated itineraries. If you decide to get one, don’t settle for the first one you come across. Find a provider that lets you customise your insurance plan as much as possible. There are lots of newly founded companies who work this way and allow their customers to choose what they need rather than buy a prepackaged product. Different companies offer different deals and prices will vary as well. The amount you pay depends on many variables, including the number of flights and connections. There are usually cheap options for travellers to choose from. The packages can be assembled differently in order to suit the passengers’ individual needs.
3. Beware ultra-low-cost carriers
Cheap airlines offer very low fares and amazing discounts that tempt every traveller. But beware, because their service may be efficient. When the weather is not suitable for a flight, the staff is low or mechanical troubles occur days-long delays can happen. Hundreds of travellers can be stranded at airports when these issues occur but cannot be solved soon enough. If this happens to you, prepare yourself.
Know your rights as a passenger and try to rebook or ask for a refund as we discussed above. Making sure you actually get through to the airline can be tricky though. Call them or write to them to get an official response. It is highly recommended that passengers copy the Department of Transportation when they write to airlines. In this way, you can pressure the agency to order equipment and acquire more crew for their flights and to force airlines to accommodate fliers stranded by other carriers. Keep in mind that what seemed to be the rule is now up to the company. Most large airlines will not accept the ticket from a low-cost airline when there’s a cancellation.
4. Negotiate, or postpone your trip.
Plans may change and be out of your control but there must be a way to be refunded anyway. When you are persistent you will make it, but rewards take time. If you have the privilege of time and you don’t need to figure out your plans immediately you might be able to eventually get what you need. If on the other hand, you don’t have enough time, a travel agent can help you. They will book your flight, for a fee, and then track changes and make rebookings if necessary. The fees are not very expensive and a little help is always useful to avoid being by yourself in a stressful situation.
If none of these solutions brings you peace, think of postponing your travel plans. Lots of travellers are reconsidering travel until air transportation normalizes. It is normal to have travel anxiety, more now than ever before. If you’re anxious about the money you might lose or the situations you might face, we recommend you postpone your trip for now. Things are bound to get better and travelling will be a much less nerve-racking experience soon enough.