If you happen to be a traveler trying to get home or to a vacation destination, here are a few things you can try to boost your chances.
Book a new flight through a self-service kiosk
Most people are unaware that you can actually use a self-serve kiosk at your airline’s ticketing counter to switch a flight or receive a new boarding pass, according to American Airlines.
“Scan your boarding pass or enter your record locator to see your updated trip details. From there you can also switch your flight and print your new boarding passes,” instructions on the American Airlines website says.
Timing is everything, as receiving a seat for a new flight works on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Use an international customer service number
If kiosks aren’t an option, try calling one of your airline’s international call centers instead of a domestic one. U.S. call centers for carriers will likely be busier, said travel expert, Scott Keyes.
“Most US-based travelers aren’t thinking of calling the Canadian helpline for Delta. You might get through to an agent much quicker. They can all handle your reservations just the same,” Keyes told The New York Times.
Keep hotel receipts if you’re denied a voucher
Some airlines offer a hotel and meal voucher for passengers who must extend their trip unexpectedly, while others do not since it isn’t required of them by law.
You can always try filing a claim with your airline later if you do not receive a voucher and are forced to stay at a hotel, according to travel rights advocacy organization, AirHelp. Keeping your receipts for all expenses not covered by the airline will help your case.
Above anything else, knowledge is power. Be sure to review your airline’s policy before approaching the ticket counter. Here below are the delay and cancellation policies for some U.S.-based airlines:
You could earn a refund depending on the circumstance
Airlines are required by federal law to honor refunds for passengers who can’t travel as a result of significant delay or cancellation, the U.S. Department of Transportation says.
Especially if the delay or cancellation is on account of a staffing shortage or mechanical failure, you can increase your chances of getting home by taking advantage of the refund and booking a flight with a different airline that is going to your destination on the same day.