Travelling can be one of life’s greatest joys, so much so that the need to squeeze in a holiday can become an annual habit.
The excitement of a trip can leave you counting down the days, packing your bags weeks before the trip and even arriving at the airport hours before your departure. But even after spending so many days carefully planning every step of your trip, an unexpected cancellation or delay can spoil your well thought out travel plans.
But don’t let a minor hiccup along your journey ruin your joyous mood. Plan ahead, take a few precautious steps and prepare yourself for what might happen to help you stay calm and carry on.
Remain calm and grounded.
According to the Australian government’s Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Economics (BITRE), the number of flights cancelled between the financial year of 2018-19 represented 2.1 per cent of all scheduled flights and was higher than the long-term average of 1.5 per cent.
The rate of cancelled international flights can be even higher. Which means if you’ve been bitten by the travel bug and fly often enough, you’re bound to run into a few problems here or there.
Whether you’re travelling for work or play, there's never a convenient time for your flight to be cancelled or delayed, but if it is, there are ways you can cope and get back on track soon rather than later. As frustrated as you might feel, just remember to be the calm during the storm because a bad attitude won’t help make the situation any better.
Turn to tech.
In this day and age, we thank technology for helping our lives in ways we never imagined. Tech can help you if your flight gets cancelled or delayed through apps on your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
Apps like FlightAware, Tripcase, TripIt and Flightradar24 are easy to use and will help you manage and track your flight in real-time, providing you with updates about your flight status. TripIt Pro will even sometimes send you a cancellation alert before the airline sends out an alert of their own, giving you the advantage of being ahead of the game before other passengers find out the unfortunate news.
Make other plans.
In the old days, your only option was to stand in line at the airport. But now you don't have to wait two hours in a slow-moving line and feel like it's getting you nowhere. Instead, whip out your phone or tablet, get in touch with your airline and book another flight.
If you have travel or flight insurance, you may be entitled to a refund. If you don't, you'll have to wear the cost of a new ticket, which booked at the last moment might be three or four times the price. So be quick to do this because if hundreds of people are in the same boat, and you’re late to the party, you could miss out.
Get a room.
When a cancellation turns into a major delay it's time to contact a travel insurance provider.
Your airline might have a programme for dealing with overnight delays, such as providing vouchers for accommodation and meals, or they might not. Your insurer may well provide compensation as well depending on your cover.
Always get travel insurance.
While being delayed on a return from an overseas holiday might get you some extra time off, it can also end up blowing your budget and cost you unnecessary expenses.
Plus, major weather events can ground air travel for up to a week, which in turn can throw out many other bookings and flights if you're in the middle of a trip, or on the way to an expensive vacation.
Always have travel insurance before you take off. It can mean the difference between inconvenience or an incredibly stressful and costly experience.
If the worst happens, stay in contact with your airline and your travel insurance provider, keep calm, stay optimistic and utilise your resources. Following these steps can go a long way in making your delay or cancellation manageable and help you get to your destination sooner.
Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited ABN 11 000 016 722 trading as CGU Insurance. Any advice is general only. Consider the relevant PDS available from cgu.com.au to see if a product is right for you.