It has often been said that seeing new places is an amazing experience, but travel is actually a nightmare. There is definitely some truth to this statement, and furthermore, it seems like air travel, which used to be the luxury mode of getting from A to B, is getting to be more and more of a torturous experience, akin to some sort of a short-term purgatory.
These days more and more people are feeling that it’s necessary to verify their rights and maybe even take action against one or more airlines that have provided them a particularly horrible experience. These horrible experiences include but are not limited to flight delays, delayed or lost baggage, missed connections, even not being able to board the flight initially due to stupidities such as overbooking.
Why Are Delays Increasing?
The simple answer is in two parts: people are flying more than ever before and on the other side, weather has never been so variable. Both of these are undoubtedly true.
However, there is definitely an incompetence factor here. Changes in upper management in major airlines, and massive-scale mergers like the one between American and United airlines definitely can and do make for more snafus.
What Can Be Done?
In the majority of cases, if your plane was delayed more than 3 hours or cancelled, you will be entitled to compensation. If you miss a connection and they can’t get you on a flight until the next day, as a bare minimum you are entitled to a hotel and 2 meals, plus round-trip transportation to and from said hotel. These are subject to international agreements and valid in most jurisdictions across the world.
In any case, it pays to consult a professional to see how much compensation you are entitled to. Often the amounts can rise higher than you could think possible. Seeking compensation is not just a selfish move; it helps keep the airlines in check and serves to deter them from taking advantage of their customers in the future.
Also, travel insurance, which sometimes is available on your credit card, either automatically or as part of a package you can purchase, is often an incredible boon for travellers. The package usually includes things like instant cash to replace items lost in lost or delayed baggage, emergency medical insurance while travelling, and discounts on rental cars.
In the end, the more proactive you are about these issues, the better, or at least the less hellacious your travel experience will be.