One of the most common problems of airline travel are the inevitable delays. We expect a few minutes tardiness in a complex operation where buffer times are tight and safety remains paramount. But those are empty words on those rarer occasions when faced with a few hours of painful waiting at a crowded airport gate.
If that happens to you, there’s more that can be done than stewing in one’s own juices. Next time you’re delayed to a point that it starts to affect you or your plans, the Flexicover team has pulled together a checklist of how to handle the situation and the rights you have.
The golden rule of flying is not to panic – that only makes it more difficult to organise yourself and deal with the situation in an effective way. Instead, stay focused on the things you can do to help yourself: listen out for announcements, be proactive about talking to airline staff and don’t forget to keep hold of documents like your boarding pass – you might need them in regards to claims or complaints afterwards. Keeping a level head will also make you more pleasant for airline staff to deal with - they’re only ever trying to do their jobs after all.
Know your rights
Whether you have insurance or not, your carrier has a responsibility to you that they might not want to offer! Airlines will differ in what they give, but if they’re an EU airline or the flight departed from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland, they have to follow EU law. This means if your flight is delayed for more than two hours, you’re entitled to food and drink and access to phone calls/emails. If it’s more than three hours, you might also be entitled to compensation and accommodation too. So it’s worth brushing up on your rights beforehand.
Find out the details of your travel insurance
Aaaaand relax. A huge benefit of buying travel insurance is that you have peace of mind, so bask in that reassurance. When it comes to delays, our gold and platinum policy levels cover you from 12 hours but other insurers might do things differently. If you keep a copy of your policy with you on holiday, you’ll know exactly what you’re covered for without guesswork, making a tricky time that bit easier.
...if your flight is delayed for more than two hours, you’re entitled to food and drink and access to phone calls/emails. If it’s more than three hours, you might also be entitled to compensation and accommodation too.
Keep yourself entertained
If you can’t beat em, join em. There’s no point in trying to change what’s not in your control, so take this setback as an opportunity to enjoy yourself. If there’s Wi-fi, see if you can catch up on your favourite boxset or discover a new favourite series. If there’s no Wi-fi, grab a coffee and get absorbed in a book. Groups of friends will appreciate the extra quality time together. And business travellers will have plenty of work to be getting on with, but treating yourself to some downtime will almost make you wish you were delayed every time…almost!
Do your research beforehand
Next time you book a flight, it’s worth remembering that some airlines are prone to delays. If you’re not a fan of waiting on uncomfortable seats for long periods of time (who is?), balance the risk with the price and convenience. Travel intelligence company OAG found that Jet2, Thomson Airways, Flybe and Ryanair were the most punctual – these airlines had four out of five flights arrive on time. You can never tell when a delay might occur, but opting for a reliable airline can help the odds fall in your favour.
As much as we hope that your travels always go smoothly , sometimes unexpected mishaps occur. With a Flexicover Travel Insurance policy you can travel with peace of mind.