Delays and cancellations are almost part and parcel of every holiday, from 40-minute trips to multi-stop long-hauls. Even reputable airlines come under intense scrutiny from passengers sharing their horror stories on social media.
In November 2018, for instance, British Airways passengers flying from Florida to Gatwick endured three long days of delays. Almost every week, fresh stories surface of passengers undergoing excessive delays or being stranded altogether due to cancellations.
Airlines and airports are trying to alleviate the pressure they’ve found themselves under. Gatwick, the second-largest UK airport, recently proposed a ‘masterplan’ to bring to life its emergency runway for everyday use with the long-term aim to rival Heathrow.
That being said, passengers are constantly at the mercy of airlines who visibly don’t have a wide enough perspective of their needs. It stands to reason why compensation claims of delays and cancellations are so prevalent at the moment. So what can you do personally to avoid those arduous delays and alleviate those pre-holiday fears?
Avoid busy periods
Common sense tells us that during holiday periods, more travellers means more organisation for airlines and, often, more delays for you to deal with. A little bit of flexibility in your travel could go a long way to avoiding the chaos.
Keep an eye on the weather
Some trips must be taken. If we have to travel at a given time, we have to travel. Whether you’re going across the Channel or across continents, think about usual weather trends for the time of year you are travelling and keep a close eye on it in the lead-up to your trip. If a torrential storm is bound, use your noggin and change flights.
Avoid bad airports and airlines
Some airports operate as though they were constructed specifically to ruin your holiday. Some airlines are synonymous with ‘Flight from Hell’. Not mentioning any names… Yes, you’ll have to fork out a few bob more but you’ll get more bang for your buck when it comes to showing off your holiday snaps to the in-laws. Look at reviews, average delays and onboard experience before you part with your money.
Small but mighty
Logic tells us that the more flights coming in and out of an airport offers a greater risk of re-scheduling. If you live close to a smaller airport with fewer runways and daily flights, there’s a good chance you’ll be less likely to suffer delays. Again, consider reviews and delay stats before making your choice.
If your flight is late at night and is cancelled, airlines will try to squeeze you on a flight the next morning. If it’s early in the morning and is cancelled, there’s a good chance you’ll be squeezed onto one sooner. Generally, flights are at their busiest up until 6PM.
Non-stop, all the way
For those longer flights, a non-stop journey can decrease the chances of delays dramatically. When it comes down to it, you’ll be getting one flight instead of jumping on and off two or three. These flights aren’t always viable logistically or financially, but it’s definitely worth considering.
Again, this isn’t suitable for some flights, but for many shorter flights, travelling lightly can do you wonders. Not only do you avoid that perpetual anxiety waiting for your luggage to make its way around the carousel, but also the trauma of tracking down your case if you have to take a rescheduled connecting flight.
Fly the midweek breeze
Just beyond the realms of superstition, this tip can be quantified factually. Collated stats show that Monday is the worst day of the week for flight cancellations. Fridays house the most flights of the week and, as such, pose more opportunities for delays and cancellations. Fridays and Saturdays are also generally more expensive for passengers. Fly on Tuesday and you could avoid a delay and save yourself money in the process.
Abiding by these tips may well alleviate the risks of suffering delays, but sometimes, they simply cannot be avoided. In such situations, a strong travel insurance policy can protect your journey and help you claim back any compensation you are owed.
Got a trip booked? Give us a call, we’re sure we can help. We can arrange single-trip or annual cover simply and quickly. Call 01243 784000 or visit payingtoomuch.com/travelinsurance