If you travel frequently, then chances are you’re used to flying. It’s fast, affordable and simple, right? Well, unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Anyone familiar with travelling by air is also familiar with everything that can go wrong – baggage getting lost or arriving late, flight delays…these are all extremely frustrating. But worst of all has to be your flight getting cancelled. Whether it means arriving home late and having to take an extra vacation day from work, or you’re all set to finally hit the beach on that holiday you’ve been planning for months, there’s nothing quite like a flight cancellation to ruin your day.
Unfortunately, this is not a rare situation – which makes it all the more unfair that so many passengers are unaware of their rights when it happens. To help anyone out there who finds themselves in this predicament, here’s a list of tips on what to do, how to make the experience more bearable and how to figure out if you can get up to 600 € in compensation.
When, where, why?
These three questions are key to figuring out where you stand with the airline and if you’re entitled to getting any compensation.
When? If you’re told about the cancellation up to 14 days before your flight, you should receive compensation, but the amount depends on when your alternative flight is scheduled.
Where? Your flight route is a huge factor in getting those euros! Eligible flights are those within Europe and those departing from a European country. Flights arriving in Europe from abroad are only eligible if the airline’s headquarters are in the EU.
Why? There’s a tricky little thing called an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and if your flight was cancelled because of this I’m afraid you’re out of luck. These include a sudden storm, when a bird collides with a plane (more common than you’d think!) or pilot strikes.
To get more detailed information check out MYFLYRIGHT – in fact, they’ll even take on your claim for you, so you don’t have to worry about legal costs or tackling the airline on your own.
Once you’ve sussed out the situation (maybe you’re already planning on how to spend that compensation money!), you may as well get comfortable. You could be in for a bit of a wait after all. It’s always a good idea to take some extra, comfy clothes with you – that over-sized hoodie will make the perfect pillow if you have to stay overnight!
Okay, after the previous point this seems contradictory, but what I mean is, don’t just sit in misery feeling sorry for yourself. You’ll feel much better – mentally as well as physically – if you go for a stroll. Amsterdam Airport has a spot where you can charge your phone by cycling and quite a few airports these days even have gyms to work out in. Especially when you’re taking a long-haul flight, it’s great to get a little exercise in and get that circulation going.
Don’t go hungry
When you’re travelling on a budget, it can be painful paying airport prices for food and drink. If that’s the case, pack a lunch – even if your flight isn’t cancelled, at least you have extra food for your journey. If you can afford to get something to eat at the airport, do it – I’ve held off before out of principal (how much for a sandwich?! Is it made of gold?) and it’s never a good idea. It just means that you’ll be extra grouchy, so when you’re stuck in the airport, just bite the bullet and get yourself fed!
Listen, watch, or chat
It’s pretty rare these days to get a couple of hours or more to ourselves. Catch up on your favourite podcasts, listen to a playlist or watch a movie. Savour the opportunity to sit back and chill out. If you’re a sociable person, you can commiserate with your fellow travellers who are waiting for the same alternative flight. Whatever you prefer, there are always ways to pass the time before your gate finally opens.