Flight disruptions keeping you from a holiday or important business trip? Well waiting the commotion out could keep you from spending a bucket load in rebooking fees and spare you from lengthy airport queues.
A Flight Centre five step guide to dealing with flight schedule turbulence highlighted that with the industry “accustomed to dealing with unexpected events” travellers are better off waiting until the storm settles rather than rushing out to change travel plans.
The guide stressed that “generally” airlines are able to resume normal operations quite quickly “depending on the disruption” and travellers who rush to rebook a delayed flight usually end up worse-off than those who stick it out.
“By waiting, you will also avoid the frustration of the inevitable lengthy on-hold queues that occur immediately after an event and, potentially, additional charges that may apply if you choose to amend a booking that is still months away,” the guide read.
Booking or dealing with an agent is the second best resource for a traveller to have on hand during travel turbulence.
According to the guide an agent will not only help rearrange bookings, but also assist travellers bypass hours of waiting on the phone for call centres to pick up.
“During the recent Qantas flight groundings, Flight Centre’s corporate travel teams, FCm Travel Solutions and Corporate Traveller, spent an entire day ensuring that they called all clients flying with Qantas,” Flight Centre New Zealand executive general manager Mike Friends said.
“While the first priority was helping Flight Centre customers, the company was also able to help other travellers who had either booked directly or with online travel agencies and needed urgent assistance.”
Keeping stress levels down and not rushing ahead will also lead to the realisation of step number three, look for alternative flights.
If needed home or at a meeting desperately, Flight Centre said the “solution may be as simple as switching to an alternative airline”.
Travellers will be able to bypass cancellations by looking for alternative flight routes or even other means of transport including charter flights, buses, ferries or hire cars.
Getting to know your airline and insurance policies is another key tactic to keep the big bucks in your pocket.
According to the agent’s Group, travellers are often unaware of “their rights if flights are cancelled or delayed for extended periods”.
The Group’s five tips read that while airlines generally accommodate travellers during flight disruptions, it is not always the case and it “pays” to have a backup travel insurance policy.
While the final step to ease your way through flight disruptions is to always remember the difference between cancelling and amending your booking.
“Historically, when an issue has arisen to temporarily disrupt travel plans, airlines have generally been willing to waive the booking amendment fees that would normally apply,” FLT travel tips read.
“This has allowed travellers to either postpone their holidays and travel later or to switch to alternative destinations without incurring significant costs.
“Charges can, however, increase substantially if you choose to cancel your plans altogether, which is generally the least common option for travellers.
“If you’re thinking of cancelling or amending, it pays to weigh up the potential costs.”Recently caught up in flight disruptions? Tell us how you survived the ordeal.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J