What to do when your flight is cancelled or rescheduled
Trust everyone is keeping well.
Following the schenegians from my trip to East Africa , I thought to address the pains of cancelled flights. For those not in the know, Kenya Airways cancelled and rescheduled my flight from Kenya to Rwanda. I was furious is an understatement. .
Before I go on, please note not one size fits all, but case by case. Cancelling a flight is not in itself entirely bad because there could be reasons that arise outside the airlines control. For instance, extreme weather, earthquakes, volcanic eruption, a strike action etc. In these cases, the airline is not legally obliged to provide compensation.
I mentioned earlier it is based on case by case right. Now, an excuse such as ‘undefined operational issues’ or scarcity of aviation fuel is such a flimsy excuse. The expectation is not to book people on the flight rather than cause travellers misery.
What to do before you depart for the airport as a traveller
If you are a traveller, I would advise that you familiarise yourself with the cancellation policy on your ticket.
Different jurisdictions have clear laid down policies regarding flight cancellation, same for particular airlines.
Your rights if your flight is cancelled on amble notice
Depending on what airline you are flying with, you should expect a full refund or an offer of alternative travel arrangements, such as a seat on a different airline’s flight to your destination
If the delay is stated clearly to be outside the airline’s control (not due to operational reasons), you may be able to claim on your travel insurance. We shall discuss travel insurance another day. For now, insurance policies could include payouts for missed, delayed or cancelled flights, depending on what company you have purchased your policy with.
Your rights if your flight is cancelled at short notice
If you arrive at the airport and ready to board, only to be told that the flight is cancelled, you can demand an immediate full refund to enable you book another flight.
If you are in no hurry, you may request the airport provides you with accommodation et al and then put you on the next flight to your destination. airlines will normally compensate passengers for the inconvenience. Again, read the cancellation policy in fine print
Duration: If your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours
In Nigeria and a lot of other countries, if your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours, you are legally entitled to receive the same compensation as those people whose flights have been cancelled. This applied to me in Kenya
Same applies if you are flying with an EU-based airline like the British Airways. Any cancellation at short notice, passengers are compensated for the inconvenience.
Duration: If your flight is delayed for less than 3 hours
If you have to wait at the airport for about 2 hours, you should be provided with a meal at the airport. If the delay is outside the airline’s control, you should be able to claim on your travel insurance.
Missed your connecting flight
Fortunately, on my round trip to East Africa, I booked my tickets with the same airline So even though I missed the connecting flight, the airline was one and the same, hence, I was compensated (not financially though)
Unfortunately, if you book two flights on separate airlines and miss the connecting flight due to the first one being delayed or cancelled, you may not be able to get a refund for the second flight.