Here’s what you need to know if you have a flight booked. What can you do if your flight has been cancelled or delayed? Your flight is today and it may already be cancelled or maybe delayed. What do you do?

What is a cancelled flight, you’ll be suprised? Read our how to get a refund for a cancelled flight article. Updated for COVID cancellations.

You can read the full post here that covers all flight cancellations and delays and how to be prepared,  but here’s a quick summary if you are heading to the Airport or you are already there.

Stay positive and organised. There is only so much you can do, the situation is out of your control so keep calm and decide your priorities. If you are flying as part of a package holiday then find your rep, you have the same compensation rights but the rearranging will all be done by the Holiday company. The guidance below is for if you have booked the flights and accommodation separately.

What if your flight is later today? Check the flight departure information for your airport, you will see the status of your flight and the ones before, if your flight is still showing as on time then you may have to head there anyway, and be prepared for delays and cancellations and start making a plan B. Pack some food and drink and overnight necessities in your hand luggage and leave plenty of time as the roads are crazy busy. If your flight is delayed or cancelled you can follow the advice below.

What if your flight is delayed? This is probably the most frustrating option, you  may be watching the departure time get further and further away and all you can do is wait. It may even be delayed, delayed, delayed then cancelled. So if you can get into an Airport Lounge then do, you can at least be more comfortable and eat and drink while you are waiting. Find a comfortable place and start looking at your options in case the flight is eventually cancelled. Are there flights tomorrow? 

What  can I claim if my flight is delayed?
If your flight is delayed for over 2 hours you are entitled to a reasonable amount of food and drink and overnight accommodation if required. The reality is that the airlines will fob you off with a voucher that will barely cover a water and a kit-kat each. If you are reasonable, you will be able to reclaim the cost from the Airline. You can read more in the main post.

If you are at the airport waiting for your flight to depart and the cancellation is announced.

Right don’t hang around, head straight for the airline desk. Choas is about 10 minutes away, get yourself a head start. If you get to the desk and there’s no queue, you will be given whatever assistance is available for rebooking fights / overnight hotel etc. In theory. Even if there are staff and there’s a queue, GET ON YOUR PHONE, book another flight, find out when the next one is and book it. The price of alternative flights will increase by the minute, and sell out quickly. You will get the cost back but you’re paying out in the first place, so just book it. Next, you can sort out where you will be staying in the meantime. Allow for the storm to pass, maybe the next safe flight  is the next day. Again you will be refunded overnight hotel and (some) food costs so just sort it out.

What if your luggage has already been checked in? Hopefully you have your overnight stuff so don’t worry. Let the madness calm down then you can call the airline and find out when / where you can be reunited with your cases. You can get on twitter and DM the airline, usually works quite well.

Try and keep calm, remember this happens, there will be thousands of people ranting, shouting, blaming, panicking and (probably) crying. It’s not the end of the world, you have to focus on what you need to do – which is to get where you want to be, as quickly and as comfortably as possible.

Can I claim compensation for my delayed or cancelled flight?

If the reason for the delay or cancellation is ‘out of the airlines control’ you are not entitled to compensation. Storm Ciara is likely to fall into this ‘out of the airlines control category so no compensation would be payable. Saying that it’s worth a try, as it’s free to claim.

You are entitled to compensation if your flight is cancelled or delayed for over 3 hours. Note this though – it is 3 hours late LANDING . It’s entirely possible you take off 3 hours 5 mins late but arrive within the 3 hour window. Airlines will try and make up time wherever possible. The amount of compensation due is measured by flight distance so depends on where you are flying to/from. These are the set compensation amounts PER PERSON. Full details on how to claim compensation are on the CAA website .

What if I have to go home and fly another day?

There will be lots of rebooking / reorganising and additional costs that you will have to deal with. From car parking, to hotels and excursions. Some of these additional costs will be covered by your travel insurance. A lot of the costs will not be covered though. Definitely have a look at the full flights delayed or cancelled post and this booking flights and hotels separately one which shows you what is and (surprisingly) isn’t covered by your travel insurance.

Is there a bright side?

Look, this is a frustrating experience and you may risk missing an important occasion, however your flight has been delayed or cancelled for safety reasons. Even the most confident flyer would be a little green in these conditions.  Now you know what to do and what will happen next then relax and organise that. Maybe you got a really cheap flight and are able to get rebooked for no extra cost on a better flight, or you are put up in a hotel for the night. Make the most of the experience, find the silver lining.

Have you been stuck at the airport? Let me know your story in the comments. What tips would you share?

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