This passenger felt stuck between Scylla and Charybdis:
Our @united flight out of Punta Cana was delayed, missed our connection to RDU, no flights out of EWR tonight. Rebooked at 6am, given blankets and pillows. Option #2 was a 2 hr cab to a hotel, sleep 2 hrs, then WE pay for the cab back to EWR. United, do better.#ownyourmistakes pic.twitter.com/0aOnkljIHB
— Bryan Carrico (@jrpup462) December 12, 2021
It’s easy to rage at an airline on social media. But unless your tweet goes super viral it’s not likely to get you much. Better to take ownership of the situation yourself. Here’s 9 ways to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.
- Ask to be rebooked on a later flight. Sure 6 .am. gets you to your vacation faster, but is 2 hours of sleep or sleeping at the airport an enjoyable part of your vacation?
- Book a closer hotel yourself. I completely understand that this can be cost-prohibitive for some, but vacation often entails unexpected costs (you may even test positive for Covid asymptomatically as so by surprise and have several extra days of lodging on the back end). You probably don’t want the room the airline will give you free, anyway.
Shoutout to @AmericanAir! We missed our connection yesterday and didn't make it home. So they put us up in a 3 star hotel so we could sleep with roaches in our room! Thanks a lot AA! pic.twitter.com/CHepVD6Vv0
— Luke007 (@Luke00714829272) December 11, 2021
- Pay attention to what credit card you use to pay for the tickets, because trip delay coverage will generally pay in the event of a forced overnight – book your own room, save the receipts not just for the room but also meals and transportation back and forth.
- Strategically choose your connections. You can’t eliminate all risk, but if a delay will cause insurmountable problems for your trip then avoid difficult hubs (New York airspace) with short or even normal connections where a delay is going to prevent you from making it to your destination. Avoid connecting to the last flight of the night. Have backup itinerary options in mind (these can sell out).
- Price a new ticket on another airline the itinerary ight be better and last-minute trips aren’t always expensive with ultra low cost carrier competition. Consider how much incremental cost you’ll face buying a new itinerary and paying for it (at least in part) with a refund of your original ticket, versus the cost (both cash and otherwise) of the overnighting options you face.
- Don’t just accept whatever flight the airline offers you, do your own homework. Even if you’re not an expert at using tools to find inventory, just do a search of flights for sale and if something it available to purchase it’ll usually be possible to put you onto that flight when there’s a delay or cancellation.
- Inventory changes all the time so keep checking for something better. People miss flights, change flights, keep refreshing your options if the flight you’d prefer is sold out.
- Ask someone else for help. If the person helping you isn’t giving you what you want, call/online chat/use twitter or find someone at the gate, customer service, ticket counter, etc. If you get told no three times maybe it is no but you might find someone to go the extra mile for you if it’s possible to do so.