How to handle flight delays and cancellations

As the world returns to travel at breakneck speeds, airports, airlines and government agencies are struggling to keep up with unprecedented demand.

Let’s look at the best techniques for handling any type Flight delay or cancellation This affects your travel, which is also known as “IRROPS” (irregular operation) in the language of aircraft.

The best practice is Knows how to find solutions quickly When you are in the situation, and after the truth you are getting compensation for any loss.

The former allows you to take the initiative for yourself instead of waiting for the airlines to take care of things for you and it can even be a secret opportunity. Improvement Better air travel, routing or getting time to travel.

Meanwhile, the latter confirms that you are fully suffering for any loss, especially in the face of an airline industry that is not always willing to own its own mistakes.

Before your trip: Strategies for forecasting delays

The best way to deal with delays and cancellations is if you can actively avoid them first, or take steps in advance to make your life easier if they do occur.

Credit card insurance

Start with the expected strategies Choosing the right credit card On which you make your booking. Most premium travel credit cards will provide a pretty strong travel insurance coverage on any flight booked directly using the card, which includes benefits such as compensation for flight delays and trip interruption insurance.

However, if you book a flight over the point, you’ll want to understand which credit cards offer rewards travel insurance, as there are several subtleties between major credit cards when it comes to starting coverage.

For example, the powerful Amex Platinum insurance package will not apply to your flight booked at Airplane Point, even if you charge taxes and fees on the card. For this booking, you’ll need to use TD or CIBC Aeroplan-branded cards, or World Elite cards from BMO or National Bank, which cover prize tickets booked using any type of point currency.

Once your flight is booked using the correct credit card, you will now have the peace of mind that you can claim some insurance if the delay or cancellation affects your travel plans.

Monitor your booking

The next step is Monitor your itinerary in days and hours until your flight, Be aware of any potential obstacles that you may see early on.

For example, in the case of a wide range of issues affecting a particular airport or region (consider catastrophic weather or widespread civil disobedience), airlines often issue Travel waiver Which allows passengers to change their plan at no cost. Planning alternatives during this time allows you to avoid a major headache later in your travel time.

Meanwhile, during flight times, you can check the airline’s app or search your flight number on Google, where any delays or cancellations are often posted a few hours in advance.

The sooner you find a delay or cancellation and make alternative arrangements, the better You’ll be reluctant to arrive at the airport to find your travel plans in isolation, with the rest of the crowd having no choice but to jump at the ticketing desk.


Your travel time: Strategies for finding alternatives

So, your flight plan has been hit with a delay or a cancellation. What now?

In the event of a cancellation or significant delay, the airline will often book you an alternative flight, which may depart that day or the next day. Sometimes they will put you on an alternative route through a different airport or on a flight operated by one of its airline partners, or both.

Either way, if you’re happy with this alternative arrangement, you really don’t need to do anything other than double check your reservation to verify your new flight details.

However, if you are in any way dissatisfied with this alternative plan, or if you feel You can do better (Which is very likely!), Then it’s time to take matters into your own hands.

Research your desired new itinerary

In case of delay or cancellation, the airline may force you to re-book your destination Leverage Any Seats available Any Flight To do this within its interline partner network.

They may not be active I want To do this, since re-booking at partner airlines can be more complicated than re-booking in their own metal, you’ll get there.

This is a situation where a fee of US $ 100 / year on ExpertFlyer can be paid for itself. There are two main features that you will find particularly helpful in dealing with an airline booking confusion.

First, ExpertFlyer allows you to find out which airlines have an interline agreement with the airline you are traveling with. Any such partnership means that the airline is able to re-book you to its interline partner in case of delay or cancellation.

Note that interline partnerships typically extend beyond the three major airline alliances It is very common for Star Alliance Airlines to enter into interline deals with several OneWorld and SkyTeam airlines.

Use Interline agreement Tab, under Travel information Search function in the sidebar, and find the airline you’re traveling with. If an airline shows an e-ticket under the Interline Agreement heading, you can ask them to re-book one of their flights.

Now that you know which partner airlines you can use, you’ll also need to find out which seats and flights are available in your chosen category before heading to the affected airline to re-book. After all, there is no point in asking for a specific flight if all the seats are already occupied by paying the passengers.

For this, use Flight availability Search function to search the specific flight in question. If you travel in business class, you will usually see “J”, “C”, “D”, or “P” fare codes, where if you travel in economy you will see “Y” rent bucket or something after that.

