For a frequent traveller, the only things worse than flight delays are the apologies he or she receives when they occur. If you are one such traveller, you’re aware of this misery. Here you’re just about to enter your cab when your phone beeps up a message notifying you of the airline’s regret for causing you inconvenience because the flight you were about to board has been postponed a few hours. The wave of anger that arises at the realization of the triviality of the hurdle and of the accompanying destruction of your itinerary that you had so carefully planned is but natural. And the apologies that seem to come from eternally smiling airline staff on your mobile phone certainly don’t appear to help.
Such instances are not out of the ordinary nowadays as, amidst increasing air traffic, delays are becoming more and more routine. And while we cannot entirely eliminate the uncertainty, with a little skill and research, we can at least reduce the probability of encountering flight delays.
The first thing you can do even before you book your ticket is consider an airline’s “on-time” rate. An airline’s on-time rate is an indication of its punctuality – the higher the rate, the more punctual the airline. This number is generally indicated somewhere close to the area around the flight details. If it’s not’s there, then you can always ask a representative over phone. Moreover, flights in the morning are almost always on-time, so if you can, book morning flights.
Secondly, when you’re on your way to the airport, always confirm the status of your flight – not online, but over the phone with a real human being. This is because in case there’s a last moment delay and the website hasn’t been updated, that person will have the news and you can, therefore, save some time by going to the airport a little late, depending on the delay. However, if you have one or more connecting flights and it’s absolutely essential for you to board a plane, then you can always go to customer care and insist for tickets in a different flight that suits your plans or, if such a flight is not available, tickets for a flight of a different airline altogether.
Finally, if everything fails and all you’re left with is apologies that don’t work, then all you can do is wait. Of course, to beguile the time, you can fight with the customer care guys or ask the airline for some monetary compensation for causing you inconvenience and mental anguish, but that seldom works out. So the best thing to do is to sit back and enjoy a nice book, or better still, to contemplate the possibilities of things that could’ve gone worse. Frustration, on the other hand, will cause you more misery, so try to avoid getting into that state of mind, even if it is the “natural” thing to do.