Things that can go wrong at the airport & how to deal with it
Luggage that does not arrive at your destination
Summer is only half gone, but it feels like I'm working non-stop for months now. I always forget how tough this period is. And as if all the crowds and standard irregularities are not enough, Brussels Airport took it a step further a few day ago... All baggage carriers were broke, from the early morning deep into the afternoon. Thousands of people departed on a journey without luggage. Not so nice if you go on a city trip and your luggage only arrives on the day you leave, or even worse, if you go to a destination where the airline company only flies to once a week and you can walk around in the same shorts for a whole week.
Tip: If your baggage has not arrived, make a complaint with the baggage handler of your airline company at your destination. Make sure you have a recognizable suitcase (so quickly stick a striking sticker on that black suitcase) and provide a name tag with your telephone number and destination address on your luggage.
Tip: Always carry hand luggage in which you put the most essential items. My hand luggage standards are underwear, swimming gear, shorts and a t-shirt, so I can survive on a sunny destination for a few days.
2. Cancellation of your flight
Your luggage not getting to your destination is one thing, but if you cannot get there yourself because your flight has been canceled, it is a completely different story. Unfortunately, a flight can be canceled, due to all kinds of circumstances , of which the most common is a technical problem. But it is also possible that the flight is canceled because the cabin staff is sick, or because your flight arrives late at its destination due to a delay, which means that the airport is closed (not all airports are open 24/24). Believe me there are countless reasons why a flight is canceled, although it is really the last thing an airline wants. It costs hands full of money and the brand in question gets the worst advertising.
Tip: Has your flight been canceled? File a complaint with the airline company. You will receive a reimbursement of between 125 and 600 euros. Worth writing a letter for, I think.
In the event of cancellation, immediately call the company call center so that you can be re-booked quickly without having to spend hours at the ticketing desk for a solution. Keep an eye on your e-mails, most airlines work with an automatic re-booking tool, which means that you have your new flight details already in your mailbox a few minutes after cancellation.
Remember that the airline is obliged to provide you with a hotel room if it cannot offer a solution on the day itself. You are entitled to meal vouchers as well.
3. Overbooking of your flight
Every airline company has the right to overbook a flight. So they sell more tickets than there are seats. In most cases, this ends well and because of late comers, misconnections or any other reason which makes people miss theire flight. In these cases, you will not even notice that the flight was originally overbooked.
And then there are the situations where your flight is indeed heavily overbooked. For example due to an aircraft swap. Your flight was first performed by an A320 with 180 places, but due to a technical problem on this device, they are now flying with a A319 to your destination that only has 141 places. This means that there are 39 chairs too few (!). The airline will send text messages and emails beforehand asking if you do not want to depart on a different flight (in exchange for a compensation fee). This reimbursement can amount to 125-250-400 or 600 euros. So sometimes it's worth taking a flight later if you don't have specific plans on the day itself.
A common situation is that people miss their connection flight due to a delay on their first flight. The airline company will of course rebook you if you have purchased both flights on one ticket. If they no longer have a solution for you on the day itself, you will be re-booked on the following day and they will provide you with hotel accommodation, transportation back and forth the hotel and even meals.
Tip: book two flights on the same ticket! If you do not do this and you have a delay on your first flight, causing you to miss your connection, you will have to pay for the costs of getting to your final destination.
Of course there are also circumstances and situations where an airline company has no control over. For example a strike. Unfortunately, strikes occur regularly. It can be strikes at the airport where you leave, strikes from air traffic controllers from a country that your plane would normally fly over,…. An airline will rebook you, but will not give you additional compensation for this, given this is force majeure.
6. Weather conditions
As a ticketing agent there is nothing that I hate more than snow. Unfortunately our airport in Brussels is not equipped for winter conditions and the whole airport is in trouble as of only a few centimeters of snow fall from the sky. Two years ago it was even so bad that no air traffic was possible for three days. You can imagine what a chaos it was. Thousands of people were stuck, without clean clothes or even an opportunity to shower as all hotels were full and we could not even offer a bed. People had to sleep in the terminals and in the departure hall.
In the summer, thunderstorms are the culprit. Did you know that during a storm nobody is allowed to come on the tarmac for safety reasons? This means that the luggage handlers, caterers, pushbacks and so many others cannot perform their work during the thunderstorm. Passengers must remain on board as it is not safe to leave people in the boarding bridges during these weather conditions. After a thunderstorm, entire flights are always delayed and in the worst case canceled.
Do you have any further questions about this article? Feel free to leave a comment below.