If you haven’t read Part 1 yet, please do so. That post will help you prepare for a cancellation.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having a flight cancelled while you’re on the road or at the airport. Fortunately, Part 1 will help you prepare for the situation. Here’s how to manage it when you’ve left the comforts of your home. At the airport, your options for rebooking will be a bit more limited, but the situation is manageable.
- If it’s snowing, raining, sleeting, sharknadoing, etc., you’ll have to be prepared for a cancellation. Use your common sense on whether you think the flight is going to go. The agent might be willing to book you on a flight the next day before it’s officially cancelled. Unlikely, but possible.
- If you have access to your airline’s business lounge, wait there as long as possible before your flight. The lounge agents are usually the cream of the crop. Likewise, if you are waiting at the gate but have lounge access, head directly to the lounge when you hear the announcement (or receive your text). Only one person in the party needs to go. [important]You can usually buy a one-day pass at the airline’s business lounge for $50. If the wait at the gate is interminable, this may be $50 very well spent. Since you probably won’t be able to bring all of your traveling companions in, help yourself to the cookies and veggies.[/important]
- While waiting at the gate, try to sit as close to the agent’s desk as possible. Don’t bother them until you know the flight is cancelled, since they will have people constantly running up and asking. They’ll make an announcement. As soon as you hear even the beginning of an announcement, head straight to the podium. Only one person in your party has to go. You must be the first or second person to the podium. Those podium rebookings will take forever, since the agents are starting from scratch rebooking people.
- If you are not first in line, call the airline’s number which, if you read Part 1, should be on your speed dial. If you get an agent on the phone before you get to the front of the line, deal with the phone agent until either the transaction is complete or you do reach the front of the line. If the phone agent is able to confirm you on a flight when you reach the front, have the airport agent print you a ticket. [warning]When the agent at the airport gives you a new flight, make sure that you are ticketed and confirmed. Do not just accept a piece of paper and move on. There is a difference between “purchased” and “ticketed.” You want the latter.[/warning]
- Here’s where your preparation will pay off. By being able to give the agent options for what flights you want, not only will you get through the process much more quickly but the agent will be eternally grateful at how much work you saved them. You’ll also have a much better shot at getting a flight that you want. Remember, you have more leverage if the delay is caused by the airline itself rather than the weather.
- Don’t forget to ask for food or hotel vouchers. Again, you’ll have more leverage if the airline is the cause of the problem.
- If your flight isn’t until the next day and there is no hope of getting on another flight that day as a standby passenger, leave the airport now, or check in at the lounge (and ask again about stand-by). You don’t want to get caught in the scrum at a local hotel.
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