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Action Plan For When Your Flight Is Canceled

As travelers gear up for flying over the long Fourth of July weekend, fingers are crossed that travel schedules go as planned. Most plans will go off without a hitch, but there's always a few who get the short end of the travel stick when their flights are canceled. Weather, mechanical problems, and shortage of crew are a few reasons why flights might be delayed or canceled altogether.

The Associated Press prepared a tip sheet with what you can do if your flight is canceled. Familiarize yourself with the action plan before you leave for the airport.

  • "Try to be rebooked. Some major airlines have interline agreements that allow them to easily rebook a passenger on another carrier." This option wouldn't lead to additional costs on your end.
  • "Request a refund. Most airlines will refund the amount you paid for a ticket if they cancel your flight and can't accommodate you on another flight that gets you to your destination on the day you were expecting." If you take the refund route, the AP warns that the walk-up fare for purchasing a ticket from another airline may be much higher than your original ticket.

See the rest of the action plan when you


  • "Ask for a hotel room. American Airlines says that if a delay or cancellation was caused by events within its control and it does not get a passenger to his or her final destination on the expected arrival day, it will provide "reasonable" overnight accommodations, subject to availability."
  • To avoid any surprises when you arrive at the airport, "make sure your airline has your email address or telephone number so it can alert you in the event that it cancels or reschedules your flight."
  • "Try to negotiate." The airlines' eagerness to keep customers might play to your advantage.
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Join The Conversation
expresso14 expresso14 7 years
As frustrated as you may be, be polite and concise with the customer service reps (they've probably been yelled at or worse by other passengers). It does help sometimes if you belong to their frequent flyer club. If it is going to be several hours before your next flight, ask for a free pass to the airline's lounge - it's a lot quieter, there's usually desks (and outlets) for computer work, and generally there are free drinks and snacks.
kscincotta kscincotta 7 years
One trick that I learned from my mom, who is a serious frequent flyer is to bypass the lines at the customer service desks and call the customer service phone lines instead. Their operators can rebook you just as easily as the people at the desks, and you can "jump the line" as it were to have a better shot at getting the best rebooking options. This worked like a charm for my husband and I last spring when we almost got stranded in Charlotte.
ilanac13 ilanac13 7 years
that's always one of my fears. my co-worker's flight was canceled today actually. she got a call this AM and ended up having to take most of the day off because the only flight that she could get on to get her to her destination today was MUCH earlier.
filmgirl81 filmgirl81 7 years
no, if it's weather related, they will try to rebook you on any other airline or go another route. I had that happen to me once, unfortunately, everything was booked, and they got me on the first flight out early in the morning.
brilliance13 brilliance13 7 years
nothing applies if it is weather related
fleurfairy fleurfairy 7 years
"The airlines' eagerness to keep customers might play to your advantage." In what universe does this exist? As far as I can tell, airlines are perfectly content to inconvenience their passengers as much as possible. Flying has extremely unpleasant in this country.
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