‘HOLIDAYS are coming’ which will see Geordies amongst the millions of Brits heading to airports to make the journey home for Christmas, or jet off to warmer climes to spend it abroad.
Although flight delays are out of passengers’ control, there are steps people can take to help avoid getting caught up in the travel chaos, and the experts at airFair, the UK’s first flight delay compensation app, have shared their top tips.
It may be known as the most wonderful time of the year but not for some passengers, as December is the third worst month for flight delays, as outlined in recent data from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Paired with this, increased pressure on the system is likely to come as a result of a spike in the popularity of Christmas getaways outside of the UK, with Brits set to spend on average £457 on these this year, according to new research from American Express*.
The research also reveals £88 on average will be invested in travel costs to head home for the festivities or visit relatives*, including flights.
airFair’s top tips for Christmas travel…
- Avoid the busiest day
Most Brits will break from work for the holidays on Friday 22 December and waste no time in catching a flight home or abroad. More flights plus more passengers can contribute to a rise in the likelihood of a delay, so try to travel either side of this date if possible – flight prices may even be cheaper.
- Ship Christmas gifts in advance
Order Christmas gifts online and arrange for them to be delivered to your end destination. Most websites have a handy gift wrap option, but make sure to give the recipient the heads up so they don’t open it early. Not only will it free up luggage space, you’ll have peace of mind that gifts will be with family and friends in time for Christmas, even if your travel is delayed.
- Check your flight before heading to the airport
It may seem obvious, but many people don’t check the status of their flight before making the journey to the airport. Flights can be tracked on all airport websites, with a list of upcoming arrivals and departures usually found on the homepage. By doing this, you can identify a delay or cancellation in advance, rather than finding out the bad news at the check in desk.
- Be prepared
Should you find yourself held up at the airport, don’t get caught out by having nothing in your hand luggage to keep you entertained. Pack a charger for your smart phone or tablet, a lightweight book and cash to pick up some snacks to keep you going. If you’re travelling with children, don’t forget to include some of their favourite toys or activities such as colouring in books.
- Stay up-to-date on social media
Follow the airline and airport on Facebook and Twitter to get first-hand information quickly, should your flight be delayed or cancelled. Social platforms also open up a direct way to contact the operators with any questions or queries to get a real-time response.
- Know your rights
If you are delayed for more than three hours at an airport which resides in the European Union or en-route to an EU member state, you could be eligible for compensation. A compensation claim can be launched from as early as the departure lounge by using the airFair App. All passengers need is their booking reference or flight number.
Will Smith, head of airFair, said: “December is an incredibly busy time for airports and airlines, which can see an uplift in delays. In January this year, we saw a 110% increase in traffic to the airFair website from people seeking compensation due to flight delays over Christmas and New Year.
“We’re keen to help passengers prepare for the busy Christmas travel period, and think it’s important that they know the steps to take to claim back compensation that is rightfully theirs if they do find themselves held up in the airport.”
The airFair App can be downloaded for free on iOS and Android. Claims can also be launched by visiting www.airfair.com.