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What to do when your flight is delayed (…or cancelled)

In my travel hacks post, I mentioned that I have had some experience being delayed or stranding in an airport.

I thought that the topic deserved it’s own post, so here we are.

What to do?

Enter the queue to get new tickets!

First things first, if your flight is delayed or cancelled, contact your carrier immediately.
They can rebook you and/or compensate your ticket.

Since you probably are not the only one in this situation, then the earlier you enter the queue, the better.
Consider being in the phone queue while being in the physical queue at the airport.

Remember that within Europe, they have to get you food coupons and/or get you to a hotel and cover the transport to the hotel.

Get where you want to end up

Do some research in the queue: can you find a replacement flight to your destination, alternatively by a different airline?

Figure out what the second-closest airport to your destination is.
Are there any connecting flights that could get you there and minimize your delay to your destination?

Maybe your airline can rebook you – sometimes you will be surprised.

Be polite – it is (most likely) not whoever you are talking to’s fault that you got delayed
However, don’t be a pushover! Do not accept anything that they offer you.

Living in a airport when your flight is delayed

If your flight is not the only one delayed, strongly consider getting to your destination by other means, i.e. trains or buses.

When many flights get delayed it can have this cascade effect which is very unpleasant. It easily means that you need to stand in lines for hours or days without getting a ticket to your destination.

I have spend an entire weekend in Frankfurt Airport standing in lines and waiting around, getting nothing but increasingly frustrated..

In that case, the people from the airlines went through the lines and picked out people with special needs, i.e. travelling with kids or with disabilities, to put them in a higher prioritised line.

However, I was waiting for multiple days and many long hours, waiting unknownly if I could come on the next plane home and I should just have gotten a train or FlixBus or something else to get out of the messy situation.It is a more expensive option, but keep it in mind.

Okay, you have now new tickets, what now?

How to spend your time in an airport

If you suddenly have a surplus of time to spend at an airport, here are some of my tips for how to spend / have fun in an airport.