Air travel goes smoothly — sometimes. Other times, it is a headache with seemingly no end in sight. Let’s take a look at some of the worst air travel issues and potential mitigating measures or solutions.
1. Flight Delays and Cancellations
Few things are more frustrating than not being able to go on your trip at all (or not being able to return home). It’s also frustrating when your flight is delayed, causing you to miss connecting flights or valuable time at your destination.
Potential mitigations or solutions: Before you book your flight, make sure you’re OK with the compensation you could receive in case of a delay or cancellation. For example, Wizz Air compensation may include an account credit with a 20 percent missed flight fee bonus, although time limits and other restrictions apply. That may turn off customers. Always read the fine print when reviewing potential compensation.
A third party may be able to get you compensated more quickly and effectively than you attempting it yourself. Credit cards sometimes offer flight delay or cancellation coverage too, and travel insurance helps sometimes.
Direct flights are one way some people protect against delays and cancellations. For example, a delayed connecting flight can wreak havoc on your schedule. Consider driving a few extra hours to another airport so you can take a direct flight.
2. Typos in Your Name or Other Information
If you made a typo in your name or date of birth, the error could pose problems with your ability to board. In some cases, a minor mistake can be resolved without much hassle. For instance, despite official Transportation Security Administration policy, some officials let passengers through with a minor name typo.
Other times, high fees are necessary to make changes, or people miss their flights. Unfortunately, small keyboards, phone screens, fatigue, and distraction make it all too easy to press the wrong button.
Potential mitigations or solutions: As you are booking, say what you are seeing on the screen out loud to ensure it is correct.
Many times, airlines let you make changes within 24 hours of booking for no charge. With this in mind, review the information you entered the day after you book.
Otherwise, contact the airline as soon as possible after you notice the error. Much of the time, you need to call, although live chat or other avenues may be possible, depending on the airline.
3. Being Stuck on a Plane
Some people end up stuck on a plane for hours right outside of a gate. If this happens to you, you might not be allowed to disembark and may need to stay seated with your seatbelt on. A common scenario: It gets hot in the plane, tempers flare, you’re hungry and cranky, no one is explaining anything, and your plans at the destination dwindle before your eyes.
Potential mitigations or solutions: Bring food on the plane, something you should do anyway since airline food typically is not filling. Download movies or other entertainment to your phone or tablet beforehand so it is ready to go without the need for WiFi. As mentioned earlier, try for direct flights when possible to minimize the chances of flight woes.
4. Long Security Lines
Arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Some airports and flight tools give you an estimate of security line wait times, but still build in cushions.
Organize your luggage so items are easy to retrieve should that become necessary. Answer security questions readily.
5. Crying Children or Annoying Passengers
Try not to pile onto the parents’ problems by making snide remarks or staring at them. Headphones or earmuffs can do wonders. If the parents appear to be doing nothing to help their children, ask if there is something you can do or approach them kindly with a solution-oriented mindset, not a mindset of, “I’m going to fuss at you for all I’m worth.”
If passengers (adults or children) are annoying you because they’re kicking your seat or otherwise harassing you, tell a flight attendant. Staffers get training on how to address these issues in as inoffensive a way as possible.
6. Lack of Sleep
Sleep is a great way to pass the time on the flight but does not always come easily. First, one obvious technique: If you’re in the habit of drinking coffee or alcohol right before flights or on the plane, skip the drinks.
To help you sleep, sit in the back of the plane, use a sleep mask or cover your face somehow, and block sound. Take melatonin or your favorite food to induce sleep. Avoid trying new sleep medications for the first time on a flight.
Have backups in case sleep remains elusive. That reduces your frustration. Read an ebook or try the in-flight entertainment. It’s getting better every day.
Sometimes, air travel problems are inevitable. If you’ve already educated yourself on what you can do, the issues can be easier to conquer. It certainly helps to know how you could get compensated in the case of a delayed or canceled flight.