As more borders open up and travel becomes commonplace again, here are some useful tips on how to avoid some common air travel problems. While we excitedly extricate our luggage from storage, it helps to remind ourselves that prior to the pandemic air travel was not without its frustrations.
From missed flights to lost luggage, here are some helpful tips to avoid some of the more common travel problems to make your next flight as pleasant and fuss-free as possible.
You Missed Your Connecting Flight
If you book all of your flights through one airline, there’s a better chance that airline will accommodate you. When it comes to rebooking your flight, never stand on line. If there is no line at the ticket counter, approach the attendant to see if you can get on the next flight (even if you just get on standby). If the ticket counter is crowded, call the airline’s 1-800 number.
If you were on the last flight of the day and the airline was responsible for the delay, you’re in a better position to receive compensation for a hotel room and get on the first flight out the next day. However this does not apply if you are grounded due to bad weather.
Your Luggage Is Lost
Airlines are pretty good about getting your bags to you very quickly. It’s rare that your bags will disappear forever, so instead of panicking, go to the customer service counter to report your bags missing and make sure to get a receipt or something tangible that says they are looking for the bags.
Remember to inquire about how your bags will be returned to you, and if your bags are missing for a number of days, will the airline compensate you with money towards a new wardrobe?
To avoid this sticky situation try to avoid checking-in a bag if possible. If you have no choice but to send your bags through, make sure they are clearly marked. In addition to identifying tags on the outside of your bag, also include a slip of paper inside with your ticket number, name, and address, and your cell phone number.
If you are taking a connecting flight, ask the agent at your connecting gate to scan your checked luggage receipt to see if your bags made the flight, because if your bags didn’t make it, you can start the lost and found process then—not hours later when you arrive at your destination.
You Get Bumped From Your Flight
Unless you’re running really late and don’t make it to the gate in time, it is not common to be bumped off your flight with out prior notice. But if you do get bumped from a flight for some reason, do not accept miles or vouchers, which can be difficult to redeem, instead ask for cash.
If You’re Traveling With Young Kids, But Are Seated Separately
Be courteous and patient and try to build rapport and get people on your side. Politely explain your situation and ask the ticket counter for help before boarding. If they can’t help you, the flight attendant on the aircraft can help shuffle passengers around to accommodate your family. Most people are willing to help if you speak to them kindly.
If Your Flight Gets Cancelled Due To Weather Conditions
If your flight is cancelled due to bad weather, the best course of action is to be persistent and keep calling. If you get an answer you do not like, hang up, and either call or email back.
During bad weather, things change quickly and passengers are often shuffled around to accommodate individual travel needs as best as possible, which means a seat that was not available minutes ago may now be available. Also remember to consider alternate airports and other means of transportation if you need to get to your destination immediately.