Cranky on the Web: What to Do When Your Flight Cancels, More Coronavirus

Cranky on the Web

14 Things to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or DelayedUSNews and World Report
Finally, something not related to the coronavirus. Here’s an article about what to do when your flight cancels. I had a few tips in there.

American Airlines jobs on the line, DFW Airport stores closing in coronavirus falloutFort Worth Star-Telegram
Things are bad. The end.

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5 comments on “Cranky on the Web: What to Do When Your Flight Cancels, More Coronavirus

  1. Brett,

    While this is currently the least important thing to worry about, I see people getting a bunch of credits (some credits better than others) and vouchers, most with expiration dates. I’m wondering how difficult it will be to use the vouchers down the road since things are not going to resume and ramp up to 100% of flights as they were before the shutdowns. Airlines are going to be slow in restoring flights since they aren’t going to want to get a bunch of people on the payroll w/o being able to fill the flights (at least to a profitable level). And many will be slow to resume travel. So you may have a bunch of vouchers chasing after limited seats (kind of like with FF miles).

    Even post 9/11 people were quite wary in flying and flights for a while were quite empty. Here we are talking about an unknown virus that has hit the world. Older folks that do a lot of flying may not come back quickly or at all. Businesses may learn how much cheaper and often better it is to use vary technology, etc. Flying may be changed for a while. Could be bad for the industry although maybe good for the consumer.

    1. Rich – The vouchers and credits are very different from frequent flier miles. They are just worth dollar amounts to be applied toward any flight. So there is no capacity restriction the way frequent flier seats are controlled. That being said, I think we will see further pressure on airlines to extend the validity. Southwest has already done that, allowing credits to be used through June 2021. Delta and United have extended ticket validity in some cases. I think we’ll see more of that.

  2. Cranky, it would be interesting to hear how the last few weeks have been for your business… and how you think the next few weeks/months will be. I could imagine you had a huge influx of new customers trying to find a way home while the route network collapsed around them, but that this eventually ends and. And then?

    1. Oliver – Business has, frankly, been very bad. While we did have new business with people looking to get home, we had far, far more people who had originally booked with us who needed us to cancel them. We don’t charge fees to cancel, so we were effectively working really hard to give money away. With many of the people coming for last minute help, it was more about them wanting us to help them get refunds because the places they booked failed them completely. Many of the larger online and offline agencies have been impossible ot get a hold of. And unfortunately, there’s not much we can do in those situations, so we had to turn them away. We have put into place a cost savings plan that has reduced hours and wages, but it has avoided layoffs for now. That has been my primary goal in the short run. Now, we wait and think about alternate business opportunities to keep revenue coming in while this all sorts out.

  3. My advice if you have an upcoming flight that you don’t plan to take: Wait until the last possible moment (preferably the day of the flight) to cancel. I had tickets for two flights over the past weekend on different airlines. For obvious reasons, I decided in advance not to fly them. I was tempted to cancel once I knew this (about a week in advance), but all the airlines now have really generous cancellations policies that don’t provide you with any incentive to cancel early. Instead, both flights ended up being cancelled the day before departure. I was rebooked on both, but the time change was significant enough that I was able to get refunded in both cases. If I had cancelled before the flights were cancelled, I would have only received travel credit, which might have been hard to use within the expiration period.

    TL;DR – Wait until the morning of your flight to cancel, since your flight has a good chance of being cancelled, which might make you eligible for a refund.

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