Despite the fact that nothing out of the ordinary usually happens during a flight (which is exactly what any airline traveller wishes for) there are a great deal of events that may delay or cancel a flight. For instance, flight is unquestionably weather-bound. Adverse weather often makes an airplane come later than scheduled or would even cancel it.
Mechanical problems, on the other hand will have the same effect of airline timetables. All these problems cannot be controlled by any airline company and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. This is why we would like to suggest a few tricks that will make your airline voyage better.
Verify the information
The US Department of Transportation’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (OAEP) keeps track of the most important US airline companies and issues an Air Travel Consumer Report on a monthly basis. This report is intended to help airline customers with information on the quality of services offered by the airlines.
It includes information on the following: flight delays, mishandled baggage; oversales; consumer complaints including disability and discrimination complaints). Even more detailed information related to planes that come later than scheduled is to be found at Bureau of Transportation Statistics administered by The Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA).
Also, if you choose to subscribe to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) notifications, you will be able to receive delay information from the FAA on your wireless device, pager, phone, PDA or e-mail in real-time, as any modifications occur.
Select the best airport
Some airports are more overcrowd than others. What’s more, air travels taking place for the duration of the peak travel times are more likely to come late. Carefully check all the flights that can take you to your destination and pay attention to their on-time performance. The Department asks all the chief U.S. air carriers to publish this information on their website as well as through their Computer Reservations Systems.
Make a phone call beforehand
It would be advisable to call before packing your bags so that you know that everything is all right with your flight. It is true that changes are usually notified to the customer when they occur. Of course, you will only be announced if you left your phone number when you made the RESERVATION. However in case of bad weather or any unforeseen mechanical problems, this may not happen, so it is good to check or even double-check.
Get informed with regard to amenities before leaving
Different airline companies have different policies in so far as CUSTOMER SERVICE are concerned. Meals, phone calls or accommodation for long delays may or may not be included in the plane ticket. In the US, it’s up to the companies to decide what perks to include. There is not federal requirement on that.
You may also want to consider the Customer Service Plans that were released by the companies members of the Airlines for America (A4A), formerly known as Air Transport Association of America released Customer Service Plan. These plans, as pointed out by the association carry out a pledge made by the association to the airline passengers. These plans explain what the carriers will do in areas such as:
- Notifying passengers of known flight delays and cancellations.
- Meeting customers’ essential needs during long on-aircraft delays.
- Allowing reservations to be held or tickets to be refunded within 24 hours of purchase.
- Being more responsive to customer complaints.
Direct vs connected flights
Generally speaking, if you choose to go direct, you have fewer chances to miss your arrival to your destination. In general, you are least likely to be delayed on nonstop flights. On the other hand, if you have to change planes to reach your destination, you may miss your connection.
Anyway, if you really must change flights, than you’d better choose one that stops at the least-crowded airport so as to minimize the possibility of delay or misconnection. You also need to consider the weather at the time of your travel. Verify both the weather forecast as well as the time between flights.
Early birds are less prone to delays
It is widely known that flights that leave earlier during the day are rarely delayed. What is more, if you choose an early flight and it is cancelled or delayed, you have the whole day at your disposal for a reroute.
Identify your rights
You may be surprised to find out that LEGAL REQUIREMENTS in US do not compel the carriers to offer a financial compensation in case of a delay or cancellation. Airline companies have to pay compensation only in case of an overbooked flight.