Photo Credit: Marcelo Chagas
Here's What You Should Do If An Airline Cancels Your Flight
Flight cancellations and travel changes have been occurring more frequently since the pandemic due to staff shortages, sick passengers, and crew timeouts. This leaves travelers wondering what they should do if their flight gets canceled?
One of the worst feelings when traveling is the stress of a flight cancellation.
If you do end up in a situation where your flight is canceled or changed, here’s what you should do:
How to know if your flight is canceled
Download the app of the airline you’re flying with and turn on notifications. If there are any delays or cancellations, you will be notified immediately.
If apps aren’t your thing, you can simply do a Google search of your airline and flight number to see the status of your flight.
Twitter is also a great way to keep up with your airline of choice. Airlines usually have dedicated social media teams to answer travelers’ questions in real-time.
Contact your airline
Most airlines don’t tell you this: wait times over the phone can be shorter than in person at the airport. If there is a long line at your gate, be sure to call or reach out to the airline on social media.
Clint Henderson, Managing Editor for News, The Points Guy says, “If your flight is delayed or canceled, first see if the airline you are flying can put you on a competitor’s flight.” That’s right, you should ask your airline to put you on the next flight of their competitor to your final destination.
Alternatively, you may be able to get a refund on your ticket and book another flight.
Airline refund policies
Every airline has its own refund policy for canceled flights and delays. Be sure to read the airline’s terms and conditions before booking your flight. Policies could change depending on the type of ticket you purchase.
Domestic flights usually result in getting booked on another flight or receiving a voucher for a future trip. If you cancel your trip after a flight cancellation, you are able to get a refund for the unused portion of the flight. This includes non-refundable tickets as well as prepaid baggage fees and flight upgrades.
The U.S. Department of Transportation requires airlines to refind travelers if flights get canceled and if a traveler chooses not to rebook, they should receive a refund, even with a nonrefundable ticket.
Airlines will always try to rebook you but remember it’s your right to ask for a refund.
This requirement applies to flight cancellations that are of fault to the airline. Instances involving bad weather is not part of the policy and airlines are not required to rebook or refund passengers.
It is recommended not to purchase ‘basic’ fares as it’s more difficult to receive vouchers and refunds.
Research before booking
Do your research before booking flights. Don’t book the last flight of the day, because if your flight gets canceled, you’ll have to wait until the next day for another flight. Purchase travel insurance to ensure you’re protected if anything goes wrong. Always be sure to read the terms and conditions of your flight and travel insurance before booking.
Have a backup plan
Know the other airlines that fly the same route. This will be helpful in case you need to book with another airline after a flight cancellation.
Always book your flights with a credit card! It will be easier to navigate refunds and receive assistance.