If the click of the public announcement system in the boarding area is enough to make your heart skip a beat, you may be at risk of this summer’s travel epidemic: delay rage.
Did you feel it? Recently survey by TripIt of air travelers it was found that over a third (36%) had experienced a delay of an hour or more, and 10% had a flight cancelled.
Evidence of delay rage seems to be everywhere. He is a passenger combat agents, destroying ticket countersand tussling with employees. It seems that a fight could break out before every flight – and sometimes, it does.
Check out Elliott’s secret, the newsletter the travel industry doesn’t want you to read. Each issue is filled with new news, deep insights, and exclusive strategies to become a better traveler. But don’t tell anyone!
“Air travel these days can stir up a storm of emotions,” Logan Jones, a New York psychologist, said. “The frustration of a disrupted schedule, the anxiety of a missed connection, the dread of endless waits—these can combine to ignite the flames of anger in all of us.”
Fortunately, there is a solution for lag rage. You need to understand your rights as a passenger. (Your airline may claim you don’t have one, but that’s wrong.) There are a number of coping mechanisms you can use. But also, there is a bigger solution that can help tackle the toughest flight delays.
‘More people became entitled’:Enough with bad tourists ruining everyone’s experience
Nobody likes to kick seats.Do not touch the plane seat in front of you.
What are your rights as a passenger during a flight delay?
The problem: If an airline delays your domestic flight, it’s almost nothing.
There is no requirement for an airline to stick to its schedule in the US For longer delays, the airline must offer a full refund or may book you on a future flight. But if you want compensation for your delay, or if you want the airline to rebook you on another airline, you’re probably out of luck. And passengers find that infuriating.
And that brings me to the most important piece of advice for anyone trying to avoid jet lag this summer: Know before you go.
“Inform yourself about your rights as an airline passenger and review the airline’s compensation policy for canceled flights,” said Bob Bacheler, managing director of medical transport service.
One of the best resources for your rights in the event of a delay due to something under the control of the airline is the Department of Transport airline customer service panel. For flights to or from Europe, you may be entitled to additional compensation CE 261, the European airline consumer protections. I have more information about your consumer rights in my section Free guide to canceled or delayed flights.
But passengers always know their airline’s contract of carriage, the legal agreement between them and the airline. It describes, in strict legalese, what the airline will do in the event of a delay. Airlines usually distinguish between delays due to something within their control, such as a mechanical problem, and an event outside their control, such as weather.
If the delay is caused by an outside event, the airline does not need to offer you overnight accommodation, meal vouchers or transport to your hotel – and often does not.
How do you deal with delay rage?
You don’t have to be a victim of delay rage. Here’s what psychologists recommend:
- Take a deep breath. Anger and aggression are normal, said Bruce Friedman, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Tech. “So the best thing to do first is to find the other answer – rest,” he said. Do you remember what your mother told you about counting to 10? It works in this case. Take some time before you answer.
- Get real. Thomas Plante, professor of psychology at Santa Clara University, said you should take stock of the situation. “We all need to have more reasonable expectations of our flying experience,” he said. If there is a weather delay, you should probably not expect to reach a destination for a while. Changing your expectations can help.
- Put the delay in perspective. “Stop reminding ourselves that even though this is a hardship, it’s not the end of the world, and maybe it’s nobody’s fault,” said Gail Sahar, professor of psychology at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, whose area of research includes the psychology of guilt.
Most importantly, don’t bother airline employees. They are just the messenger. If you start screaming at them, you could be arrested or banned for life from flying that airline.
Skip revealing,other hacks for cheaper flights (and why to reconsider)
Leave the sweatpants at home.Why do we need a dress code for flying?
How to handle procrastination when it happens this summer
Instead of going crazy like everyone else this summer, there are steps you can take to reach your destination.
First, don’t wait for someone to solve the problem for you.
“As soon as you find out about the cancellation, go online at the customer service desk or contact them over the phone,” said Pallavi Sadekar, head of operations at VisitorGuard.com. At the same time, try to contact the airline through social media or on its app. The sooner you inform an airline that you are waiting to reach your destination, the better your chances of being rebooked on a new flight.
Also, get creative. That’s the advice of Karen Villano, a gate agent for a major airline. “Always try to go standby on another flight,” she said. (Please tip: Ask to be “protected” on an alternate flight.) “You might get away with it, especially if it’s because of the weather. Many other travelers might not get to the hub, and flights leave with empty seats.”
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you booked through an online travel agency like Expedia, call the company and ask for help. If you bought your tickets through a human travel advisor, you have an ally on your side who can help you get through the delay. And don’t leave home without travel insurance this summer. If you have cover, you can be reimbursed for your hotel and other expenses related to your delay.
Some airlines are stoppingeconomy class passengers from sitting. Well, they all should.
Airline seat selection feesshould be banned. Until then, here’s how to avoid them
What is the solution for delay rage?
You’d probably expect me to say that the cure for procrastination is being smart and polite. It helps, but it won’t fix it.
Airline passengers were quite polite, thank you very much. They gritted their teeth during the pandemic and airlines canceled flights, pocketed billions of taxpayer dollars and then tried to keep the money passengers spent on tickets. Now airlines are facing another summer filled with delays and substandard service.
The solution is to send a strong message to airlines that experience one delay after another: No more.
“Rage will only end when passengers are treated fairly,” said William McGee, senior aviation officer at the office. American Economic Freedoms Project.
He says it is time for the government to regulate customer service in a meaningful way, which could include European-style requirements to compensate passengers during delays.
It makes a valid point. Maybe you can’t even get an airline at the ticket counter. But you can at the ballot box, by voting for representatives who will ultimately be accountable to the airlines.
Christopher Elliott is an author, consumer advocate, and journalist. He established Elliott Advocacy, a non-profit organization that helps solve consumer problems. He publishes Elliott’s secrettravel newsletter, and the The Elliott Report, a customer service news site. If you need help with a consumer problem, you can find it here or email him at email@example.com.