Flight Delays and Cancellations in Australia: Top 7 Survival Tips

The past year has seen a lot of outrage towards the aviation industry within Australia and globally due to the very high rate of flight delays and cancellations and if you’ve ever been caught in the whirlwind of craziness, you know it’s no walkabout in the Outback.

Encountering flight delays or cancellations can significantly disrupt travel plans, causing inconvenience and, at times, financial loss. However, being prepared and understanding how to effectively manage these situations can alleviate some of the stress involved. In this article, we'll share our top 5 survival tips for dealing with flight delays in Australia.

Why Do Flights Get Delayed?

Before we dive into our survival tips, it's important to understand why flights get delayed in the first place. Some of the most common reasons for flight delays include:

  • Weather conditions: Severe weather, such as thunderstorms, heavy rain, or strong winds, can make it unsafe for planes to take off or land.
  • Mechanical issues: Sometimes, a plane may have a mechanical issue that needs to be addressed before it can take off.
  • Air traffic congestion: In busy airports, air traffic can cause delays as planes wait for their turn to take off or land.
  • Security issues: In rare cases, security concerns may cause a delay, such as a suspicious package or a passenger refusing to comply with security protocols.
Our Top 7 Survival Tips for Flight Delays
stay informed about flight delays

1. Stay Informed and Ask Questions

First off, keep your cool and stay informed. Airlines operating in Australia, like Qantas, Jetstar, and Virgin Australia, are pretty good at keeping passengers updated via their apps, text messages, or announcements at the airport. If you’re left scratching your head over the details, don’t hesitate to ask airline staff for information. Knowing the reason for the delay or cancellation can sometimes help with making alternative arrangements or claiming compensation later on. Thanks to technology it's never been easier to monitor your journey.

Flight delays - know your rights

2. Know Your Rights

This is a biggie. Familiarise yourself with your rights under Australian Consumer Law and the airline’s policy on delays and cancellations. The ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) has some clear guidelines, but each airline has its own policy, so give those a squiz. Being armed with this knowledge can make your conversations with airline staff more productive.

As a passenger, you have certain rights when it comes to flight delays. In Australia, airlines are required to provide compensation or assistance to passengers in the event of a delay, depending on the length of the delay and the reason for it.

For example, if your flight is delayed for more than 3 hours due to the airline's fault, you may be entitled to a meal, refreshments, and accommodation if necessary. If the delay is more than 5 hours, you may be entitled to a refund or a replacement flight.

Make sure to familiarise yourself with your rights as a passenger and don't be afraid to speak up and ask for assistance if needed.

travel insurance for flight cover

3. Purchase Travel Insurance

Beyond airline policies, consider if your situation qualifies for compensation under travel insurance policies. Many travel insurance plans offer coverage for delays, cancellations, and associated expenses. Review your policy details and contact your insurance provider promptly to file a claim if applicable. This financial protection can be invaluable, underscoring the importance of purchasing travel insurance for future trips.

use technology to your advantage

4. Use Technology to Your Advantage

While you’re waiting to chat with someone from the airline, whip out your phone or laptop and start looking at your options. Apps like Skyscanner or Google Flights can quickly show you alternative flights, while hotel booking apps can find you a place to crash if you’re facing an unexpected overnight delay. Some airlines even allow you to rebook yourself on a new flight directly through their app or website.

stay connected during flight delays

5. Stay Charged and Connected

In the digital age, keeping your devices charged is as important as staying hydrated (which you should also do, by the way). Always carry a power bank and charger with you. Not only do you need your phone for updates and rebookings, but it’s also your main source of entertainment to beat the airport boredom. Plus, staying connected means you can update family, friends, or colleagues about changes to your travel plans.

6. Travel Light

To further streamline your travel experience and mitigate the effects of delays or cancellations, consider travelling with carry-on luggage only. This approach eliminates waiting times at baggage claim areas and reduces the risk of lost luggage during tight transfers or alternative flight arrangements. Travelling light also offers greater flexibility to move across terminals or navigate public transport in case of re-routing.

travellers exploring the city

7. Consider the Opportunity for an Impromptu Adventure

While flight disruptions are undoubtedly frustrating, adopting a positive outlook can transform a challenging situation into an unexpected adventure. If stranded in a city for an extended period, explore the possibility of sightseeing or enjoying local cuisine. This mindset not only alleviates stress but can also enrich your travel experience with unplanned discoveries.

Flight disruptions are a pain, no doubt about it. However, flight delays and cancellations have become an unfortunate aspect of modern travel, being prepared and knowledgeable about your rights and options can make a significant difference. By staying informed, understanding your entitlements, checking for compensation, maintaining connectivity, and adopting a flexible attitude, you can navigate these disruptions with confidence and minimal stress.

Remember, it’s all about the journey – sometimes the detours make for the best stories. Safe travels, mates!