Airlines all over the world are committed to landing and departing planes on time to ensure that journeys take place without any hitches. But to quote Robert Burns, even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Mistakes get made, nature takes its course and disaster strikes: the result is that every now and then flights get delayed; sometimes only by a few minutes, and sometimes by hours or days. This can, understandably, be a frustrating and stressful time, particularly if you’re in a hurry to attend a meeting or find yourself stuck in a foreign airport with your family in tow, but it’s important to try and not let it get you down. There are a number of different things you can do in the event of a severe flight delay, and we’ll go into them below.
Know your rights and claim compensation
It’s not a widely known fact, but in the event of a severe flight delay or cancellation, you’re entitled by law to a fairly significant amount of compensation by the airline in question. This amount is anywhere from €300 to €600, and depends on a number of different factors. Firstly, the flight has to have been departing or arriving from Europe to qualify under the flight delay compensation regulation. The distance of the flight also has to be over 1500 km, and the length of the delay over three hours. The airline is question doesn’t matter; whether it’s Emirates or a more budget airline like Flybe that cause your flight to be delayed, they’ll still have to pay the same amount of compensation.
It’s worth noting that this applies to every passenger, so if you’re flying as a family of four, you may find yourself richer to the tune of €2400. Just don’t forget to speak to the customer service desk of the airline or send them an email.
Check into a hotel
If your delay is severe enough that you’re looking at spending a night in an airport, consider checking into a hotel instead. Speaking to the customer service desk of the airline in question, and they’ll often pay for your stay in a hotel, usually something like Holiday Inn or IBIS, and give you free transfers there and back to the airport as well. If you’re travelling with your family they’ll make sure that every family member gets a bed, so don’t be shy about asking.
Take a small day trip
If your delay occurs at an airport close to an interesting town with a decent public transport system such as Lisbon or Krakow, consider turning this wasted time into a travel opportunity, and take a short trip into the city to do some quick exploring. It’ll be way better than watching the clock in an airport terminal and your kids will be decidedly less grumpy. However, it’s important to note that this is only a good course of action if your delay is long enough; if you only have three hours of time to kill, it’s probably a better idea to just wait it out in the airport and grit your teeth and accept your fate rather than risk missing your new flight altogether.