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If your flight is delayed, should you still go to the airport on time?

While flight delays may seem like a common thing, especially if you are a regular traveller, they don't really significantly affect our travel plans. Airlines usually have a backup plan for known delays.

Typically, they can schedule flights, rebook on partner airlines, offer refunds or vouchers, and even provide accommodation. They also inform you in advance about the delay.

Unexpected delays happen suddenly and without prior notice. Still, it is a good idea to check with the airline before leaving for the airport, to get the latest information on your flight status.

Image: A photo of a man sitting on a gang chair with his feet on luggage, looking at an aeroplane, while waiting and observing the airport environment.

What Causes Flight Delays?

Flight delays can be caused by a variety of factors including;

  • Bad weather such as heavy rain, snow, fog, or storms, which can make it unsafe to fly.
  • Technical issues.
  • Air traffic control may delay flights to ensure safety and manage air traffic efficiently, especially during busy travel times or in congested airspace.
  • Airport congestion due to the high number of flights arriving and departing.
  • Security issues.
  • Operational issues such as late arrival of the aircraft from a previous flight or issues with baggage handling.

Should you Still go to the Airport on Time?

It may be tempting to arrive at the airport late once you are informed of the delay. However, the simple answer is yes, you should still go to the airport on time This is for a variety of reasons;

Flight Schedules Can Change Again

Delays can sometimes be shorter than initially expected. Airlines work hard to resolve issues as quickly as possible, whether it is a mechanical problem, weather improvement, or an operational issue.

If the problem is fixed sooner than anticipated, the airline may move your flight up to an earlier time. Being at the airport ensures you won't miss any updates or changes, and you can board your flight as soon as it's ready to depart.

Check-In and Security Requirements

Many airports and airlines have strict check-in and security protocols that must be followed, regardless of flight delays. Others simply allow passengers to check in even if there is a flight delay.

Not to mention how long and unpredictable security lines can be, especially during peak travel times. Arriving on time ensures you can complete these processes faster and easier, without long security waits.

Easier Rebooking Options

If your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled, being at the airport gives you a better chance of rebooking. Airline staff can assist you more effectively in person. They can help you find the next available flight, sometimes even booking you on a different airline if necessary.

Being on-site allows you to act quickly and secure a new flight before others in the same situation.

Baggage Handling

Your baggage needs to be processed, tagged, and loaded onto the aircraft. Arriving late can complicate this process, and lead to potential issues like lost luggage or further delays.

Getting to the airport on time ensures your baggage is properly handled, reducing the risk of any additional complications during your travel.

Customer Service Assistance

Being at the airport gives you direct access to airline customer service representatives. They can provide real-time updates on your flight status, assist with rebooking, and offer solutions that might not be available online or through call centres.

Face-to-face interactions often result in better and quicker resolutions to any issues that arise from your flight delay.

Avoiding Additional Stress

Overall, arriving at the airport on time, despite the delay, helps you avoid the added stress of rushing last minute. It gives you peace of mind knowing you are prepared and ready for any changes that may arise at any time.

You won’t have to worry about anything, such as missing any updates or opportunities to rebook, which allows you to manage your travel plans calmly and in an organized manner.

Image: Passengers in an airport checking in and waiting to board their flight

Additional Tips for When Your Flight is Delayed

  • Use airline apps, websites, or airport information screens for real-time updates to stay informed.
  • Be prepared for changes in your travel plans and have a backup plan.
  • Stay connected with family or friends to update them on your status and any changes.
  • Take advantage of airport amenities like lounges, Wi-Fi, and charging stations.
  • Bring snacks, entertainment, and chargers to keep yourself comfortable and pass time during the delay.
  • Approach airline staff for assistance on your next steps or to explore alternative options.
  • Stay calm and patient. Maintaining a positive attitude can help you manage the situation better.
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