With the East Coast on standby for Hurricane Earl, now seems like a good time to take a look at what to do if your travel plans are interrupted.
Get your insurance up to scratch: It’s always recommended that you take out travel insurance before you go anywhere – this should cover you if your plans get messed up. At the very least, pay for flights, hotels and packages with your credit card, rather than a debit card – in the worst case scenario, if something goes wrong and your plans are cancelled, you can often recoup the loss from the card company.
Ensure your contact details are up to date: You don’t just have to come to the airport to get information about your flight anymore. Make sure at the time of booking that the airline has your email address, phone and cell phone numbers. That way they can contact you with an email or a text to let you know if your flight time changes. The same goes for hotels
Pack essentials in your hand luggage: If you’re going to be stuck at the airport a while, or even overnight, make sure you have all you need to hand. Pack any relevant chargers (phone, iPod, laptop) in your hand luggage as well as a sweater and some reading material to while away the time. If you have contact lenses, make sure you have your glasses or a change of lenses to hand.
If you need an emergency hotel, call them, don’t book online: Call hotels direct, and ask whether they can offer you a good deal – hotels love last minute bookings and will try and get you to stay with them. Last Christmas period, The Buckingham Hotel in New York even pledged to pay the taxi fare from JFK to any passengers who booked an overnight stay there due to a flight delay. You may not be able to swing that level of service, but try a discounted room or an upgrade.
Check out alternative routes: Airlines will often reroute you to get you to where you need to be, but before you agree to it, make sure you don’t end up somewhere that could see you delayed even more. I’ve had friends diverted to both Atlanta and Chicago before, in an attempt to beat the weather – then neither made it to their destinations on time because the weather at the rerouted airport was just as bad.