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So you're sitting at the airport and wait for your flight. At first it gets delayed...
40 minutes ain't too bad
They even carry you to the plane, but the storm outside is getting worse
The bus returns to take you back to the airport
And finally you get your confirmation...
The flight is cancelled.
Here is some easy steps to follow:
1. Keep calm, but stay focused! It happened, no need to be mad...
2. Do NOT pick up your luggage first. Go straight to the airline counter to get a new ticket for a different flight.
In case you're not traveling alone, the other person can pick up your luggage while you go to the airline counter. But make the airline counter your top priority!
All people on that plane will go to the airline counter and ask for an alternate flight. But there might be limited free seats on these flights. Be the first in line to get the first alternate flight!
The airline counter is always on the departure level of the airport, so get there quickly. Don't try baggage claim counters or airport service desks. Go to the airline counter immediately.
Don't shout at the person behind the counter. It's not their fault. After getting your alternate flight, politely ask them for a contact for reimbursement (I will get to that in step 6).
3. As soon as you have your new tickets, make sure to alter or cancel reservations you made.
Don't waste time trying to contact your travel agency. Contact the hotel directly to tell them about the delay.
Most if the times hotels can be canceled up to one day before arrival. Tell them about the delay immediately, don't wait until the next day. They might charge you if you wait too long.
Keep in mind other bookings like rentals or tour operators. Inform them about what happened and your "contingency plan".
4. Now it's time to get your luggage (in case you were traveling alone)
Get back to the arrival level, tell someone about all the confusion because of the cancellation and that you left your luggage on the baggage conveyor belt.
5. Go to the airline website and check in again.
Since you already have your tickets, you just need to pick your seats and you're done...
6. Write it all down and tell them...
You might have lost at least half a holiday, had to run around the airport and try not to panic. The airline should reimburse you for this. Make notes of what the reasons for the cancellation were!
Depending on the time you lost and the reasons of the cancellation, you can get some reimbursement that might make up for your troubles.
7. Be happy. Your flight was canceled for a reason, maybe a technical defect or bad weather conditions, which both might have caused a plane crash.
Grab your new ticket and your luggage and proceed.
Use the time you earned at the place you are at the moment. Take a tour around town or find a nice hotel to get some sleep.