What to do when travel goes sideways

What to do when travel goes sideways

Travel is a privilege and a favorite hobby for many people, but it rarely goes perfectly smoothly.

Travel is a privilege and a favorite hobby for many people, but it rarely goes perfectly smoothly.

Jen Maki of Divine Destinations is not expecting a very smooth summer.

“In this industry, nothing ever seems to have smooth sailing. No pun intended,” she said. “But there are rumors of strikes that are coming within the airlines this summer. And unfortunately, it’s looking to be over the Fourth of July weekend.”

In the Midwest, more people drive than fly. But with pilot shortages, crews can only work so much.

“If you don’t have crew that can fly safely, then you’re not going anywhere. And that is a problem. There is something that’s called Crew Timeout. And it is basically a labor law that is set up to have the employees of the airlines not be overworked,” Maki said. “And unfortunately when the crew times out, you’re not going anywhere.”

If you are notified that your flight has been delayed, Maki said to do your best to relax.

“The airlines are very good. It is legally their job, it’s their responsibility to make sure that you’re able to get to your final destination. And if their delays are causing you to miss connect, that is up to them to try to get you on a different flight,” she said.

Maki suggests booking nonstop flights if possible. Cancellations, on the other hand, are definitely a bummer.

“It’s probably not all lost because No. 1, if it’s canceled, again, they’re going to rebook you on the next available flight,” Maki said. “But you also then have a right to just say, ‘Forget about it. Just give me a refund.'”

There is a “short list” of reasons that an airline may owe travelers compensation for canceled or delayed flights. Weather is not one of them.

“If it is the airline’s fault in any way, shape, or form, such as crew timing out, not showing up for work, or even mechanical issues, then yes, that is on the airline to compensate you. And I’ve seen it come in forms of giving you vouchers to spend for food at the airport. I’ve seen it come in vouchers for a free hotel stay,” she said. “But remember at the end of the day, they really don’t have to give you anything other than make sure that you do get to your final destination as you originally booked.”