What to Do if Your Flight Is Delayed?


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About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.

What to do if your flight is delayed?

Air travel can be stressful. One of the biggest stressors is when your flight is delayed, or worse, canceled. Not only does it mess up your travel plans, but it can also leave you feeling helpless and unsure of what to do next. But fear not, because we have created a step by step guide on what to do if your flight is delayed.


Did you miss a connecting flight? File a compensation claim online.


King Khalid International Airport - Riyadh

1. How to Find Out if a Flight Is Delayed?

How to find out if a flight is delayed?

How to check flight status online?

To determine the likelihood of a flight delay, take proactive steps rather than relying solely on the airline for information. It is advisable to regularly check your flight’s status on your airline’s website within 24 hours prior to departure. Also check your flight’s status before you depart to the airport.

Alternatively, you can use flight tracking apps such as FlightRadar24. FlightRadar24 provides comprehensive information about a plane’s journey, including real-time position. It offers a user-friendly website and a free app. You can access detailed data such as scheduled arrivals and departures at specific airports and aircraft types. You can also view a plane’s flight records.

Additionally, if feasible, consider checking the origin of the aircraft. See if the plane is delayed on earlier flights. By following these measures, you can stay informed and prepared for any potential disruptions.

2. Your Flight Is Delayed: You Are Still at Home

What to do if your flight is delayed, but you are still at home?

You have received an email informing you of a delay or you have checked the status of your flight online. If you received an email, it will also provide information about the revised arrival time at the airport due to the delay. It’s important to note that check-in times for flights may change in the event of a delay.

If you notice that the check-in time has been modified, please adjust your arrival time at the airport accordingly.

If the check-in time remains unchanged or has not been specified, proceed with your planned arrival at the airport.

People at Bahrain Airport

3. Your Flight Is Delayed: You Are at the Airport

You are already at the airport when you find out about the delay.

What to do if your flight is delayed? Follow this step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Stay Informed

The first and most important step is to stay informed.

This means checking the departure board or asking the gate attendant for updates. If you have downloaded the airline’s app, you should also receive updates on your phone.

Knowing what is going on will help you decide what actions to take next.

Step 2: Contact the Airline

If the delay is long, it is best to contact the airline directly.

They may have more information or be able to offer you alternative options such as a different flight or accommodation if you need to stay overnight.

Step 3: Remember That You Have a Right to Care

Your flight is delayed and you are stuck at the airport.

Don’t worry! You have the right to care. This means that you are entitled to certain services for free.

If you have to wait at the airport you have a right to:

  • Free food and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time;
  • Free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary;
  • Free airport transfer to hotel and back;
  • Plus, two telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails. So you can get in touch with your family, relatives, or to inform someone about this delay and resulting changes in your travel plans.

How long does the delay should be?

A delay should be at least 3 hours long.

Do you have to do something to get it?

You don’t have to worry about arranging care from the airline. It is the airline’s responsibility to take care of you. If the airline hasn’t contacted you, reach out to their representatives. Typically, they provide food and drinks through coupons that you can redeem at the airport. In case of hotel stays or alternative flights, the airline offers these options to each passenger personally at their counter.

Step 4: Get a Free Hotel Stay if the Delay Is Long

If your flight is delayed overnight, you may get a complimentary hotel stay.

First, reach out to the airline’s representatives at the airport to inform them of your situation if no accommodation has been offered. Alternatively, you can call the airline directly.

To locate the airline’s counter within the airport, inquire at the nearest information desk regarding where to go in the event of a flight delay and where to seek assistance.

Step 5: Follow Flight Status Updates

In the event of a prolonged flight delay, it is important to stay informed about the new rescheduled departure time. Continuously monitor the updates regarding your flight’s status to ensure that you are well-informed throughout the duration of the delay.

Step 6: Arrive in Time for Your Delayed Flight

In the event of a prolonged flight delay, ensure that you remain aware of the new rescheduled departure time.

It is advisable to stay in close proximity to your gate, refraining from venturing too far. If your flight is delayed overnight, make sure you return to the airport in due time to catch your rescheduled flight. Missing it would result in the airline being unable to provide any assistance, as the responsibility cannot be attributed to them.

Step 7: Rebook Your Missed Flight

If you miss your connecting flight due to a delay, you will need to rebook your flight. This is best done as soon as possible to ensure you can reach your destination at the earliest. If the delay is due to weather or other uncontrollable events, it may be best to speak with a customer service representative in person.

Read more: Missed Connecting Flight Due to Delay 

Step 8: Claim Flight Delay Compensation

In some situations when you can get flight compensation:

  1. 3+ hour flight delay. You have arrived to your destination 3+ hours late.
  2. Last-minute flight cancellation. Your flight is cancelled less than 14 days before the day of departure.
  3. You’re denied boarding due to overbooking. The airline has sold more tickets than there are seats, and you’re denied boarding.

It must be due to fault of the airline, not something unavoidable.

If your flight is delayed for 3+ hours due to the fault of the airline, you can claim flight delay compensation.

How to claim flight delay compensation?

You can claim compensation yourself by contacting the airline.

Alternatively, you can hand over the case to flight compensation company.

Do you have more questions on what to do if your flight is delayed? Have you personally encountered a flight delay before? Share your experiences in the comments section.

About the author:

Co-founder and Editor at Connecting Flights Guide

Una is an organized globetrotter and foodie who’s been living a digital nomad lifestyle since 2013. She always starts her day early with a good book before diving into work. Apart from traveling and aviation, her other passions include gym, hiking and cycling. Una is also a strong proponent of AI technology. She firmly believes in its potential to simplify life and has often advocated for its wider adoption in our day-to-day activities. Her favorite airlines are Qatar Airways, Emirates, and KLM.

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