FAA Furloughs at an end

For travelers who were excited to find last minute cheap airline tickets, the headaches and delays caused by the air traffic controller furloughs ruined what would otherwise be a wonderful vacation.  The furloughs were a consequence of government budget cuts that took effect in March and affected roughly 15,000 air traffic controllers.

Budget travel and discount flights are often found close to the time of travel; however, they often create a tight timeline for travelers because the best deals are often offered at the last minute.  Therefore, if you are traveling under a tight deadline air flight delays can completely ruin your entire trip. This happened to many travelers in the past few weeks who felt the repercussions from the forced furloughs.  Thousands of flights have been delayed or canceled due to the forced furlough.

Fortunately for travelers, Congress has passed measures designed to get air traffic controllers back to work.  Even though a typo held the bill temporarily (an “s” was left off the end of a word), the FAA said that has already suspended furloughs and the system should resume normal operations. While this may take care of delays related to the cutbacks for air traffic controllers, what can travelers do when faced with flight delays?

There is no point in getting angry when your flight is delayed because that will accomplish anything productive – it will only raise your blood pressure and make ticket counter personnel less compelled to help you as much as they can.  Ask if you can be rebooked on another flight that is leaving soon or if the airline can give you credits and meal vouchers. Being nice will often get you much more than yelling about how much you are losing on this vacation because of a flight delay.  In some instances, the ticket agent can “protect” you on another backup flight if the delay may cause you to miss your connection. This will not cancel your connecting flight but will give you a backup in case you miss the flight.  You should also ask for compensation, often in the form of vouchers, if your flight is delayed for an unreasonable period of time.  Many airlines offer this; however, you must ask for it in order to receive compensation.

Since there is nothing you can do, learn to multitask while waiting in line for rebooking.  Call the airline’s toll free number to see if an agent may be able to assist you faster by telephone and call your hotel to let the staff know that you will be arriving late and request a late check-in so that your room is not resold.

The bottom line is that you should plan for flight delays and expect them.  If you do, then you will not be as stressed when the delays are announced.

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