Tag Archives: flights

Flight Cancelled?

Let’s say that you miss your connection or your flight has been cancelled.  Don’t panic.  There’s a couple things that you can do.

First of all you need to know your rights.  If the flight is delayed/cancelled due to weather or air traffic control (ATC), US airlines do not have to provide accommodations or meals.  However, if your flight is delayed/cancelled due to something within the airline’s control such as mechanical, operations, crew staffing the airline is responsible for your well being.  In those circumstances, they must put you up in a hotel and provide meals if you have to endure an extensive delay.

As for getting for your destination, my best tip is to be courteous to the customer service agent and DON’T BE A JERK.  They’re also doing their best.  If you have access to the airline lounges, proceed up there and use the customer service representatives there.  The line will be much shorter.  If you have access to flight information, start taking a look which flights still have space.  If you can tell the representative what routes you want to take and there’s space available, you’ll get out of there much quicker.  Don’t only check your the carrier that you’re flying, check other carriers out of the same airport.  Most airlines have agreements that allow you to fly on another carrier if the delay/cancellation is non-weather/ATC related.  While you’re standing in line, you may also want to call up the airline’s customer service hotline.  In some cases, you may be able to get help there quicker than if you wait in line.

In order to avoid getting into this situation, it is best to be proactive.  Some airlines like United have the ability to backtrack the plane which you will be taking.  By doing this, you can tell with a good probability whether there are any delays.  If you notice that you may not make the connection, contact the airline and see if they can back you up on an earlier flight or a later connection.  You may need to do this at the airport.

Finally, I’ll cover an edge case here.  If you’re traveling and due to non-weather/ATC related issues, you won’t make the event that you’re traveling there for.  This is what is refereed to as “trip in vain”.  In these circumstances, you need to very clearly explain to the customer service agent the purpose of the trip and that the trip is in vain if you continue travel there.  Most airlines I’ve seen will either offer to send you back home and refund the ticket.  However, policies vary from airline to airline.

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Mobile Alerts

If you travel a lot, make sure you sign up for some type of travel notification system which alerts you of gate changes, alternate flights, and connection times. If there’s an issue with your flight and its cancelled or delayed, time is of the essence. Systems such as TripIt Pro will alert you of alternate flights if your connection is at risk.

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Seats: So many seats, where to sit?

Most infrequent travelers like to try and get a window seat, especially when they are flying into a new city so they can see the views.  Those that have been traveling for a long time will know that its preferable to get an aisle seat.  An aisle seat will allow you to stretch your legs more (just watch out for the food/beverage carts) and allows your better to access to your belonging that you may have stored in the overhead bin.  After you land, it also allows you to deplane quicker.

A majority of airlines have restricted the forward rows of the economy class cabin and exit rows to preferred customers or those willing to buy up.  If you are lucky enough to score one of those seats, usually you’ll get a couple inches of extra legroom.  Most gate agents will randomly assign seats if the regular economy cabin is completely full and you don’t have a seat assignment.  However, you will not be able to pick and choose your seat.  If you go an check in online and the plane only has middle seats left, I would take a chance and check in at the airport.  You may be in a middle seat, but at least you have a change of getting extra legroom.

Bulkhead/exit row seats may seem appealing for the extra legroom, but be warned.  On most planes, the tray table is located in the armrest which reduces the width of the seat.  If the flight is relatively empty and you want to stretch out, the bulkhead/exit row is not necessary the best seat to choose.

If you have to travel on one of the regional jets (Canadian Regional Jet/Embraer) I highly recommend that you pick an aisle seat.  This is especially true if you are claustrophobic.  The angle of the walls on these planes can reduce the amount of shoulder space that you have.  Also, watch your head when you board the plane and get out of your seat.  You won’t believe how many people I’ve seen bump their head since the ceiling is pretty low.  On the planes that have a 1-2 configuration, most seats will have a small plastic button on the underside of the armrest, near the hinge.  This generally works for all seats except for the exit row.

The last piece of advice I’ll give is for those flying on the Q400 Turboprop.  If are located in the first class cabin, there avoid the exit row on the right side of the plane.  For some reason, that position is one of the noisiest seats.  If you have to sit there, bring a good set of ear plugs or noise canceling headphones.

To see what seats are good, I recommend heading over to SeatGuru. You can type in your flight number and view the seat layout with comments on what’s good and bad.

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