Andrew Astor did everything right when a FAA meltdown delayed his red-eye flight into the morning earlier this month, but he didn’t escape the dire situation.
Ten minutes before boarding, a gate agent announced what appeared to be a slight delay, he said.
“Oh, there’s another plane that hasn’t taken off, so I have to wait for that plane,” he recalled. “Then they said, ‘Oh, we need to fix the jet problem. There’s something wrong with the jet.'” …they kept pushing back like 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes . ”
Meanwhile, he checked the American Airlines app, which also reflected increased delays. He tried to call the airline, but he was busy. Eventually, he heard another passenger say the FAA was grounding all the planes.
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“As soon as they said the FAA was shutting down all flights, I knew what the lines were going to be like, so I went straight to customer service,” Astor said.
He said a friendly customer service representative had booked him on the next available flight in the morning, but other than cookies and water, nothing else was offered for the trouble.
According to American’s Customer Service Plan, “If the delay or cancellation is due to force majeure, such as weather, you will be responsible for your own accommodations, meals and incidental expenses. .”
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What do travelers do wrong when their flight is cancelled?
According to Danny Rivers-Mitchell, founder of Black Girls Travel Too, Black Girls Travel Too is a global boutique tour operator curating immersive cultural experiences for black women.
“There’s a lot of it, but that’s where your multitasking skills need to come into play,” Rivers-Mitchell said. We advise people to get in the customer service line early at the airport, call the airline’s customer service line, and get in touch via social media and other available platforms. Via the carrier’s app while they waited.
“It’s silly to think that standing in line for help at the airport is enough,” she said. ) as much as possible.”
Rivers-Mitchell added that it’s important to know your options and be prepared to argue for alternatives if you’re not satisfied with the itinerary offered by the airline.
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How do you beat the crowds when your flight is cancelled?
“If we find that our flights are significantly delayed or continue to be postponed, we are already looking at alternative flight options if we have time-sensitive locations,” said Rivers-Mitchell. What we have to do is help the airline consider other options.” For example, have the airline rebook with one of our partners if the schedule is better, or other Allows you to change your itinerary so that it passes through the airport of
Additionally, she said it’s important to treat all airline employees who help you with respect. more likely to do
During his own cancellation experience, Astor realized the importance of defending himself directly.
“Customer support could have been better, but they didn’t know what was going on,” he said.
If my flight is cancelled, will my flight be refunded?
If an airline cancels a flight for any reason, the Department of Transportation requires the airline to provide refunds to all affected passengers, even if they purchased non-refundable tickets.
However, delay policies are set by individual carriers.
See other USA TODAY articles for a complete explanation of policies by airline.
What should I do if my flight is at risk of being cancelled?
► Update your contact information. Rivers-Mitchell said he always advises clients to make sure the contact information they provide to airlines is up to date so they can be notified of any changes to itineraries.
► Don’t rely on just one app. She also said she uses a third party app to track flight updates.
► Have plans B and C. In the event of bad weather affecting short flights, Rivers-Mitchell recommends heading to the rental car counter early. If you can drive instead of flying, you should lock down before your rental car runs out.
► Prepare for the worst: Above all, she recommends getting travel insurance, no matter how short the trip. She also recommends that she leave schedule padding to fly to time-sensitive events and take the first flight of the day to minimize the chances of getting insurance. delay or cancellation.
“Managing your expectations is very important. There’s a level of patience you have to have,” she said. “It’s all about preparation. It’s risk management.”
How do I contact the airline? Which platform is best?
In any situation, Rivers-Mitchell’s multitasking advice applies. She said having as many touchpoints as possible with the airline is the best bet when things go wrong. Standing in the customer service line while reaching out.
It may take some time to resolve the issue and get you to rebook, but the more channels of communication you have, the more likely it is that you will be able to resolve the issue in a satisfactory manner.
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Astor could not prepare for the FAA outage.
“I was frustrated, but it was just like the FAA thing, so it was very hard to be so frustrated,” he said. “What can anyone really do?”
I wanted him to bring me a snack.