If the number of open seats matches the number of passengers in your group, you know that you can ask to re-book that flight. So for example, if you travel as a couple in business class, you are looking for a flight that has at least “J2”, “C2”, etc.

Use delays or cancellations to get a better itinerary

In this situation do not be afraid to gain your knowledge about the airline route. If you have booked LOT Polish Airlines for a trip from Toronto to Warsaw, for example, you can request LOT to re-book a combination of Air Canada flights to Zurich, then a Swiss flight to Warsaw, allowing availability.

Remember, in case of “IRROPS” or irregular activities, there is no change fee, fuel surcharge or anything like that. This is a potential opportunity to change your itinerary, if desired.

You can ask for a direct flight if you are booked with a connection, possibly to get you to your destination. Or you can choose your airline or try a new one to get a good business class product, without paying any change fee.

If treated with the right mindset, delay or cancellation can really be a wonderful blessing in the guise of an intelligent traveler.

Ask the airline to change your ticket

Once you have found your preferred alternative routing, it is time to go to the airline to state your wishes.

Be smart about it: if you see a lot of crowds at the airline ticketing desk, don’t waste your time there – give the airline a call instead. If hold times are unbearable, try to reach out on social media, as teams monitoring those platforms may be able to speed up the process.

There is no need to be upset.
There is no need to be upset.

If you have lounge access, go to the concierge desk in the airline’s lounge, as agents there can usually handle ticketing as well. And if you have any kind of elite status with the airline (even if it’s low-level status), throw your weight around and politely insist that you should prioritize the rest of the push.

No matter where the conversation is, it is important to contact the airline representative Calm and cooperative attitude. Pear-shaped travel plans can certainly evoke strong emotions in people, but letting go of those emotions will get you nowhere.

Instead, your focus should be on working together with the agent to find a solution, and you should emphasize the fact that you have already found an alternative solution that will work best for you and you simply want the agent’s help in implementation. It is

After your trip: Tactics for seeking compensation

You should also be familiar with the various ways to seek compensation for losses due to delays or cancellations. There are various legal and commercial channels through which you can do this, so let’s give a quick overview of each here.

EU261 for flights from Europe / Europe

The European Union’s EC261, commonly referred to as EU261, is the most well-known example of a legal ruling requiring airlines to compensate passengers for flight delays due to reasons within airlines’ control.

If you fly in Europe on an airline, in Europe on an EU-based airline, or outside Europe on an airline, You are entitled to up to 600 per person as compensation, Depending on the distance of your scheduled flight.

There are several other terms and exceptions governing EC261, which you can see on the EU website.

Keep in mind that airlines do not always cooperate in paying this compensation, and some airlines will even lie to you and blame factors beyond their control for delays when they should actually be paid. Threaten to take legal action if necessary, but do not hesitate until you receive the compensation you deserve.

Canadian Air Passenger Protection Regulations

Canada has introduced its own Air Passenger Protection Regulation, effective December 15, 2019. The big difference between EC261 and APPR is that Canadian regulations require that compensation be paid only when the cause of the delay is under the control of the airline. And not related to security.

Guess what? So each airline can blame their delays for mechanical issues related to safety, or for crew schedule issues that they claim as a knock-on effect from the COVID-19 epidemic beyond their control.

In addition to legal means, you can also specify specific airline charges, which outline some of the key provisions that airlines must pay in the event of a controllable delay.

Examples may include food vouchers and overnight stays and if these provisions are not handed over you can present to the airline staff including tariffs.

Note that if it is late, all of the above will not apply due to some uncontrolled cause like bad weather. And in this situation why you should also have travel insurance, it comes as an advantage in your credit card or you bought it separately.

As we discussed above, if you are sure that your credit card provides insurance at the time of booking, you can go with any peace of mind regarding any delay or cancellation that you must pay for any meal, taxi or overnight stay. Book in case of delay or cancellation, even if the airline is not obliged to do so.

Finally, if you ever need any help in the process of seeking compensation, the Air Passenger Rights (Canada) Facebook group is an excellent resource. Gaber Lukakus, the founder, is doing an excellent job protecting the rights of his fellow Canadian travelers, so I would recommend posting to the group for advice if you need it.


Flight delays and cancellations are likely to occur sooner or later during your trip, and the best way to deal with them is to fully equip yourself with how to pre-empt, deal with and “make sure you’re fully compensated for irregular operations.” “When they happen.

By learning and implementing the strategies in this article, you can hopefully come out with less headaches and more enjoyable travel than your next flight being delayed or canceled. And maybe a nice piece of cash in your bank account!

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