10 travel tips for dealing with flight delays or cancellations

I recently had 2 delays on 3 flights taken on domestic trips to the US. With airport staffing shortages and a sharp recovery in demand for air travel, I believe no traveler can escape flight disruptions.

Let’s take a look at some statistics on airport delays and flight cancellations:

Airports with the most cancellations in Europe

  1. Amsterdam Schiphol Airport: 14,200 flights
  2. Frankfurt Airport: 8,600 flights
  3. London Heathrow: 8,200 flights
  4. London Gatwick: 6,800 flights
  5. Munich Airport: 6,400 flights

*Flight cancellations between April 1st and June 29th

Flight cancellations in the UK

  • Air France/KLM: 2,135 scheduled departures, 113 cancellations (5.3%)
  • EasyJet: 15,601 scheduled departures, 738 cancellations (4.7%)
  • British Airways: 11,590 scheduled departures, 419 cancellations (3.6%)
  • Lufthansa: 1,080 scheduled departures, 38 cancellations (3.5%)
  • Ryanair: 12,105 scheduled departures, 32 cancellations (0.3%)

Airline delays and cancellations in the United States

US flight statistics June 8 – July 7:

  • Scheduled flights: 782,267
  • Canceled flights: 19,640 (2.5%)
  • Delayed flights: 179,468 (22.9%)

US Airline Cancellation and Delay Statistics (Main Line Flights)

  1. American Airlines: 93,040 scheduled flights, 4,358 canceled (4.68%), 26,105 delayed (28%)
  2. Delta Air Lines: 86,689 scheduled flights, 2,678 canceled (3%), 17,508 delayed (20%)
  3. United Airlines: 68,794 scheduled flights, 1,863 canceled (2.7%), 15,404 delayed (22%)
  4. Southwest Airlines: 115,833 scheduled flights, 1,058 canceled (0.91%), 33,615 delayed (29%)

10 travel tips

I share some useful tips on how to travel these days:

1. Try flying non-stop without connection, even if it may cost more. Too many domestic and regional flights are canceled at the last minute, messing up your multi-stop itinerary.

Consider other modes of transport for short trips as the queue at airport security is much longer.

Book flights in the morning. Try to avoid evening flights as the likelihood of your flight may be delayed due to roll-on delays.

2. Download your airline’s app and familiarize yourself with all functions. In the event of a delay or rerouting, try checking the airline’s app for the most up-to-date information. You may be able to resolve issues without calling or queuing at the customer service desk.

3. Monitor the airport website to see average time at security checkpoint and use flight tracking apps like Radarbox, FlightAware or FlightRadar24 to see airport flight delays.

4. Check in online before going to the airport. Monitor your flight in advance for Plan B.

5. Try to pack lightlybring only carry-on baggage as there is a high chance of baggage mishandling.

6. Have one fully charged phone with you on the day of travel. Plus a portable charger and adapter handy.

7. If you need to check bags, Put important personal items in your hand luggage. In case your luggage gets lost or delayed, have your toiletries and a comfortable outfit ready for temporary survival.

8th. Take a photo of your checked bag. This can make reporting easier.

9. Pay close attention to the screen on your gate and hear announcements. You will first see/hear delays or cancellations before emails/notifications are sent.

10. Manage your travel expectations and be prepared for extra-long lines and unexpected delays. Be patient in everything you do Be prepared and know your rights!

Your rights to compensation

The Montreal Convention is the oldest treaty protecting passenger rights and applies to most international flights. For example, in the event of personal injury resulting from a flight accident, airlines are liable for up to EUR 140,000 (to cover medical expenses). Passengers are entitled to up to 1,400 euros for damage caused by lost or destroyed luggage.

However, it can take a long time for airlines to be asked to pay due to so many cases being filed.

In the USA, if you are knocked off your flight, you are eligible for US flight compensation equal to at least 200% of your one-way fare. Airlines these days usually require you to bid a large amount upfront. The lowest bidder wins the flight credit. I saw Delta give away $5,000 to $10,000 for bumped passengers recently!

EU regulation 261 includes all flights departing from the EU and some non-EU countries, as well as flights operated by EU airlines arriving there. According to EC261, you can be entitled to compensation up to 600 EUR if your flight is delayed more than 3 hours or is cancelled.

Cover photo: via AP