Flight Delay Advice: Here are 10 things you must do when your flight is delayed - and how to keep busy in the airport

Global air travel is now nearly up to pre-pandemic levels, with the majority of countries now open to visitors without restrictions.

But a mixture of staff shortages, illness, and strike action means that flight delays and cancellations have never been so common.

Add in winter and the increased chance of grounded flights due to snow and ice and there will be many people stuck in airports for hours in the coming months.

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If you are in that situation then help is at hand – the experts at Airport Parking Reservations have put together their top tips on what to do if your flight is delayed, as well as how to keep entertained during your wait.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Dealing with Flight Delays

Invest in Travel Insurance

As delays are becoming a common concern across the world, it is more important than ever before to carefully plan your trip to the airport. Make sure to invest in travel insurance that provides cover for travel delays. Although in countries such as the UK your airline is obligated to look after you after a particular delay period, most travel insurance policies provide additional cover for travel uncertainty. Additional cover usually becomes applicable if your flight is postponed by more than 12 hours due to a strike, adverse weather, or a mechanical breakdown.

Flight delays are an irritating - but increasingly common - part of modern travel.

Keep Expenses Receipts

Typical travel delay cover takes a fixed benefit form to help you cover the costs of expenses, such as food and drink, while you wait at the airport. Make sure that you keep any receipts of airport purchases, as you can try to claim the money back from the airline later. Airlines only pay for ‘reasonable’ expenses though, so you are unlikely to get money back for purchases such as alcohol, expensive meals, or extravagant hotels.

Know Your Passenger Rights

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If your flight is delayed you may be entitled to compensation or a refund, so take time to get clued up on your passenger rights so that you are not left out of pocket. For delayed flights departing from the UK or EU, you are protected by the Denied Boarding Regulation. If your flight has been delayed by more than an established amount of time (two hours for flights less than 1500km, three hours for flights 1500km - 3500km, and four hours for flights of more than 3500km) your airline has a duty to look after you.

For flight delays outside of the EU your rights will vary and depend on the terms and conditions of the airline, so be sure to check the terms and conditions before arriving at the airport. In the United States, airlines are not required to compensate passengers when flights are delayed or canceled.

Contact The Airline’s Customer Service

As soon as you hear of the delay with your flight, contact the airline’s customer service team. It is important to note that flight delays that are outside of the airline's control may hinder your right to compensation, therefore be sure to check the circumstances before trying to claim or complain! The customer service team should also be able to provide you with guidance on the immediate steps you can take to resolve your flight queries.

Don’t Panic!

Flight delays are without a doubt a stressful and frustrating situation, however, remaining calm can help to prevent further suffering. Be kind to those around you, whether that be fellow passengers, or airline employees, as all involved will be feeling distressed by the situation at hand.

Keeping Entertained

Scour Duty-Free

Today’s modern airports are often populated with huge duty-free stores, as well as souvenir shops and designer brand favorites. With additional time to spare why not take advantage of the duty-free offerings available, or partake in some good old-fashioned window shopping. You never know, you might find the perfect last-minute outfit for your holiday!

Come Prepared

With flight delays ranging from as little as minutes, to up to 12 hours, ensure you come prepared, packing essentials such as a spare change of clothes, snacks, beverages, phone chargers, toiletries, and entertainment mediums. You could also consider bringing an eye mask or earplugs so that you can rest during your holdup time.

Escape with a Book

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A great way to pass the time is to immerse yourself in a good book, becoming so engrossed that you forget about what’s happening around you. Whether you are a lover of cheesy summer romance novels or prefer to indulge in crime thrillers, packing a book or Kindle is always a good idea. Or, if you don’t have your own, why not check out the books for sale at the airport?

Explore the Airport

If you can’t leave the airport because your delay isn’t going to be that long, you could spend time exploring your airport's amenities. Although this may sound like a dull idea, airports today are being designed to provide an entire experience, with international cuisine offerings, luxury lounges, indoor gardens, spas, cinemas, and even swimming pools!

Plan Your Trip

Although it’s likely you will have already looked into the attractions on offer at your chosen travel destination, why not spend your wait period researching the lesser-known attractions? Spend time setting goals for your trip, asking yourself questions such as, ‘what are the top three things I want to see?’ or ‘what new foods do I want to try?’. By taking the time to research further you may even come across some hidden gems to explore.

With the festive season just around the corner, airports are anticipating the busiest holiday period since before the pandemic.

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