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Top 5 things you need to know about flight changes & cancellations!
Y'all, travel is messy! Flights change. Tickets get cancelled. Bags get lost.
It is never fun to deal with but we are not going to tell you that these travel hiccups don't happen! However, knowledge is power, right?! So to help you understand these changes more, here are the top five things you need to know about flight cancellations and delays:
Did you know that the farther out you book your flights the more likely you are to have changes arise? When you purchase a flight all details associated with that travel plan are not set in stone (scary right?). While specific flight routes from point A to point B and the general time frame are confirmed, the specifics like exact departure/arrival times and aircrafts are not. Because these flights can change, airlines are required to notify you of any major changes to your flight plan 14 days in advance. Changes can be caused by things like weather or mechanical issues that come up outside of that window, but any major schedule changes by the airline will be communicated to you in advance! A "major" schedule change is typically a 90 minute difference, however this is up to the discretion of the airline. Always keep an eye on your flight 24 hours before your departure to make sure you account for any changes and know when to head to the airport.
- If you are outside of what is considered a "minor change", you have the rights to call the airline and consider your other travel options. Again, knowledge is power! It is always a good idea to check what other options the carrier has available so you can know what other flight times exist. This little amount of research on the front end can expedite the process and save you some travel stress!
- Flight changes sit in a queue before they are approved and you are notified. So while you might have a change in your flight, you may not get notified right away as they work through all of the people waiting to be notified of changes. It is good to know that these notifications are not instantaneous and they do take some time to organize and work through.
- A legal connection is 45 minutes. This is especially important to know if you are traveling internationally where there are added logistics you have to account for. Be aware of this as you are booking flights and plan accordingly.
- If you experience a cancellation or delay, try your best to be the first at the counter (and wear a smile)! We all know that airlines overbook seats constantly. The only seats they do not overbook are first class. So when you are dealing with a delay or cancellation, it pays to be the first person at the counter to give yourself a better chance of getting on the next possible flight. Also, it is important to note that travel delays are incredibly stressful... but it never pays to be rude to people who can do you a favor so be sure to smile and always be polite to the gate agents!
- If there is a mass cancellation, think through your possible accommodation options ASAP because they go quickly! If you do foresee in-climate weather or something that would cause a mass cancellation, book a hotel or rent a car immediately to avoid bunking in the terminal.
Tips to avoid the hinderance of cancellations:
- Look for connections that are as close to your end destination as possible. This makes driving a feasible option if cancellations do occur.
- This may sounds like common sense but use airlines that have great customer service!
- Recheck your flight 24 hours in advance to ensure that you are arriving the airport with enough time to get to your gate.
- Airlines are very responsive on Twitter so when travel issues or questions do arise use this as a resource!