Air travel on its own is a hectic experience; even when everything goes according to plan. So when there is the added challenge of unexpected delays or cancellations, it starts to feel more like ‘living through hell’.
In Nigeria, airlines are quick to cancel domestic flights on the grounds of factors such as extreme weather, mechanical malfunctions and workers strike actions, and this continually throws the plans of thousands of travelers in the country into disarray.
But while there are many totally unpredictable circumstances, there a few things you can do to get your travel plans back on track.
Know your options
Unknown to so many travellers, they have a lot of rights when their flight is cancelled. Every single airline has its own policies and so, first thing to do is to find out whose fault the cancellation is – the airline or natural causes – determine your rights as a passenger, then vehemently pursue it.
Some of these rights could include compensation, auto-rescheduling, or endorsement of your ticket towards a competing airline. Go to the airline office at the airport and ask questions or use your internet for research. You can also ask around to know what others in your situation are doing. Finding out your options is good head start.
Turn on the charm
Most times, charm is the only way to get the best deal off your flight cancellation. Despite the nightmare, it is essential to remain as polite as possible when making a complaint to the relevant officials. That way you get a constructive response which will help you keep your cool and reach your destination as quickly as possible.
Keep your thoughts on the positive, and constantly remind yourself that like you, the officials are also having a bad day. Indulging your temper can set everyone off and lead to unnecessary arguments. Most people are naturally inclined to help those who make it easy by being friendly, patient and understanding.
Fight for compensation
While most Nigerian airlines are not legally required to offer accommodations and meals, especially with weather-related delays, some still do if you ask for it.
Fighting for compensation in form of meals, ground transportation and hotel accommodation can take some time and energy, but can achieved if one persists. Other possible gains could come in travel vouchers, frequent flier miles and so on. There is no harm in fighting for added ease and comfort. This compensation usually softens the blow of a delayed flight.
Re-book your flight
No doubt cancellations can keep you stressed worrying about the possibility reaching your destination on time. However, you can save yourself the headache and re-book as soon as possible.
Most airlines will automatically re-book passengers from canceled flights on the next available ones, but the dates and times may be inconvenient for you. Get on the airline’s webpage, or check to see when you have been re-booked, if it does not work for you, quickly ask for a refund (you are usually entitled to a full refund). To make things faster, you can use an agent or go to the airline’s social media account. The managers of these social media account most times respond faster than the officials at the counter.