What To Do When Your Flight Is Canceled

2 Traveling Lovers

Flights are canceled or delayed every day; it’s nothing new, it happens all the time. Just over 1% of all flights are canceled every year, so at some point, you will probably find yourself in this unfortunate situation.  Most people think it will never happen to them and are not prepared for it when it does. Here is our story of when our flight was canceled from Phoenix, Arizona to London Heathrow.  We will tell you the mistakes we made, along with what we will do differently next time to make our lives less miserable.  Here is our article “What To Do When Your Flight Is Canceled”.

As we were ready to take off to London, the engines of the plane sounded horrible. The pilot came on the loudspeaker and announced that we were going back to the gate to get things fixed. There was nothing we could do; just sit and watch movies and listen to podcasts.

The worst part? We had one kid behind us crying, kicking the seat, and one in front us, but he was only screaming. We stuck our headphones in and started watching Bohemian Rhapsody (great movie by the way).  After 3 – 4 hours of waiting, we finally got word from the pilot that the flight was canceled. This was when life got really shitty; it was one of those times when a bad situation got even worse. Below is what transpired over the next few hours, mistakes we made and things we would have done differently.

Call the Airline! Don't stand in the line for 2 hours

1. Carry On Luggage Missing From The Overhead Bin

We never in a million years thought that this could happen, but it did. How could someone take our carry on luggage??? Our mistake was being very lax when everybody was getting off the plane; we just waited and didn’t pay any attention to our bags. We were sitting at the back of the aircraft. It was really fortunate for us they didn’t take the bag with all the camera gear and computers. Be aware of where your bags are at all times even on the plane. As soon as the plane stops make sure you pay attention to where you put your luggage in the overhead compartment. If this does happen to you, as soon as you get off the plane, have the attendant in the baggage claim area make an announcement over the loudspeaker that somebody took your bag by accident. Then cross your fingers.

We went to the airline’s customer service department in the baggage claim area. This was an eye-opener for us because they wouldn’t open a claim for our lost bag because it technically wasn’t in their possession. If your bag is checked they are responsible to the point of getting your bag back to you; however, this was different because the bag was considered to be in our possession just like if someone stole your cell phone or another personal item while on the plane.

We spent the next day purchasing clothing, makeup, and bathroom stuff so we could leave the following day (it was Christie’s suitcase). We called the airline baggage claim office several times checking to see if our bag had been turned in, no luck.

Make sure you go on the airline’s website and file a lost and found report for whatever you lost. Most airlines will keep the claim open for 30 days. Because the airline wouldn’t open a claim for us, since technically the bag wasn’t in their possession we filed a lost and found report online so if they find the bag reappeared they would have a better chance of locating us.

2. Re-booking Your Canceled Flight

After a canceled flight, you will be directed to the information counter to re-book your next flight. It’s going to be a line that will take hours to get through if it’s a large plane. Our suggestion?  Call the airline right away when you get off the plane. Tell them what happened and have them get you on the next possible flight. Much quicker (have a good # for the airline saved in your phone) and a huge time saver.

 3. Baggage Claim Nightmare

While looking for our luggage, we spent some time in baggage claim looking at other passengers bags to see if they had our bag and to check if our bag might have been moved with the checked bags because of a lack of room.

We felt so bad for a lot of people. Because everybody was in line getting re-booked they weren’t in baggage claim to collect their luggage. What happened next was absolute madness. The bags started getting stuck in the roundabout squashing suitcases breaking them in half, clothes and belongings were everywhere.  Needless to say, many people were quite upset once they got to baggage claim.

4. Credit Card Reimbursement For Lost Luggage

There are credit cards that will reimburse you for lost luggage. Before you leave the airport, call your credit card company, and verify what they need in the way of documentation so you can attempt to get some sort of reimbursement.

Many credit cards have lost baggage insurance coverage so be sure to check to see if yours does. We use travel credit cards which provide this service, along with other valuable benefits for the traveler. If you would like to read about the specific cards we use and why click here.

I will warn you the credit card company will want quite a bit of documentation to consider your claim. Some of the information you need to provide are; proof you booked your flight on that specific card, copy of boarding pass, what you lost with receipts or an itemized list with an estimated value of each item, receipts from what you have to repurchase, airline open case file number for the incident, or police report. So basically a bunch of stuff that you really don’t want to have to deal when you are trying to go on vacation on top of trying to book another flight.

Conclusion

 5. Consider Leaving A Day Early.

If you are going on a cruise or need to be somewhere at an exact time, leave a day early. I know it can be difficult sometimes, but there are so many variables that can happen when flying you never know what could happen especially when flying overseas. We were two days late to our next location. This would really suck if you only have one or two weeks of vacation time.

UPDATE:

The night after our canceled flight we received a phone call saying they found our bag. Yippeee!!! We have no idea where it was, but we were able to pick it up the next day at the airport before our flight out to London. That next flight went without a hitch, and we made it to our final destination Naxos Greece after 22 hours and 3 flights.

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