It can happen to anyone. Whether you’re flying from New York or London, Amsterdam or Marrakesh, flight delays can occur suddenly and without warning. What was meant to be a quick two hour journey after visiting the parents for the weekend suddenly becomes an arduous six hour layover in an airport terminal with nothing else but grumpy, tired passengers for company. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink! But put that beer down, at least for the moment – this is no time to fret. In fact, under the right circumstances, a delay can be strangely fortuitous. Below we’ll take a look at five things you should know should you ever experience a severe flight delay.
You’re eligible for compensation
That’s right. In the event that your flight is leaving the EU or landing in the EU, is delayed for more than three hours, and the distance of the journey is greater than 1500km, you’re eligible to receive monetary compensation from the airline in question. It’s actually a law called Flight Regulation 261, and was put in place to hold airlines to task should they be responsible for the laws. When collecting the compensation you have to be a bit savvy. Airlines are notorious for creating endless delays when customers try to claim. In such cases it’s often easier to contact companies such as AirHelp who will claim your EU flight delay compensation on your behalf.
You could get a hotel too
Under the same law, airlines are obliged to provide a place to stay to passengers who are suffering either extreme delays or altogether cancellations. Simply ask the airline customer representatives and they’ll likely be happy to help. This won’t net you a stay in the Ritz, but you’ll get somewhere warm, dry and at least ten times better than a bleak airport terminal floor. The airline will also shuttle you to and from your hotel so you won’t miss your next flight.
Don’t forget lunch
Or dinner. Or breakfast. Time is meaningless in an airport. Regardless, if you are delayed, the airline will have to provide food for you too. Often this will come in the form of airport vouchers, so you’ll have a lot of choices when deciding where to dine. Just make sure that you take advantage of your meal as soon as you’re given the vouchers; once you leave the airport or too much time passes, your vouchers will become invalid and you won’t get the opportunity to cash them in.
You should check on your connecting flights
Especially if you booked your flights separately. Just because an airline will compensate you for a missed or delayed flight doesn’t mean that your connecting flight will still be there once you arrive. In that case you were booked all of your flights under the same booking, the airline in question will make sure that you arrive at your destination as quickly as possible with no extra fee. However, if you booked the two flights separately then it’s possible that, if you miss your flight, you’ll have to pay for a new one yourself. Most travel insurance packages actually offer insurance that can help you mitigate this; so it helps to arm yourself with a decent travel insurance deal before you travel anywhere.