How to keep your cool and save money if your flight gets canceled or delayed

Jacob Rascon Image
Thursday, May 18, 2023
How to handle delayed or canceled flights like a boss this summer
If it looks like your flight is going to get canceled or delayed, we have five expert tips on how to spare you money and anxiety.

Summer is right around the corner, which means many Americans are busy making travel plans. In fact, AAA is forecasting a record-breaking Memorial Day travel weekend.

We know that delays and cancellations are always possible. It happens to the best of us, so being prepared with the right information can give you peace of mind.

Save time and money using the following tips:

  • Always opt in to text notifications when you book a flight so that updates come directly to your cell phone. You can get the same benefit by downloading your flight carrier's app and opting in to notifications.
  • If you think your flight could be delayed, perhaps due to weather concerns, check Flight Aware's Misery Map, which shows you delays and cancellations nationwide.
  • If you get an alert that your flight is canceled or will be significantly delayed, go immediately to an airport kiosk or customer service desk. There is always limited space on other flights.
  • Customer service is sometimes faster over the phone. Try dialing the international number for your airline's customer service, which is almost always a lot less busy.
  • Be aware of the airline's cancellation policy and the general policy ahead of time. The Department of Transportation has a new dashboard that will tell you which airlines will rebook you for free, rebook you on another airline for free, or pay for hotel or food in case of delays and cancellations.

You are entitled to a refund if the airline canceled your flight or if the airline made a significant schedule change and/or significantly delays a flight and you choose not to travel, according to the Department of Transportation website.

If you haven't yet booked your flight, check out some of the following flight apps and websites to save cash:

  • Skyscanner: Tens of millions of people use Skyscanner every month. It is a travel search engine app and website that offers many filters and an easy interface.
  • Going: It's formerly known as Scott's Cheap Flights. This website will send you alerts when flights from airports you choose go on sale.
  • Google Flights: If you have googled flight options, you've used Google Flights. A simple tool, not yet an app, that will compare flights and even price trends.
  • Hopper: This app and website predicts future prices with 95% accuracy, according to the company.
  • Expedia: Did you know Expedia is also an online travel agency. Book your flight, hotel, car, cruise, anything, sometimes with steep discounts, directly with Expedia for a fee.
  • Priceline: Priceline, Booking, Kayak, and Rentalcars are all part of the same company and use the same information but have different looks.

"Online travel agencies put it together where you can actually click buttons and put packages together and book that online," Shayla Northcutt of Northcutt Travel in Houston said. "So it's a little bit different in that travel search engines tell you where the deals are and then they actually package those things together, getting all of those different components, and then booking them."