What You Should Do If Your Holiday Flight Is Delayed

flight delay
Image: Pixabay

I just phoned the airline girl
And said, “Get me on flight number 505”–The Rolling Stones, “Flight 505” (1966)

Keep calm, and follow these steps.  

You spent months planning.  You followed all the TSA rules on holiday gifts, you arrive early—only to discover your holiday flight is significantly delayed.

Even perfect plans can still go awry.  Nevertheless, knowing how to cope can make your holidays happy in the end.

Choose Wisely

Check out the stats on your airline options with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.  Check to see which one has the best record for on-time departures.

Consider Timing

Early morning flights or those after 11 p.m. up the odds of on-time departures. Nevertheless, always give yourself time for traffic and security.

Track Your Flight

Download your chosen airline’s app for official updates.  Back it up with other apps such as FlightAware, Flightboard,  GateGuru, and Flight+ which provides automatic alerts of flight delays, gate changes, and even weather updates.  The app also features live flight boards for literally thousands of routes.


If your flight is significantly delayed or even canceled, get moving again by calling your airline prior to/right as you take your place in line for a ticket agent at your airport. While others wait to speak to someone, you could book a new flight and go right to your gate.  Before speaking to anyone or contacting your airline, check out websites like which permits passengers to locate alternative flights.

Be Nice

No one you will speak to caused your delay.  If you’re nice though people may go beyond their minimum job duties to help you work around the delay.  


If you’ve exhausted all your options, relax as best you can.  Get the app LoungeBuddy.  With it, you can locate “pay-as-you-go” or even free airport lounges where you can use your time to eat something, check emails, or even grab a shower.


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