31 Jan KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL ON!
KEEP CALM AND TRAVEL ON!
Flight delays happen. That’s the unpleasant truth. Due to our crazy weather, flights are being cancelled or delayed more frequently this winter. As an airport agent, I knew a short delay was inconvenient, but a longer delay was a frustrating stressful experience for all. I would like to pass on information that may help you feel more in control and help decrease the stress level …. Are you ready?
-Pack one days worth of clothing/snack items/empty water bottle/toiletries/ adapter cord and good book in your carry on.
-Keep your prescription medication and travel documents/money/cell phone/laptop with you at all times!
-If you know your flights delayed, take a snack with you. (Check catsa website on what you can bring thru) On occasion airlines have run out of food on board and at the Tims counter!
-Take a picture of your luggage. Attach filled out name tag on the outside and inside of your luggage.
-Don’t wear shorts and sandals and t-shirts! If your caught with a delay and you end up staying at the airport for a couple of hours or longer you may be longing for your jeans and sweater! You will be a frozen popsicle by the time you get to your sun destination. Dress warm and change later.
-Do not assume the carrier has your email for updates, messages may be sent to who ever booked your trip. If you booked your trip through a third-party such as a travel agent, airline partner, travel site or point company, I recommend that you contact them, as it is unlikely that you will receive direct communications from the airlines. Go over flight times and flight number details and have your email and phone contacts added to your file for the airlines.
There were so many passengers I dealt with that had bookings made months in advance that did not receive updates nor did they reconfirm and found out their flight times had changed on the day of arrival. Please avoid this stressful experience by being very diligent in reconfirming all details of your itinerary right up to a day prior to departure.
-You can assist you’re elderly parents or friends and check directly with the airlines on their behalf. Due to the privacy act you must have either their airline booking reference or ticket number.
-Write down your airline booking reference number in case you need to log into your booking on the airlines official website.(not to be confused with a travel agents or Point companies booking reference as they are different)
-If your airline has a “Flight status messaging” service or “Flight notification” service sign up for updates well before departure. Notifications can be sent directly to your text-messaging-enabled phone or your email address. Some carriers have a service you can access on their websites. (need your booking reference for website)
-I like Flight Tracker or Flight Aware a website and app that offers real-time flight tracking when there are weather problems.
-If your airline does not have a notification service, check your airlines official website. Look for a “Travel Advisory” or “Travel Alerts” post for affected cities or areas. The alert is usually located at the center top of the home page. From there you will be guided with prompts to look for your delayed or cancelled flight.
-If you are at the airport when your flight delays, check both departure and arrival screens. Find out the arriving aircraft’s flight number and check the arrival board for the new time. Knowing this flight is arriving, even if it is late is still good news. Your flight hasn’t been cancelled if still on board and the departure times will usually correlate with that arriving flight.
– Some airlines that have a delay of two hours or more will give you a voucher for a snack.
-If your flight cancels and you are at the airport, the airport agent will most likely ask you to contact a call center agent on their priority toll free phone line so that you will be better assisted with rebooking and having your questions answered. Rather than stand in a long line and waiting, calling makes sense as there are more agents available on the phone than at the airport.
-Some airlines may have a customer service desk for connecting passengers. Every passengers flight is important, however you will find many airlines will take care of passengers who are in transit, or that have onward connections first.
***The GOOD NEWS ( I know its a stretch! ) ..you may have already been rebooked on an alternate flight! Check your phone you may have a FLIGHT NOTIFICATION from your airline. With the notification you will be able to view new flight details if you’ve been rebooked and check in if your flight is eligible for online check-in. Or you will get an update on the original flights updated departure times.
**With some airlines if the notification service has rebooked you on a new flight and you have already checked your bags for your original flight, you may have to reclaim your bags and then check in for your new flight. However, if your departure point and your arrival point is the same but your connecting city is different your luggage may not need to be retrieved and re-tagged. Verify this with an airport agent before you claim your baggage. If you do need to claim your bags make sure you have enough time to retrieve and recheck in your luggage. Each airline will have their own procedures, it is always best to check with the agent and have your baggage claim handy.
-Some airline computer systems may rebook your connecting flight while you are en-route. The airlines automated computer system waits for your first flight to depart and re-books your connection according to the new arrival time. When you arrive, airline staff may direct you to customer service or have new connecting boarding cards to hand out to you.
-Compensation of any kind is not usually given with any carrier due to weather delays. ( Mechanical delays are another matter)
-I like to fly in a day or two in advance for any special occasion. I never recommend travelling the same day that you have a major event on, be that a wedding, cruise connection etc. Expect the unexpected and do yourself a favour and arrive a day earlier.
-If you purchased insurance, check your policy to see what help they provide with expenses incurred during weather delays.
-Delays and cancellations are an exercise in patience. I wish you a Happy New Year with minimal delays and that you are able to get to your destination as quickly and safely as possible. BE CALM AND TRAVEL ON.