Think travel is always pretty?! Well, imagine arriving at the airport at 6am, checking and passing security by 6:20am and settling in at your gate by 6:30am, only to NOW learn your 8:07am flight is delayed until 12pm…or possibly later! You barely got any sleep last night because you’d been flying the day before and…you’re just p*ssed at this point! You get up to stretch your legs and see other planes taking off, flying their passengers to their destinations. For a travel blogger, you either stand at the desk while the attendant robotically repeats, “no update yet,” or you bang out a blog for your readers! I chose the latter!
Here are 4 things to do to make sure an airline doesn’t skimp on paying you back for a delayed or cancelled flight!
Writing this from the Orlando airport…
1. Research the airline’s policies
Ever read the fine print for something and your eyes started blurring seeing the legalese and lawyer jargon that turns us off from reading these things anyway? Yea, annoying! But you’re stuck in the airport anyway so you might as well just read the darn thing! While you’re delayed and wondering why the weird couple next to you is so…weird (totally happening to me right now), multi-task by reading over the company’s compensation or return policy. KNOW YOUR RIGHTS!
2. Complain in writing…and in a tweet!
Get to crafting the craftiest email! As a traveler you are contractually obligated to some kind of compensation when your flight is delayed or cancelled, but if you don’t make your voice heard then it wont be. Oh, and don’t underestimate the power of social media. The first thing I did when we got the notification was to send a nice little tweet to the airline’s Twitter page, and yes, they responded promptly! The last thing brands want, is for customers calling them out on social media! And it pains me to do it to some of my favorite brands when they’ve wronged me, but like any good relationship a little tough love is needed sometimes, right? Once you’ve safely made it to your destination, find out the best route to formerly lodge a complaint and do it!
3. Snap a pic, shoot video, write…just document!
Listen! Businesses love to play the fool when they know they might have to shell out some money to you. Instead of pacing the airport terminals back and forth and buying more neck pillows you don’t need, use that time to document every single part of your experience. Snap photos, gather emails, write down announcements and updates and even your actual departure time. Ensure you make constant contact with one agent at the gate and get his/her name and swap email addresses. Compile all of this in your email or complaint file. The more facts you have on your side, the better for you, boo!
Many times we’re so frustrated in the moment, lodge a complaint, get back to our lives as usual and forget that “Susan” from XYZ airline did not send that final form to fill out as she promised! Don’t let your vouchers and possibly free trip go down the drain because you’re too lazy to follow through, it’s what these companies want you to do. I’m not saying be petty, but you have to get what’s owed to you. I like flights so, I’ll definitely be following up on this!
BONUS: Plan out your next trip
Yes hun! Vouchers, a free flight, a free upgrade, whatever is coming my way I want it! I’m literally sitting here looking up destinations this airline flies to as I plan out my next adventure! Where to next? 🙂
As a travel writer, I know that sometimes things will go wrong, although I hate it when they do. And when you book online, you automatically reduce your chances of making a claim and how much you can actually get after you’ve lodged a complaint. A travel advisor usually has all the tea on exactly what you’re owed, what the rules are and what you should really put in your complaint. I learned this when I connected with my Going Places Travel advisor who keeps me on my toes! Booking with a GPT agent makes life much easier!
UPDATE: Our plane arrived at the gate at 12:40 p.m.