Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    It’s been 23 years since I’ve moved to Canada from the Philippines.  I remember that the first thing I looked for was a Filipino community paper so I can read some news about the community being new in Calgary.  I never found any Filipino community paper back in 1996. From them on I told myself that [...]

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Page added on April 28, 2011

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Travelling can be immensely stressful, especially if you are under tight time constraints and a delayed flight can be a problem. It is frustrating, costly and can cause rage for the passengers that are caught on them.

Airlines don’t guarantee their schedules, and you should realize this when planning your trip. There are many things that can make it impossible for flights to arrive on time. Some of these problems, such as bad weather and resulting air traffic delays, are beyond the airlines’ control. Modern planes are safe and can withstand most weather conditions, but storms such as blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes will cancel flights. Severe thunderstorms can delay flights, but in most cases planes are able to fly above the weather. In addition, bad weather in one location may affect flights coming into that area as well as leaving the area, so it can have a ripple effect among many flights. In cases like this, the airlines will try to get you on your way as best they can.

If your delayed flight is due to mechanical problems or if the crew is delayed on an incoming flight, the airline may be more accommodating and book you in another flight, on which a space is available at no additional charge.

Problems with the carrier such as “maintenance or crew problems, aircraft cleaning, baggage loading, and fueling can also cause delays.

If the flight problem is because of air-traffic delays due to congestion, most airlines won’t do much for you because they are not responsible for air traffic control delays.

Another reason, which can cause flight delays, is the problem with security or mandatory evacuations after an emergency clears terminals that can force passengers to go through security again.

With this variety of flight delays reason here are some tips on what you should do when this problem occurs.

  • Try to find how late it will be, so you can evaluate your options. Keep in mind though, that it is sometimes difficult for the airlines to estimate the total duration.
  • Be nice on the gate agents. It’s not their fault the flight was delayed, screaming and kicking will not get you to your destination. A frazzled airline agent will not sympathize on you if you yell and scream. Remember that those airlines agents are really trying to do their best to help you and everyone else who is in line with you.
  • Ask the gate agent’s if they can get you on another flight or endorse your ticket on other carriers’ flights.  If they do this, thank them for there is no rule requiring an airline to do this. You might have to go standby.
  • If you might miss your connection due to a delay at your initial airport, let the gate agent’s know. If there’s a lot of passengers missing a connection, the airline may briefly hold a connecting flight for you, but there is no assurance.
  • Call your travel planner, and you may get rebook faster than you can at the airport with all those passengers waiting for help.
  • If you’re not too pressed for time, volunteer to give up your seat for a later flight in exchange for a flight voucher.
  • Delayed flights don’t often bring out the best in passengers but try to be nice and strike up a conversation with a stranger to pass the time would be a good idea while waiting in a long and may seem endless line.

While airlines often try to call to notify you of schedule changes, it may not be possible to do if

the airline becomes aware of the delay only shortly before the flight. There is not much a passenger can do, but to remain PATIENT and CALM.

Airline delays and cancellations are not unusual, and defensive planning is a good idea when time is your most important consideration.

These tips won’t protect you from random or unforeseeable delays but they will give you a fighting chance to cope on such situation.

By: Gerine Arroyo


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