7 Things To Do When Your Flight Is Delayed

Nobody goes to an airport to have fun. We expect, at the very least, to get in, get on our flight, get out. However, that is not always meant to be and flight disruptions happen. Statistically, they happen a lot. So what do you do if you’re waiting at the airport and your flight gets delayed? And how do you proceed from there to claiming compensation for your delayed flight?

Vent frustration online

First off, you can give yourself a few minutes to vent. Go online, complain to your family, tear into an airline rep on Twitter, bash together a Medium post – do whatever it takes to get that tension down. Are you satisfied with your venting? Good, we can now move on to claiming flight compensation.

You can do that easily via our website. You may choose to try out our flight compensation calculator to find out how much you can claim in delayed flight compensation. Afterward, you can fill out the claim! You will need to enter the flight information – the flight number, where from/to, your name and surname, booking number and so on – and sign the claim. Hopefully, you can do that over a secure connection (maybe you’re using a VPN).

get compensation

Don’t run around the airport too much

Maybe they’ll announce boarding sooner than you would expect from the delay time. Maybe the whole flight will be able to leave sooner than expected! In that case, you risk getting left behind, declared a no-show. This mostly applies to short delays of two-three hours.

Of course, you can go to the bathroom!

Consider how late you’ll be

You should also know that flight compensation depends on how late your flight is. For the flight to be considered delayed by the law, it has to be late by more than 3 hours. However, this is determined by when your plane lands. That is, it doesn’t matter how late your plane is to leave, only arrival time matters – with “landing” meaning “the time the aircraft doors open.” You don’t really have to know when they opened – and trying to take time-stamped pictures with wristwatches and such is pointless – as AirHelp experts can get the logs from the airport.

This is important because flights that are late to leave by 3 hours or more can sometimes make up for the lost time in the air and arrive before the three-hour mark. However, in some rare cases planes that leave less than three hours late can actually be later on arrival. You shouldn’t worry about it too much. After all, you don’t have to pay for unsuccessful claims with AirHelp!

Consider not flying at all if your flight is delayed by 5 or more hours

flight 5 h delayed

If you do so, you should contact the airline immediately (via the phone or by hunting down a local representative) and get refunded for the flight you’re about to not take. If your entire trip – that is, flying somewhere and flying back – is covered under a single reservation, you will get refunded for both flights.

Note that in this case, you won’t be able to claim compensation! By deciding not to fly and getting a refund, you are also giving away your right to claim flight delay compensation.

Ask for care

You should also know that you can demand care if your flight is delayed long enough. How long do you have to wait? Well, it depends on the flight distance. To receive care, your flight must be delayed:

flight-delay what to do

And while there exist exceptions under which the airline is considered to not be at fault for the delay and thus doesn’t have to pay compensation, it must provide care every time.

The care must come in the form of food and drinks. Usually, this means getting vouchers that can be exchanged at vendors at the airport itself. They will probably be handed out by the staff at the gate.

Do note that this is not guaranteed if your delay is only a little longer than two hours. Care will not be supplied if it risks delaying the flight even longer either. However, if your delay is longer than 2.5 hours, you can safely go to whoever is at the gates and demand those vouchers.

Possibly take care of yourself

In some cases, the airline might not be feeling like giving out care or the vouchers in question may be woefully inadequate. If that happens, you can still purchase food with your own money. Save the receipts – they will be necessary if you want to get refunded for the care. Just don’t get too loose with the money – the airlines may (and will) refuse to pay for expensive meals, so try to aim at getting a meal that generally corresponds to the average food prices at the airport.

You should also know that the airline will not refund any expenses spent on alcohol.

Also, in the case of a small delay (2 hours or so), you will get vouchers for a snack, and not for a full meal. You should also know that the airline is not obliged to give you food on the plane – once you are on board, the time for care/vouchers has already passed. And if you don’t incur any expenses while waiting for a plane – that is, if you starve yourself and such – the airline isn’t obliged to pay you anything. They only cover actual expenses.