How to limit travel chaos amid airport queues and flight cancellations

What can you do if your flight is cancelled? (Picture: Getty/iStockphoto)

You’ve saved, planned, booked and prepped – it’s finally time for your well earned summer holiday. Only, you get to the airport to be faced with a barrage of delays, cancellations and chaos.

This is what is happening to thousands of travellers at the moment who are having their summer trips spoiled by chaos at UK airports.

Mayhem at airports is predicted to continue all summer, with airlines struggling to cope with the demand. Plenty of travellers are worried about the massive queues building up at airports, with searches for ‘how busy is Manchester airport today’ and ‘how busy is Heathrow airport today’ soaring by 650%. 

But, some careful planning and thoughtful preparation could limit your risk of having your plans ruined. The travel expert at Next Vacay have revealed how to speed up the process if your flight be canceled, and what your rights are as a passenger.

‘Holidaymakers are being hit by chaotic scenes at airports across the UK, despite Covid rules being limited,’ says Naveen Dittakavi, founder and CEO of Next Vacay.

‘With staff shortages and an increase in travelers creating a strain on the travel industry, the issues are expected to continue into the summer – with the cancelations and delays seen through the bank holiday weekend continuing into the summer holidays.

‘However, the chaos is expected to slow down by the autumn period, with staff levels ramping up at various airports.’

Be prepared

female traveller texting at airport check-in desk

Get there earlier than normal – and download your airline’s app (Picture: Getty)

To beat any disappointments for your summer vacations, Naveen says you will want to make sure that you arrive at the airport at the earlier time advised by your airline – giving you enough time to tackle the queues.

‘If you do miss your flight by no fault of your own, you need to tell the airline ASAP so they can re-book you on another flight,’ he adds.

‘Remember to bring evidence of the time you turned up at the airport – such as a parking ticket – as this could be crucial to receive a refund if there are no alternative flights.’

Download your airline’s app

‘If you are flying soon, keep an eye on your flight status as you don’t want to get stuck at the airport with no flight,’ says Naveen.

‘Should your airline cancel your upcoming flight a few days or weeks before your trip, try to rebook a flight as early in the morning as you can as further delays and cancellations often rise and affect later flights.’

Before arriving at the airport, Naveen suggests downloading your airline’s app to get immediate alerts.

‘This will give you more of a chance to rebook on an alternative flight before other people become aware of the disruption or delays,’ he adds.

Stay calm – but know your rights

‘If you’re already at the airport once the flight is canceled, the best thing you can do is stay calm – you are protected against many things that might go wrong,’ says Naveen.

He adds that there are plenty of options that can make a big difference in how to approach a canceled flight – from preparing alternative options when waiting to speak to staff, to calling up your carrier.

‘The airline is supposed to help get you to your destination on the same day, but try calling the airline helpline rather than waiting to speak directly with the airport staff,’ says Naveen. ‘The helpline is often more flexible and may provide you with an e-credit or voucher, or flexibility to change your travel dates quickly. 

‘When speaking to staff, come prepared with your own research about new arrangements as this will help move things quicker along – be prepared to explain what you want as you can insist on a flight on the same day at their expense, however, this may not always be possible with the sudden increase in cancelations.

‘If you are left with having to buy a flight with a rival airline yourself, you can claim the cost of the replacement or request a full refund – depending on which is more expensive.’

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