Airplane in Logan Airport, United States

What To Do If Your Flight Gets Cancelled

Last updated: 5th July 2023

The last thing Canadians want is to show up at the airport only to find that their flight has been cancelled. While this situation can be frustrating and even anger-inducing, there are a few helpful steps you can take to make sure you get back on track as quickly as possible.

In this blog post, we’ll provide a comprehensive guide detailing how you should proceed if your flight gets cancelled and what measures need to be taken in order for you to reach your desired destination. So read on if you’re interested in learning some of the best tips and tricks for handling canceled flights!

Why your flight might be cancelled

There is a wide range of reasons why a flight may be cancelled, and understanding these factors can help you better prepare for such an eventuality.

  • One of the most common causes is adverse weather conditions, such as heavy snowfall, fog, thunderstorms, or even volcanic ash clouds, which can make it unsafe for planes to take off or land.
  • Technical issues with the aircraft, including mechanical problems or required maintenance, might also lead to cancellations.
  • Labour disputes, such as strikes by airline staff or airport personnel, can disrupt flight schedules and force cancellations.
  • Airspace restrictions, security concerns, or geopolitical events may prompt airlines to cancel flights as a precautionary measure.
  • Commercial factors, like low passenger demand or airline bankruptcy, can also play a role in flight cancellations.
Man sitting on chair with feet on luggage looking at airplane

Contact the airline

As soon as you become aware of a flight cancellation, it is crucial to contact the airline immediately to discuss your available options. Prompt communication with the airline can provide you with the opportunity to secure alternative flight arrangements or request a refund, ensuring you can reach your destination with minimal disruption.

Reaching out to the airline as soon as possible not only increases your chances of finding a satisfactory solution, but it also enables you to stay ahead of other affected passengers who may be scrambling to find alternative arrangements. This proactive approach can make all the difference in securing a suitable replacement flight, especially during peak travel seasons or under exceptional circumstances that lead to widespread cancellations. Additionally, by contacting the airline directly, you can obtain accurate and up-to-date information about your options, helping to alleviate any uncertainty or stress during this challenging situation.

Check your travel insurance coverage

Another essential step to take when your flight is cancelled is to review your travel insurance policy. Many travel insurance plans include trip delay coverage, which can help cover the cost of additional expenses incurred due to flight cancellations. These expenses may include accommodation, meals, and transportation costs, among others.

To determine whether your travel insurance policy provides trip delay coverage, carefully read the policy's terms and conditions or contact your insurance provider for clarification. Keep in mind that coverage limits and specific conditions may vary depending on your policy.

If your travel insurance does include trip delay coverage, it's important to retain all receipts for any additional expenses you incur, as well as documentation from the airline confirming the flight cancellation. This information will be necessary when submitting a claim to your insurance provider. By diligently checking your travel insurance coverage and understanding its provisions, you can potentially save yourself from significant financial loss and reduce the impact of a cancelled flight on your travel plans.

Know your rights

It is essential for Canadians to familiarise themselves with the compensation options available in the event of a cancelled flight. The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has established guidelines under the Air Passenger Protection Regulations (APPR) to ensure passengers are fairly compensated when air travel disruptions occur, including flight cancellations.

When your flight is cancelled, you may be entitled to compensation under APPR, depending on the specific circumstances surrounding the cancellation. The amount of compensation you can claim is determined by the size of the airline, the reason for the cancellation, and whether the airline has taken necessary measures to mitigate the inconvenience caused. In some cases, you may be eligible for a refund of the unused portion of your ticket, as well as a confirmed seat on the earliest available alternative flight.

To claim compensation under APPR, it is important to follow the airline's complaint procedure, which can typically be found on their website or provided upon request. Be sure to include all relevant details, such as your flight number, booking reference, and a description of the incident, when submitting your complaint. Keep in mind that the airline may require supporting documentation, such as proof of travel expenses and flight cancellation confirmation, to process your request.

Understanding your rights and the compensation options available to you as a Canadian traveller can help alleviate some of the financial burdens associated with flight cancellations. By staying informed and taking appropriate action, you can better navigate the challenges that may arise during your journey and ensure a smoother travel experience overall.

A man travelling looks at the flight departures and arrivals board

Consider alternative options

When dealing with a cancelled flight, it's worth considering alternative options to reach your destination, such as booking a new flight with a different airline. In some cases, it can be cheaper and quicker to take matters into your own hands instead of waiting for the original airline to offer a replacement flight. This approach can also provide you with more flexibility when it comes to scheduling, allowing you to choose a flight that best suits your travel needs and preferences.

Before booking a new flight with another airline, it's important to compare prices and availability across different carriers to ensure you're getting the best deal. Keep in mind that some airlines may offer last-minute discounts or promotions, which can make for a more cost-effective and efficient alternative to waiting for your original carrier to provide a solution.

Additionally, be sure to factor in any potential compensation or refunds you may be entitled to from your original airline when weighing your options. By staying proactive and exploring alternative travel arrangements, you can minimise the inconvenience caused by a cancelled flight and take control of your travel plans.

Remember to enjoy your trip

Despite the inconvenience and stress that a cancelled flight may cause, it's crucial to remember the purpose of your trip and try to maintain a positive outlook. Dwelling on the disruption can detract from the experiences you have planned, and a negative mindset can carry over into your holiday or business trip, affecting your ability to appreciate the moments and connections you make.

By focusing on the bigger picture and embracing a resilient attitude, you can overcome the initial setback of a cancelled flight and make the most of your time at your destination. Adapting to challenges and remaining open to new possibilities can even lead to unexpected adventures or memorable stories to share with friends and family.

Cultivating a positive outlook and keeping things in perspective can help you make the most of your travels, even if you encounter any disruptions along the way. This way, you can still enjoy an enriching and fulfilling experience.

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Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, having worked with some of the worlds largest insurers. Tommy’s primary focus has been developing the best possible online experience for travellers looking to compare travel insurance rates. Music and travel are two of Tommy's greatest interests, and even better when he can combine the two together!


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