Get Connected | Contact Us

Handling Changes in your Travel Plans

by Lux Joseph 6. July 2013

Summer is already here and so is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Whether you are looking to go on a summer vacation to Europe or in our case, bringing patients home that fell ill during their vacation travels flights are selling quickly and at a high rate. According to the latest Travelhorizons survey of 2,300 U.S. adults conducted by marketing services firm MMGY Global 70% of Americans plan to take at least one leisure trip between now and October 2013, compared to 65% in March 2007.  During your travels this summer, you hope that everything goes as planned, flights are not delayed or canceled, a natural disaster doesn’t hit, and that no other disruption happens to affect your journey. But what happens when something does happen to affect your travel? What are your rights as a traveler?

Being stranded at the airport during a natural disaster or any other related disruption causes frustration to you as the traveler. It is important to recognize that your ticket as a traveler represents a contract between you and the airline. Although airlines do not guarantee their schedules due to the large amount of unexpected challenges that can occur including weather, mechanical problems, and air traffic control delays, as part of a contract they must make reasonable efforts to fulfill their end of the bargain. Many airlines will do their best to re-accommodate you as schedules and availability permit, but waiting in that long line may limit your chance at the next soonest flight available.

As a traveler you must take control of the situation in a professional and responsible manner. At CME, we deal with cancelations and delays every week when transporting our patients back home.  Some tips that we have in regards to delays/cancelations include:

• Monitor you flight continuously- a great application to be used on your smart phone is Flight Aware. There are two applications, and the paid application shows real time updates including the connection times as flights are delayed

• Be respectful to the agent- it is not the agent’s fault that your flight is delayed or canceled. Although they represent the airline, they are not the cause so do not take the frustration out on them. The more courteous and polite you are the more likely they will do their best to find an alternate flight to meet your needs.

• Contacting the airline- if you are already at the airport, most likely you are standing in the long line to rebook your ticket. While in line, also contact the airline via their 1-800 number. In most cases if you are able to get in contact with an agent on the phone, they can at least make the changes and confirm you on a new flight so all you will need to do is have your new tickets issued. If you booked your flight with a travel agent, they can hold you on the next available flight as well

• Endorsing your ticket- you have finally reached the counter and the airline informs you that you cannot be rebooked until 2 days later. For most travelers, this would not be acceptable or reasonable. You can ask your airline to endorse your ticket on another carrier. Do the research and look at available flights on alternate carriers. The airline is not required to endorse your ticket, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. When an airline endorses another carrier, they are paying the other carrier to transport you to your destination.

• Understand the Department of Transportation (DOT) Rules- many times you may think everything is going as planned. You boarded your flight, listened to the flight briefing, are pushing back form the gate, and then are told then you are held on the tarmac for an infinite period of time. It is important to understand the rules set forth by the DOT and what the airlines a required to provide. The DOT prohibits airlines from keeping passengers on the tarmac for more than 3 hours on domestic flights unless the pilot otherwise feels there is a safely or security issue in. The airline is also required to provide food and water within two hours of being on the tarmac.

• Know the airline policy- no federal laws or requirements are in place that require airlines to provide any accommodation or meals due to delayed or canceled flights. Each airline does have its own policy and it is important to understand the policy so you do not look ignorant trying to demand something that you are not entitled to.

Cancelations and delays will always be a possibility when flying. Airlines are trying each and every day to seek ways to improve the system, but in most cases there are things that are out of their control. Being aware of your environment, rights as a passenger, and keeping composure, as a traveler will ensure a smooth journey to your destination.


© Commercial Medical Escorts. Optimized website design by MoreVisibility.