Updated October 14, 2021
Experiencing a flight cancellation is never fun. It impacts your trip, no matter what. In light of recent mass cancellations and the upcoming busy holiday travel season, it’s important to know what to do when a flight is cancelled or disrupted.
Keep your receipts
This should be a no-brainer, but you’ll want to be sure to keep all documentation of your trip, particularly if your travel arrangements are pre-paid. If your flight is cancelled and you have a layover and already paid for the hotel and rental car, you’ll definitely want to hang on to the receipts to prove you’ve paid for your arrangements.
Ask for a refund
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has a flyer’s rights bill which means you could be entitled to a refund for your flight if you’re bumped off a flight involuntarily. Additionally, airlines should compensate you or provide a way to reach your destination if you’re delayed or cancelled. Some reimburse your connecting flights or help you rebook. Make sure you know your airline’s cancellation policy; you’ll need to be an advocate for yourself. Learn your rights as a passenger.
Find alternate transportation
Caught in an IT issue with an airline? Immediately look into your options for other flights on other airlines to try and save your travel plans. If there’s nothing available on other airlines, check into alternative options like trains or renting a car to get to another airport or your final destination.
Be mindful of the rest of your trip
When a flight is cancelled it can be disruptive to your entire trip itinerary. Make sure you’re aware of your hotel’s cancellation policies. Also, if you are stuck somewhere overnight, ask your airline for a hotel voucher. If there’s mass cancellations for your airline, jump on a hotel reservation as soon as possible before they are sold out.
If you’ve been delayed or cancelled after your travels, don’t forget to reach out to your airline. Give a detailed description of what happened with your trip and how you were impacted. Don’t be afraid to ask for a voucher or refund.
Call your insurance provider
Your travel insurance provider should be able to help you navigate unexpected cancellations or delays If you have coverage, you may be eligible to be reimbursed for costs so you don't totally lost out on your expenses.
Some tips from airline pros to avoid cancellations or at least minimize your chance of a trip cancellation:
Fly in the morning
Delays worsen as the day goes on due to maintenance and weather. Plus, it’s a lot trickier to find another available flight to switch to if you’re departing late at night.
Check the stats
Consider buying a trip protection plan!
Here’s an example of how it could help.
You’ve planned a trip to Ireland. You arrive at the airport in your hometown, only to find out your flight to your connecting location has been cancelled. Your carrier tries to get you on another flight but cannot and also is unable to move you to a flight with another airline. You find out you are stuck at home, after sitting in the airport for hours.
You go home and return the next day, traveling onto Ireland without any problems. Here’s the catch — you prepaid for your hotel in Dublin for the prior night, and the hotel has a no cancellation policy.
As long as you are delayed for at least the number of hours stated in your trip protection plan, you will be reimbursed for your hotel expense under the travel delay benefit. At Seven Corners, you will be eligible for reimbursements if you are delayed by a common carrier for six consecutive hours or more while traveling to or from, or during the course of your trip, for one of the covered Trip Delay reasons.
To learn more about other ways a trip insurance plan can help you, learn more about our trip protection plans here.