Solo Travel: Delays

I think we all have had our share of airplane delays in the past and we all know that it really sucks. But what if the delay is more than an hour? Do you know your rights as a passenger?

Vouchers

Most airliners compensate their travelers with vouchers. If you have an hour delay, they tend to give you 15 dollars per person you travel with to get something to eat. This is mostly enough to get yourself a fast meal at a fast food place.
You definitely don’t have to go to a fast food place, you can also use it for bottles of water, snacks. Or you can go to a nice big restaurant, just know that you will have to pay for the difference.

However if you are traveling business class you get invited to relax at the private lounge and you get a bigger amount. I’m not completely sure what the median¬†is for business class but it should be somewhere between 25 dollar and 50 dollar.

Cash Back

When I was traveling from Orlando back to Amsterdam, we had a major delay of 6 hours. There was a Tropical Storm the previous day and the people stranded back then were able to travel with our plane.
The airline gave us the option to wait and get 300 dollar back from our ticket. Which is a pretty good amount seeing that we had to wait for the next airplane and hope we could get on that one.
However there were two seats left and me and my sister could fly back home without any problem, but we didn’t get the 300 dollars because we took them up on their offer.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is so important if you are flying.

Murphy’s Law: “What can go wrong, will go wrong”

If you have a flight cancellation, your travel insurance will probably cover that, make sure that you read all the fine print. What if your flight is delayed to the next day? Not all airlines will cover the expense of a hotel. But your travel insurance mostly will!

Nothing wrong with paying a bit of extra cash for so much more comfort for when everything does go wrong.

Document Everything

If you do have to make a claim for insurance, or you want to sue the airline for not giving you anything that you do have the right to have. Know your rights
Not every company will believe you on your pretty blue eyes, they need hard facts.

  • Take pictures of your luggage.
  • Take pictures of your ticket(s)
  • Get written statements from employees
  • Everything you buy or have to pay for, keep the receipts

Without many of this you cannot get anything back. Be sure to be overprepared rather than unprepared!

Social Media and Apps

Social Media is really handy for companies, but people who complain on it can be a disaster! All the big companies have Facebook Pages or Twitter Feeds. Need answers that local employees cannot give you? Get to social media!

Most Airlines and Airports have Apps available for you to use to get info on your flight status. Make use of it. It is there, so why not make the most of it!

Feeling Alone

You are never alone during a delay, there are at least 100 other passengers who have the same. Be sure to stay around the others because companies will rather give a whole group the info than to go to everyone independently.

Groups often have structures, even if you have never met.

  • Leaders
  • Social Media Experts
  • Complainers
  • Care givers
  • The “I have had this before and I want to talk as much as possible about it right now”

These are a couple of roles you find in every group when it comes to delays.
Sometimes a group can have multiple leaders, which can be a problem, but flock to the person who you think is the most knowledgeable.
Maybe you are one of the people I just described, but be sure to not be a complainer, complaining itself is fine, but don’t become the person who complains so much you want to rip your hair out.
And by god…Do not become the “I have had this before and I want to talk as much as possible about it right now”. We have all experienced delays in our times, don’t become the bragger who thinks he’s so interesting that you have to hear a whole life story.

Conclusion

Know your rights, use everything to your disposal and get travel insurance. You might not need it, but by the time you do need it you will thank yourself for the less of a mess you will get.

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