No matter what you do, there’s always a chance that your flight could end up being delayed or cancelled in today’s hectic travel world. Anything from a problem with an airplane’s engine, to an issue with the weather, can be enough to leave you grounded and unable to enjoy that holiday you spent so long waiting for.
More on this another time but we recently fell victim to the weather on a connecting flight! On our way to Philadelphia we had a connection in Vancouver, the snow way coming down thick and fast which meant our flight was cancelled. I’m sure you can imagine my face after having just spent 6 hours on a plane with a toddler… Thankfully we made it onto a later flight that night but it was a really tiring and stressful experience. I hope never to have to repeat it!
Although you might not be able to necessarily stop yourself from having to face the discomfort and frustration of a flight delay or cancellation, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take extra steps to reduce your risk. The more strategic you are about your travel plans, the more likely it is that you can boost your chances of getting to your destination on time. Here are a few tips to help you avoid a cancellation on your next flight.
1. Book an Early Departure
Most people avoid early morning departures like the plague when it comes to booking their holiday. That’s because no-one wants to think about having to get up at the break of dawn or even earlier just so that they can get to their flight on time. Of course, if you’re willing to wake up a little earlier, then the benefits can outweigh the negatives. After all, you can always get some extra rest on the plane, and you’ll be able to avoid the “ripple effect” that can happen with airline delays throughout the day.
In the average airport, every time a flight is cancelled or delayed, it has an impact on the subsequent departures around that flight. This means that flights towards the end of the day are the most likely to face the biggest issues. What’s more, if you fly late, your chances for same-day re-routing will fall drastically. It was thanks to this tactic that we managed to secure a later flight out of Vancouver!
2. Strategic Connections and Non-Stop Flights
When you’re on the web looking for your early morning departures, make sure that you keep an eye out for non-stop flights and planned connections too. Ultimately, booking a direct flight will always be the ideal option, because it removes your chances of suffering from multiple delays and missed connections along the way. While it can be a little pricier to shell out for a direct flight, it’s worth putting some thought into whether the splurge is worth it.
If you do have to book a layover, then take the time to research where your layover is going to take place. If you have some flexibility on your layover, look for cities that generally have fewer weather problems. You might also want to try travelling through less congested routes too, where you’ll find fewer chances of delays and more opportunities for re-routing.
3. Plan Ahead Whenever You Can
It’s impossible to predict when a flight delay or cancellation is going to take place. However, what you can do as a savvy passenger, is keep an eye on the weather in the days before your flight is supposed to take off. This can be a useful strategy in helping you to avoid flight delays and make any necessary changes in advance. Some airlines will even be able to waive the fees associated with changing your flight if you have a good reason for making the change.
It’s also a good idea to think about calling your airline in advance to check what the status of the plane is. This will make sure that you’re the first person to know if any potential problems are on the horizon, and it will also mean that you’re instantly talking to someone who might be able to re-route your travel plans for you.
4. Be Proactive and Arrive Early
Arriving at your chosen airport early can get rid of potential problems on a number of different fronts. For instance, an extra amount of time will allow you to handle any delays that might occur when there’s bad weather on route to the airport itself. What’s more, since cancellations and delays are typically only announced in the hours prior to a flight, arriving before the other passengers will mean that you’ll be one of the first people to re-book yourself into a new available seat.
5. Check for Compensation
Finally, if there’s nothing that you can do to avoid a flight delay or cancellation at the end of the day, you can at least find out what your rights are when it comes to compensation. The next time you book a trip or vacation, check out what the airline’s policies are when it comes to compensating passengers for delayed flights. If you’re traveling in Europe, then you should make sure that you’re familiar with the regulations for EU flight compensation.
I hope this is helpful if you ever find yourself stranded half way around the world like we did! Thankfully the staff at Air Canada couldn’t have been more accommodating and ensured we had a spot on the next flight and a hotel as a back up incase it was also cancelled.