Some posts may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure for more details.
You’ve packed your bags, made your way to the airport, maybe even got as far as the gate when you see that dreaded word. Delayed.
Whether it’s a short delay or an interminably long wait, it’s frustrating not to be able to get where you’re going on the schedule you planned for.
What you can do about your flight delay will depend on a number of factors including the length of delay, but the best thing to do is make sure you’re as prepared as possible in advance, to avoid being negatively affected financially just in case.
How To Be Prepared For A Delayed Flight
Get travel insurance
Travelling without insurance is never wise, as you can always be caught off guard with unforeseen circumstances that could end up costing money you can ill-afford. Making sure you’re protected with travel insurance should always be a priority when making travel plans.
Book with a credit card
Paying on a credit card can make things easier if you end up in the position of needing to get your money back.
Pack a little extra
In the event that your flight is delayed overnight, having a change of clothes and toiletries available in your hand luggage will be a huge help.
What Causes Flights To Be Delayed?
There are several reasons your flight may have been delayed, and usually, although not always, you’ll be informed of the reasons for the delay by airport or flight company staff.
A common reason is weather conditions; bad weather may mean that it’s unsafe to fly and the pilot needs to wait for better conditions.
If earlier flights have been delayed, this may have a knock on effect and cause delays for planes scheduled for later flights.
Engineering or maintenance problems could be another reason for delay, along with staff sickness or absence, strikes, technical issues, the list goes on.
What Should You Do If Your Flight Is Delayed?
Firstly, don’t panic. The things we talked about earlier should mean you are at least a little prepared for this situation.
Secondly, gather the information you need from airline staff or if you’re booked on a package holiday, a rep from that company should be able to help.
What About Compensation?
If it’s a delay of over three hours, you should be able to claim food and drinks vouchers from the airline to help while you’re waiting. It might be worth asking for a pass to an airline lounge, which would provide you with a more comfortable space to wait, as well as food and drink.
If it’s an overnight delay you should also be entitled to overnight accommodation.
A long delay or cancelled flight should mean you’re entitled to cancelled flight compensation, as long as the airline is responsible for the delay.
You’re unlikely to receive any compensation if the delay is due to weather conditions or security reasons.
The flight must also be an EU-regulated flight.
The amount of compensation you can claim is dependent on both the flight distance and the length of the delay.
You can ask for a form directly from the airline when your flight has arrived and claim online through the airline’s website.
If you find the process complicated or difficult there are services such as AirHelp that can help you understand your rights and manage your claim in exchange for a percentage of any compensation won.
If you’ve booked anything separately to your flights or not as part of a package, such as transfers or car parking, you will need to reclaim these costs via your travel insurance.
If your flight is delayed by five hours or longer, you are not obligated to take the flight and are entitled to a full refund.
- Keep hold of your travel documents such as tickets and boarding passes
- Make a note of your departure and arrival times
- Keep any receipts for anything you have to pay for as a result of the delay
- Make a note of any reasons given for the delay
Delays can be disheartening, especially if you were heading off on your holidays! But try and make the best of a bad situation. Take a look at what your airport has to offer. Some have resting chairs, play rooms, games areas. Singapore airport even has its own Butterfly Garden and a swimming pool! If you’re stuck somewhere much less exciting you can always check out the book shop for some new reading material to keep you occupied.
Cancellations and flight delays are frustrating, there’s no denying it, but preparing in advance and being aware of your rights can help make the whole experience a lot less stressful.