Flight Cancellations: What Should I Do if My Flight is Cancelled?

‘Cancelled’ is the last word you want to see on an airport monitor, especially if you are going on your only holiday of the year. Unfortunately, air traffic control strikes, dangerous weather conditions and mechanical failures lead to hundreds of flight cancelations from Ireland every year. What should you do when your flight is cancelled?

What are my rights to flight cancellation compensation? 

If your flight is cancelled you have three options:

  1. A full refund from your airline
  2. Book tickets on another flight straight away for free
  3. Book tickets on another flight at a later date for free

What to do when my flight is cancelled? 

We have some practical tips on what to do if your flight is cancelled:

1. Speak to a person

As soon as you see your flight is cancelled, find your airline’s helpdesk. Hurry, to get a good place in the queue. Often this is the best place to get information. You may also be able to book tickets on alternative flights too.

2. Start dialling

At the airline’s helpdesk, there could be a long queue of people trying to rebook their flight. While you wait in line, get on the phone to the airline’s customer service. You might get through to them quicker than reaching the top of the queue.

3. Get online

It is also worth logging in to your booking on the airline’s website. They might have an automated way for you to rebook online.

4. Be nice

If you don't ask you won't get, so speak up but remember to be nice. Flight cancellations are stressful for airline representatives too. If you can sympathise and empathise, you are more likely to be high on their priority list of customers to help.

5. Check your entitlements

Read the small print of your booking confirmation and ask the airline staff what you are entitled to? Are you reimbursed for meals and a hotel if you can’t get on to another flight today? Some airlines will only reimburse you if agree to rebook on to the next available flight.

6. Contact your travel insurance company

If you’re smart, you’ll have purchased travel insurance. Call your provider and find out what it covers.

7. Check Twitter

A lot of people don’t think to check Twitter but this can be the quickest way to get updates on what’s going on with flight cancellations. If there are no updates on the airline’s Twitter feed, tweet them and ask for information.

8. Become a VIP

If you have a lot of waiting around to do, consider booking in to the airport’s VIP lounge. Not only will you have somewhere comfortable to sit but you might get access to an agent who can help you get rebooked.

9. Get some rest

If you must wait overnight for your flight, it’s worth booking a hotel so that you can get some proper sleep and a shower to wake you up in the morning. Browse one of the many last minute and discount deal websites for an airport hotel.

10. Get organised

The stress of a flight cancellation can lead to mistakes; losing a boarding pass, getting angry at an airline employee or just a general feeling of anxiety.

Some tips for staying calm are:

  • Stop what you are doing for a minute
  • Take x3 deep breaths and release them slowly
  • Focus on your senses – in your head list 5 things you can see around you, it isn’t important what they are, the process takes your focus away from the stress
  • Go for a short walk around the terminal

Next time you travel it is worth being prepared:

  • Put a change of clothes in your hand luggage
  • Bring a travel pillow for long waits
  • Make sure you have travel insurance.

Find out more about the great savings available with AIG Travel Insurance or go ahead and get a quote now.


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