Travellers Advice – Cancelled Flights
CANCELLED FLIGHTS, TROPICAL STORMS & FIRST TIME TRAVELLERS
Usually these newsletters are all about golfing adventures, exotic locations, topping up travel miles with numerous airlines and making you just a little bit jealous dear reader. This month’s is just a little bit different & covers cancelled/ delayed flights, bad weather & first time long haul travellers.
“This month’s offering is about the more serious side of travellers advice – cancelled flights, being caught in a tropical storm & the problems facing first-time long-haul travellers”.
Cancelled/ delayed flights
In this age of international travel, more and more people will be faced with the nightmare scenario of a cancelled or delayed flight.
A delayed flight is bad news, especially if it jeopardises interconnecting flights. In this situation airlines are usually excellent at offering options (usually while you are flying). Sometimes interconnecting flights are held if a delayed plane has a lot of its passengers on board. Sometimes you will miss the next flight & it’s important you follow the given instructions closely as airport transfers, finding information/ ticket desks can involve lots of walking!! Reclaiming luggage/ getting through immigration obviously complicate the issue. Unfortunately there is no magic wand to waive as transfers to hotels, etc may be the inevitable outcome. I guess the best advice I’ve ever received was; “When we land you need to run amazingly quickly”!!!!
Something’s to consider are:
- Listen carefully to instructions on the plane; it can save you time & long walks!!
- Know your itinerary & read it carefully; don’t think you know it as you can easily get travel legs and times mixed up
- If you have missed your connecting flight talk politely with the airline information desk about alternative options; it’s easy to start shouting & get upset, this will not get you on another plane!!
- Finally if you have people waiting for you at your destination try and let them know.
A delayed flight is bad enough; a cancelled flight can be a nightmare. Fortunately cancelled flights are not that frequent but they can seriously disrupt your plans and ultimately spoil your holiday or business trip.
A cancelled flight can be caused by many things, such as; mechanical failure of plane, planes out of position on their schedules, etc, but for whatever the reason it is always seriously inconveniencing for you and your fellow travellers.
I have had 3 flights cancelled on me (and before you say it I am not unlucky as far as flights are concerned).
The first was to the French Alps from London Heathrow, (we wanted lots of snow, it was just brought to Heathrow for us), so no plane!!! The travel company were brilliant and after some persuading organised a coach to drive overnight to the Alps. After all these years, a belated thanks to the two coach drivers who were real stars, (both real cockneys whose only words seemed to be; ‘Corr Blimey Mate’)
The second was a flight back from Hamburg to Manchester. This was the first time it had happened to me on my own so to speak; crikey what to do? I was stood looking at the Departure Board willing the flight to turn from “Cancelled” to “Only kidding” when a fellow passenger said, ‘you are going from Hamburg to Manchester’? ‘Was’, I replied. ‘Well doesn’t worry follow me’, said my guardian angel in a business suit. Off we went to the airline desk. It was at this point I realised 2 things:
- 1. Don’t hang about at the departure gate & get straight to the airline desk, (this gets you in front of a queue that will be about as long as a plane!!
- 2. When at airline desk speak in a friendly conciliatory voice. Remember it’s not the airline staffs fault.
My guardian angel went through the options with the counter staff and quickly established that a flight to Munich and then to Manchester was our best option. We were quickly booked in and in what seemed like a few seconds were through immigration and having a long cool beer, (I got the drinks in of course as you always should do for guardian angels).
The third and most resent happened 2 days ago. I flew into Bangkok, checked into the wonderfully friendly Dusit Thani and then checked out next day for a 2 day business trip to Hong Kong. Upon arrival at the airport I was met with long queue at the departure gate and the departure boards saying nothing other than a 2pm flight. Having checked in on line and with only hand luggage I wasn’t sure about going straight through immigration? I asked an official (he had a badge), he told me to push through the crowd and ask at a particular desk. Here I was told the flight was cancelled and I could go the next day. As I was only going for 2 days the option of a next day flight, overnight accommodation, etc was not really feasible. Explaining this I was sent to the airline information desk. At this point points 1 & 2 from above were vindicated.
- 1. Only a small queue
- 2. I kept smiling at the airline staff who was trying to deal with a very irate man who wanted to be put on another plane immediately!! When they got to me (still smiling) they were relieved to deal with polite person & as helpful as they could be.
We quickly established that as it was a holiday weekend in Hong Kong all other flights were full. I therefore informed the staff I required a full refund. This was not something they could do so I have to get it back from the airline. So back in a taxi to the Dusit Thani, where very surprised staff checked me back in again!!
Now you must think, ‘Why is he telling me all this’, as a weekend in Bangkok is as good as a weekend in Hong Kong!!! You are right of course and I really shouldn’t grumble, which I am not. The point I want to make is that all my other Hong Kong arrangements, hotel booking & return flight had also gone out the window!!
When you book with Quality Golf Destinations Ltd your holiday/ travel arrangements are covered by our TTA bonding. TTA bonding like its sister ABTA covers all your costs. When you book with us your money goes into a trust account which we can’t touch until you have returned from your holiday. If you book everything separately yourself, (crikey we all think we can do it better & cheaper), remember you will have to claim all things back separately, (a long process with no guarantee of success).
Also read carefully the small print on cheap deals you may see. These usually state you have no chance of getting your money back!!!!
Finally on a light note, I write this in my hotel room waiting for a tropical storm to hit Bangkok. Nothing we can do about the weather, granted, but we can follow local advice.
I was going to go for a walk but with the high winds starting to pick up, I was advised by the door staff to beware of flying objects, such as street vendors’ apparel!!! To be hit by a flying mango off a market stall is one thing, by the whole stall is definitely another!!! So:
- Listen to local advice
- Don’t think you know best
- Don’t get into areas where you can’t get back from
Do what I’m doing and sit it out & only start to panic when the hotel runs out of beer!!
Finally, finally, whilst watching the footie in the ubiquitous Irish Bar, I got chatting to a young couple who were not only in Thailand for the first time, they were also doing their first long-haul travel adventure.
They both confessed they had booked a three week trip & were planning to do Bangkok, Phuket & Koh Samui, but with nothing booked except 3 nights in a BKK hotel. We discussed numerous options (including learning about Thai cuisine) & our manager in Thailand, Tan will no doubt sort out an itinerary to make their trip one to remember. This encounter got me thinking about planning these sorts of adventure.
- When you’ve booked your flight go on-line & book your seats so you are guaranteed to sit together
- Check out your destination, its local things to do, sights to see; If possible book things in advance, it will save time & may avoid disappointment
- If travelling around, check for travel options; don’t leave it till last minute to realise something’s are a none starter
- Check out hotel locations; to get the best out of your holiday, as they say its ‘location, location, location’
Finally whatever you are doing, enjoy your hard earned holiday.
At Quality Golf Destinations we tailor make the golf package to meet your needs, if you are interested in a Holiday Golf based or not, Contact Rachel or Rob on 01782 510800 or email