Travel experts around the world agree: this coming holiday season, EVERYONE is set to take to the skies. The general consensus that the pandemic is behind us has led to an unprecedented demand for flights to and from every corner of the globe.
However, international staff shortages in the air travel industry, means that flight delays and last-minute cancellations are to be expected.
What to do?
Well, believe it or not, there are things you can do to mitigate the risks of flight disruptions. While you might not be able to control the likelihood of your flights being delayed or canceled, there are ways to ensure 'whatever happens' isn't so bad that it ruins your travel plans.
Here's how to prepare for the inevitable flight delays this holiday season:
Get Travel Insurance (but have extra funds on the side)
Travel insurance is a must at any time but is even more important when anticipating flight delays. Having said that, do note that insurance claims for flight delays are currently taking up to six months to process all over the world.
The only way to save you stress is to have extra travel funds set aside for re-booking flights and covering unexpected overnight accommodation en route to your destination. If you're fully insured, you will be refunded, but it could take months.
To avoid unnecessary stress that can ruin your holiday, ensure you can cover last-minute expenses out of your own pocket. Just make sure you keep all your receipts safely stored in a Travel Wallet.
Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare
Airport staff shortages and swollen travel crowds translate to slower check-in and custom clearance procedures. It's one thing for the airline to cancel your flight and quite another to miss your flight because you got to the airport too late. Be early, and you can, at the very least, mitigate one huge risk that will be entirely your doing.
Plan for (very) long connection times
A two-hour layover between flights may have cut it pre-COVID, but this holiday season, it is simply not enough time. Savvy travellers are either planning for a six to eight-hour layover between flights just in case or, better still, booking overnight accommodation at each stop-over. Combine this with booking only early morning flights, and your chances of travel disaster will be infinitely minimised.
Pay more for more direct routes
Yes, you could save a few hundred dollars by booking a multi-stop flight. Or, you can save yourself a lot of potential heartache and expense by booking the most direct flight from A to B. Fewer flights this holiday season means lower chances of having to deal with long delays.
Don't book afternoon flights to an airport that closes at midnight
This one's just asking for trouble! It's stressful enough getting to your destination at 3 am because of a five-hour flight delay. Quite another to have to deal with an unexpected layover at a dodgy airport hotel because the delayed flight couldn't take off at all.
Book your trip through a trusted travel agent
Online booking portals are great and can save you quite a bit of money, but nothing compares to being able to call your personal travel agent and having them deal with any hurdles. When it comes to travel, you really do get what you pay for – when the proverbial hits the fan, your travel agent is the one paid to resolve the problem. Skyscanner can't compete!
Know your rights and claim compensation (when you get back home)
Flight passenger rights vary by continent and airline. Do some research before you travel so you know exactly what you are entitled to in case of long delays and cancellations. To save your sanity, however, it's best to document everything but wait until your trip is over to make your claims. There's no point ruining your holiday with phone calls and detailed emails.
Roll with the punches and enjoy your trip and then claim all that you're owed when you return home. Check our Australian Consumer Laws relating to flights departing from Australia, and Air Passenger Rights Around the World, keeping in mind that most of the world adheres to the Montreal Convention.
Consider traveling with a carry-on only
Not everyone is a ninja traveler, able to travel for weeks on end with a carry-on only. But, with a few stellar tips from the experts, you too can mitigate the chances of AWOL luggage due to flight delays and cancellations. Most airlines nowadays offer the option of paying for a second carry-on, which will make the whole 'packing like a pro' much easier.
Here are our top tips on The Essentials You Should Have in Your Carry-On.
Don’t forget to grab a nifty Travel Accessory Bundle, now on sale.
Dealt with flight delays or cancellations lately? Tell us in the comments what you think you could’ve done differently to minimise the consequences. We’d love to know!