Andrew Astor followed all the correct procedures when the Federal Aviation Administration went into meltdown earlier this month and his red-eye flight was postponed till morning, but it didn’t spare him any suffering.
He said that gate agents made an apparent slight delay announcement ten minutes before boarding.
We had to wait for the plane since another jet hasn’t taken off, he recalled. “They then remarked, “Oh, we’ve got some jet issues that need fixing. There’s a problem with the jet. Five minutes, ten minutes, and thirty minutes later, they kept pressing back.”
While waiting, he looked at the American Airlines app, which similarly showed gradual delays. The phone was busy when he attempted to call the airline. He eventually overheard another traveler announce that the FAA had grounded all aircraft.
Because I am aware of how long the lines may be, Astor added, “As soon as they said the FAA shut down all planes, I headed directly to customer service.”
He claimed that a courteous customer service representative put him on the morning’s next flight, but other than cookies and water, he received no additional compensation.
The customer service strategy for American Airlines states that “You are responsible for paying for your overnight lodging, meals, and incidentals if the delay or cancellation is due to circumstances beyond our control (such as weather). Agents from American Airlines might be able to assist you in finding a hotel.”
What are the mistakes travelers make when their flight is canceled?
Astor did everything right, in the opinion of Danny Rivers-Mitchell, the founder of Black Girls Travel Too, a multi-national boutique tour operator that designs immersive and cultural experiences for Black women.
It’s a lot, but Rivers-Mitchell emphasized that this is where your multitasking abilities will shine. She advises her clients to call the airline’s customer service number and reach out on social media and any other available platforms, such as through the carrier’s app, while they wait, and to get in line for customer service at the airport as soon as possible if they learn about a significant delay or cancellation to their flight.
You would be naive to believe that getting help at the airport requires only waiting in line, she remarked. “There are a limited number of tickets that can be rebooked. I want to have the best chance possible of boarding the following aircraft.”
If you are dissatisfied with the itinerary suggestions made by the airline, Rivers-Mitchell emphasized the need of being aware of your options and prepared to push for substitutes.
Whenever planes are canceled, how can I avoid crowds?
“If I see that my flight is considerably delayed or is getting postponed, I’m immediately searching for alternate flight options,” Rivers-Mitchell said. “If I have somewhere to be that is time-sensitive.” What the customer needs to do is occasionally “assist the airline thinking about other choices,” like asking your airline to rebook you with one of their partners if the timetable is better or allowing you to change your route to go through other airports if it is feasible.
She continued by saying that it’s important to show respect to all airline staff members who assist you. Not only is it the ethical thing to do, but kind customers are more likely to go above and beyond to assist them.
Astor’s personal canceling experience taught him the value of standing up for oneself.
He claimed that not only might the customer service have been far better, but that they also lacked knowledge of the situation.
If a flight is canceled, are there any refunds?
The Department of Transportation mandates that airlines issue refunds to all passengers who are impacted by aircraft cancellations, including those who purchased nonrefundable tickets.
Individual carriers, however, set their policies about delays.
What should I do if there’s a chance that my flight will be canceled?
Refresh your contact details: To be notified of any changes to their itinerary, Rivers-Mitchell said she always urges her clients to make sure the contact information they give the airline is up to current.
Don’t rely on a single app only: She added that she uses a separate app to monitor any changes to her flights.
Prepare Plans B and C: Rivers-Mitchell advised arriving early at the automobile rental desk in case inclement weather prevents a quick flight. You should reserve a rental car if you can drive rather than fly before they are all gone.
Be ready for the worst: She advised buying travel insurance for every trip, no matter how brief, as well as allowing extra time in your schedule to get to time-sensitive activities and taking the first flight of the day to reduce the likelihood that your flight would be delayed or canceled.
“Keeping your expectations in check is crucial. There is a certain amount of patience required, “She spoke. “It all comes down to planning. The topic is risk management.”
How can I get in touch with my airline? What is the finest platform?
The multitasking advice from Rivers-Mitchell is applicable in all circumstances. When something goes wrong, your best course of action, according to her, is to contact the airline through as many channels as you can, including calling, using social media, and standing in line for customer support.
The more communication channels you have available, the more likely you are to get your issue fixed in a way you’re satisfied with, even though it could take some time to fix your problem and get you rebooked.
Astor was unable to plan for the FAA shutdown.
It was exactly like the FAA situation, so it was difficult for me to get irritated, he admitted. What actually could anyone do?
He did wish he’d packed some munchies.
This week’s severely cold weather and ice storms are expected to affect the Central and Southern U.S., so it’s a good idea to research whether your departure airport or airline has a solid track record for flight delays and cancellations.