For anxious passengers, those with SEND and carers for the vulnerable, travel has always come with more than a little risk attached. With air travel this is especially true; most airline operations and procedures are complicated and, if things don’t go to plan, it is a total mystery what to do about it. When it comes to making sure things go smoothly and that all needs are accommodated for, there is only so much that is in our control. Flight delays, or worse, flight cancellations, happen. That’s kind of scary but, as always, knowledge is key. Understanding what to do and where to go if things do go wrong is a massive help. So, here’s what to do if you find yourself dealing with flight cancellations…
Have a ‘Backup’ Plan
The sad fact is that claiming flight cancellation compensation or getting financial reimbursement for a cancelled flight isn’t simple. It is a lot of extra stress. So why not let the experts handle it?
Flightright is Europe’s leading air passenger rights portal. Their goal is to get passengers the compensation they’re entitled to for delays and flight cancellations; infact the company is so confident in their service that they take a no-win, no-fee approach to their work. If things don’t work out, or if you find yourself unable to take on the stress, this will probably be your very best option.
When it comes down to it, cancellations and delays are typically categorised one of two ways; ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and everything else. Bad weather would be the former (as would a global pandemic) whereas a technical failure would be the latter. Unsurprisingly, the airline has no obligation to offer cancelled flight compensation for extraordinary circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they won’t decide to help in some capacity.
As always, context is everything and flight cancellation compensation is no different. Simply put, the cancelled flight compensation you get depends on whether you’re flying out of an EU-based airport and with an EU-based airline. Of course, what this means post the Brexit transition period is yet to be seen.
Contact the Airline
If none of this applies to you, you should still contact the airline and discuss flight cancellation compensation. Entitlement will vary depending on who you’re flying with.
Regardless of the reason, before anything else you should do collect all your appropriate documents and receipts then contact the airline; it is vital to get a complete grasp of the situation and their stance. What this looks like will depend greatly on where you are and when it was when the flight was cancelled. At home months before is one thing, at the airport a few hours prior to take off is another. If you are lucky, you may well secure another flight with relatively good seats at an acceptable time. Of course, this depends on the reason, but even if the change of plan is due to exceptional circumstances it’s best to stay calm and see what they can do to help.
Contact your Travel Insurance
Claiming cancelled flight compensation depends on certain factors; one of the many reasons it’s important to contact the airline beforehand is the reason they give, and therefore the reason for the compensation claim, makes a difference. Whether you claim from the insurance or the airline will depend on their answers given. Assuming you have some insurance of course (and you really should, your rights with the airline has limitations). Not all insurance covers cancelled flight compensation though; it helps to be aware of this beforehand. Also be aware that rules can be a little… ‘quirky’. For example, many don’t cover package deal flights. Whilst there isn’t much you can do about this after the fact, it will be less of a shock if you check prior.
Keep It Simple and Try to Stay Calm
Whatever the situation though and no matter how frustrating, remember to be calm and courteous; the situation is high pressure all-round. Whilst it is natural to get upset and struggle, especially if you aren’t getting anywhere, just try to keep things as simple as possible and not get overwhelmed. If your care is not handled satisfactorily you can always escalate later.
*This is a collaborative post