Flight delays and cancellations

What to do if your flight is cancelled.

Boarding the plane at London’s Heathrow airport I steeled myself for the 24+-hour journey home.

Little did I know that it would be more than 50 hours until my feet touched Australian soil.

As our plane taxied to the runway, the pilot informed us that there was a problem with one of the engines and, after 2.5 hours on the tarmac while engineers attempted to fix the fault, I heard the words that strike fear into the heart of every traveller: “Your flight has been cancelled”.

Due to an airport curfew we were unable to be rebooked on another plane that night, so we collected our luggage and joined hundreds of other passengers to check in to an airport hotel at the expense of the airline.

Five hours after our flight was meant to take off, we finally received the keys to our hotel room and vouchers for dinner and breakfast.

While we were sleeping the airline contacted our travel agent and rebooked us on to a different airline for the next available flights to Brisbane.

We arrived in home almost 60 hours after we first began travelling – extremely tired but very glad to finally be home.

What to do if your flight is cancelled

Contact your airline or travel agent

If you experience a significant delay or flight cancellation the first thing to do is visit the information desk of your airline.

The airline’s staff can rebook you on to another flight that will hopefully depart within a few hours.

Your travel agent can also act as a liaison between you and the airline – our travel agent knew about the new flight details before we did.

Keep in mind that hundreds of other people are in the same situation as you, so it may take some time to speak to an airline representative.

What if I’ve been delayed overnight?

Your airline may cover the cost of a hotel if you’ve been rebooked on to a flight the next day, but this can depend on the cause of the delay.

Check if you have to stay at a specific hotel and need a voucher for your stay or whether you’re free to choose your own hotel and be reimbursed later.

Ask your airline about compensation for transfers to and from the hotel and meal costs during your delay.

Contact your travel insurance provider

Talk to your travel insurance provider if the flight cancellation means you miss part of your trip, for example missing a connecting flight or cruise ship, or being unable to make a hotel reservation.

Ensure you have receipts for expenses incurred during your delay.

Your insurer may ask you for a letter from the airline which details the circumstances of the delay or cancellation.

A hassle-free holiday is never a guarantee, but you can up the odds with guidance from the RACQ Travel team. For specialist advice and great holiday offers, talk to the team today on 1300 188 713.