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Your flight is cancelled: What do you do?

Whether you are a frequent traveller on business or an occasional traveller on vacation, a flight cancellation should not come as a surprise.

Oftentimes, Singapore and other areas in the South Eastern Asia region may experience bad weather. There could be other reasons for cancellations but either way, one will have to work around that reality.

Cases of cancelling of flights get a little more ‘difficult’ to deal with when you are anticipating an international connecting flight. This is because you will have much more to deal with in terms of customer care and guidelines.

It is even worse when the two airlines do not have a working plan to sought out such developments. This implies that you might miss your international connecting flight.

However, in all the murkiness and high-pressure moments of dealing with the situation, there are general hacks that are helpful.

Step 1: Approach Your Airline’s Information Desk

Like in any other emergency situation, approaching the information desk is the most natural thing to do. Here, you will be able to get important information regarding how the airline deals with such cases.

In particular, checking in at the information desk will supply you with important details of changes that are happening. This will also help you find out when your next flight is, if any, and at what extra cost.

After consulting the information desk, you will be in a position to deal with eventualities arising from the connecting flight. Normally, your airline might compensate you for the first flight but not the connecting one.

Usually, there are other cases where passengers book flights through travel agents. If you booked yours through a travel agent, the first step will be to contact the agent. In that case, your agent will be able to sought out your new travel arrangements.

Step 2: Book An Alternative Flight

Assuming that you booked your flight without consulting a travel agent, you will need to book an alternative flight. This is especially important in the case that your airline does not extend such courtesy.

Booking an alternative flight might save you the trouble you might experience with the connecting flight. Interestingly, an airline like Singapore Airlines has codesharing agreements. In this case, if your airline codeshares with the airline of the connecting flight you will be safe. Otherwise, you will need a bit of luck in catching your next flight.

After having booked another flight, you can now pursue compensation claims with the airline. Normally, every airline has its own compensation scheme. While some airlines might offer full refund, others might offer to rebook flights. On the other hand, some airlines offer vouchers where one can redeem in a given period.

Importantly, you will need to act very fast in this case. However, some connecting airlines have elaborate procedures in place to lodge a complaint regarding a cancelled first flight. Like earlier mentioned, this will also depend on whether the airline has codesharing agreements with the first airline.

Step 3: What if you need to stay the night?

In many cases, airlines have comprehensive procedures in place to take care of such situations. For instance, Singapore Airlines covers reasonable accommodation costs. Fortunately, it will cover airport transfers and meals.

If the reason for delay is unavoidable, you might need to plan for your own accommodation. However, if you booked your flight via a travel agent, such moments are stress free. This is because the agent will take care of accommodation and any other needs.

Interestingly, many passengers avoid such hassle by booking direct flights.

*The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only and not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified adviser.

Angie Quek

Financial Advisor

Angie Quek has been in Pana Harrison since 2008 and specialised in Life Insurance, Investment schemes, Estate Planning and General Insurance.