March and April have been challenging months for air travel in the U.S. More than 550 flights were canceled across the United States the first Monday in April as airlines worked to mend the weekend’s operational chaos when carriers canceled more than 1,900 flights around the country, according to FlightAware. Another 1,500 were canceled on Sunday. The airlines blamed the snafus, in part, on a series of thunderstorms in Florida.
JetBlue was among the hardest hit airlines on Sunday, with 373 flights canceled, or about 34% of its schedule. Southwest saw 400 cancellations (10% of its schedule) and Spirit canceled 308 flights (37%). American Airlines canceled 271 flights (8%), while Delta, Alaska and United canceled at most a few dozen each.
This was on the heels of the more than 5,000 delayed flights on March 20. Forty-one percent of JetBlue’s flights were delayed Sunday and Frontier saw 44% of its flights delayed.
It’s yet another warning sign as travelers plan to take to the skies for their summer vacations.
Whether it’s due to weather, a stretched aviation system, tight staffing, record traffic, a strike or other unplanned event, you may find yourself stuck at your origin, destination or even in the middle of your journey in a place you hadn’t planned to visit.
When you encounter a delayed or canceled flight, sometimes you just have to wait it out. Other times, how you react to airline delays and cancellations may greatly influence how and when you get where you are going.
In light of all the recent delays and cancellations, here are tips on how to decrease your chances of getting stuck, and increase your chances of getting to your destination faster.
Check Other Flights Available
First, check with the airline to see if there are any other flights available that you can take. If there are no other flights, you may have to wait it out at the airport. However, if you have a connecting flight, the airline may be able to put you on a different flight that will get you to your destination in time.
Refund Your Flight
Another option is to ask for a refund or voucher from the airline. This can be helpful if you need to book another flight right away. You may also be able to get compensation for hotel and meal expenses if your delay causes you to miss a night of sleep at your destination.
Try to stay calm and patient.
Getting angry or causing a scene will not help you get to your destination any faster.
Take Advantage of Airport Amenities
Take advantage of any amenities the airport may have to offer, such as restaurants, shops, or even a place to nap.
Bond With Others
Finally, remember that you are not alone; there are likely many other people in the same situation as you. Try to find someone to commiserate with and pass the time together.