Demand to Get Compensated
Airlines generally have a “don’t ask, don’t give” policy. You have to take the initiative, and demand compensation from your airline. Never trust them to do it of their own accord.
One advantage to pressuring the airline is that, even if you don’t get compensated in cash, you might get a freebie. This can be a discount on your next flight with them (assuming you want to use them again), or complimentary items from their catalogue.
Do note that your airline’s actual legal obligations may be different. For example, some of them clearly specify that you accept the risk of flight changes, and that they’re not obliged to offer any compensation (check the terms and conditions before you buy).
However, some good airlines may offer compensation anyway, as a matter of maintaining good customer relations. If you don’t ask and push for it however, you tend to get nothing.
Check If Your Travel Insurance Covers Flight Delays
Many travellers, amid a haze of anger and exhaustion, tend to forget about their travel insurance - which can come free with the right credit card. Remember, travel insurance isn’t just about medical expenses and lost luggage. Some policies also cover delays.
While most travel insurance policies do not cover schedule changes, some cover delays or cancellations in case of bad weather or if the delay is more than 24 hours.
If you’re uncertain, call to ask. And if you haven’t gone on your trip yet, consider buying a policy that covers these circumstances. If you’re self-employed, being unable to go home and run your business for a day or two can cost a lot of money.
Call Your Airline Directly to Settle Things
Here’s a special tip from us: the automated instructions that airlines send out are often a waste of time.
When your flight is rescheduled, always call the airline directly and raise your issues. You’ll sometimes be able to book an alternative flight on the call, faster than the other people standing in line.
You may also get alternatives that are not immediately offered on automated instructions - for example, you may be given the opportunity to leave three days later, but with full compensation for a hotel room (if you’re on vacation and not in a rush to get home, this might be even better than an alternative flight tomorrow, with no accommodations for tonight).
Call Your Credit Card Concierge
Sometimes, the delay would just cost you too much. Perhaps you have a concert to attend, and you already paid for the tickets. Or perhaps you have a vital business meeting to get to.
If your airline can’t move fast enough, your last resort can be your credit card concierge (if you have one). Call them and let them know your situation; they’re often able to get you last minute flights, which you can’t get on your own.
As an aside, the same concierge can also be asked to help with accommodations. For example, get the concierge to look for the cheapest hotel that’s close to the airport; this will save you having to Google things on top your current problem.
Using Airbnb? See If Your Host Can Extend Your Stay
Some Airbnb hosts will be open to giving you an extension, if there are no other guests after you. This could be cheaper than looking for a last minute hotel, so always be sure to ask.
Ask Friends For Help
Obviously, the first choice should be friends who happen to live at your travel destination. See if anyone can put you up for a night or two if your flight gets rescheduled for the following day. However, don’t forget to call home and use your friends’ contacts.
For all you know, your best friend back home has a former colleague who lives near you; or perhaps mum and dad know a distant cousin who’s in the area. It’s not a guarantee, but you may just have a shot at saving on a hotel room.
As an aside, try to make friends abroad, wherever you go. It’s good for your social life, and very helpful in situations like these.
Check Flight Prices Before Accepting a Refund
If your flight is cancelled or significantly delayed, you may be entitled to a refund. When this happens, the airline will often give you a choice between an alternative flight or accepting the refund.
When you are given this choice, always check the price of booking with another airline. You will sometimes save money by taking the refund and booking a new, cheaper flight, rather than taking the existing airline’s alternative.
Read This Next:
Guide To Making Travel Insurance Claims
How to Save Money on Hotels Without Sacrificing Comfort
7 Top Travel Mistakes Singaporeans Make (and How to Avoid Them)
8 Ways to Save Money on Coach Tickets to Malaysia
When is it Worth Buying a Travel Package?
3 Pricing Strategies Airlines Use to Make You Pay More
Use Your Credit Card Concierge Service to Save Time When You Travel
Why Singaporeans Waste Money with Advanced Flight Bookings