There are many things that can make it difficult for flights to show up on time. Some of these problems, such as bad weather that result in air traffic delays are beyond the airline companies’ control. Others, such as the need for mechanical repair work, can not be forecasted. Nevertheless, you can take steps to lower your opportunities of experiencing most problems and limit their impacts.
When booking your flight, remember that a departure early in the day is less likely to be delayed than a later flight, due in part to the “ripple” effects of delays throughout the day. Likewise, if an early flight does get postponed or canceled, you might have more rerouting alternatives. You might get stuck over night if you schedule the last flight of the day and it is canceled.
On a direct flight (intermediate stop, no change of aircrafts), the 2nd leg could be postponed or canceled. If you select a flight with a stop or connection, attempt to pick one stopping at the least-congested enroute airport in order to minimize the risk of delay or misconnection.
You might want to consider the seasonal variations in weather if you have a choice of linking cities. For example, airports in the south may have fewer winter snowstorms however more spring and summer thunderstorms.
When reserving a connection, constantly examine the quantity of time between flights. Ask yourself what will occur if the first flight is postponed; if you don’t like the answer, choice another flight or ask the agent to “build” a connection that enables more time.
Specific airports are more congested than others are. Flights during peak travel times of the day (e.g., 4:00 -6:00 p.m.) are more prone to delay. Examine flights to all airports that serve your location city.
Ask about the on-time performance of each flight you are considering. If you make an appointment through the carrier, the FAA requires the major U.S. airline companies to make this information readily available upon demand. These airlines also make the very same info offered through their Computer Reservations Systems to customers reserving through travel representatives.
Much more comprehensive flight hold-up info is likewise available on the web website of the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics. If you are making an appointment close to your departure date, the FAA web website can provide prompt information on air traffic and weather-related delays on a real-time basis.
Call the airline well ahead of your departure time to examine your flight’s status. If there is an issue, attempt to rebook over the telephone. While airlines typically attempt to contact you to inform you of schedule changes, it may not be possible to do so if the airline company becomes aware of the hold-up just shortly before the flight. Make sure your airline’s record of your booking includes a telephone number where you can be reached, or you will lose any opportunity of being called about a delay or flight modification.
If your flight is postponed, attempt to find out how late it will be so that you can evaluate your choices. Keep in mind that it is often difficult for airline companies to estimate the total period of a delay during its early phases.
If you happen to be a UK resident, take note that you may be entitled to compensation if your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours. You can find out more about this policy at UK Flight Compensation.
In the United States unfortunately contrary to popular belief, there are no federal regulations set for airlines to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed or cancelled. If your flight in cancelled in the United States, you are typically booked for the next available flight unless you ask for a refund and choose to book a different flight.