Holiday Flight Delays, the Pain and How to Deal with It


I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend. I know I enjoyed my Christmas spending time with my family down in North Carolina. I flew down the 22nd and my scheduled flight back to Jersey is the 27th. This Christmas it decided to be a White Christmas in both Charlotte and New Jersey.

I was ready and all packed to head to the airport when I received an email notification saying flight my flight is cancelled. I check my flight status app on my iphone and it verified it is cancelled. The airport I am landing in is closed! This sucks. I then called to re verify and to see if I can get my flight scheduled to the next available flight.

… the earliest is the 31st at 6am!

Any flight delays or cancellations are a pain in itself. It aggravates yous and throws your mood off. I know it did for me, but luckily I wasn’t at the airport when this happened. Orbitz notifications prompted me and I avoided any issues at the airport.

So how did I really deal with this situation? Simple I acted calm and basically called Orbitz to help me with my situation. I was calm about the flight cancellation as it was not their fault. They can not control the weather or the 3 feet of snow New Jersey received. So there is really no side to blame.

I acted calm and just asked about my flight and to see if there was a way I can get an earlier flight out of Charlotte, NC. Orbitz took the initiative to call continental and see if there were any flights available. Again, the earliest was the 31st. The lady on the phone was super helpful and she explained due to the airport closing, this is the earliest available flight.

She also told me to call to see if any one has cancelled as some flights may open due to consistent changes especially with the expected delays and cancellations. I decided to accept the new flight change and I will also be contacting Orbitz later and tomorrow to see if there are any available earlier seats.

So how do I deal with these rapid changes and not frustrate myself even more? Simple, I stay calm. Everyone hates being delayed especially if you are on time and prominent about your schedule. I personally don’t like meeting with people who are late, it puts a bad impression on that specific person. So when I feel I am on a single track and I get shifted off for no apparent reason, I become frustrated.

One, I stay calm throughout the whole change of cancellations and delays. I do not let that take me over and change my mood. The weather is the weather, we have no control over what is falling from the sky. Here are some things to note when I am on the road and my flights are delayed/cancelled.

  1. Get Flight Status Apps such as Kayak Flight – enter your flight info and it will provide you with the status of your flight.
  2. Get eMail notifications 3 hours prior to your flight, this is an option with Orbitz.

If your flight is delayed/cancelled:

  1. Stay Calm and Don’t Blame Anyone
  2. Figure out what is the best option base on your situation. Are you are the airport or about to leave to the airport.
  3. Treat the person you are talking to with respect
  4. If on the phone don’t act tough because you are not having a physical face to face conversation
  5. Remember the agent you are currently speaking to is the only person who can help you with your situation right now.
  6. See if you can get a flight to any other closer airports

These are just some tips I came up with when having a conversation with an Orbitz agent. When I tried calling Continental direct, their lines were either busy or had a default voice message stating they have high call volume. No answer from a person. The interesting part is when Orbitz called directly to Continental they got through. I think they may have a direct line to another support team. Anyways, I am glad they called on my behalf and tried to find a resolution for me.

The holidays is a great time to spend with family but when you have unexpected delays such as flight cancellations and delays, it can get aggravating. The goal is to stay calm and work with the person you are working with. There is no point in trying to get what you want since the situation is out of your control. Asking the right questions is the only way to get your issue resolved in a timely respectable manner.

For me I am still in Charlotte writing this blog post, eagerly waiting to head back home to Jersey.

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  • Dustin

    Just a suggestion, although it may not be a viable option… why not skip the airline and catch the Amtrak. Might be a little bit of a longer ride (13 hours from Charlotte to Newark), may be a little bit cheaper, but the next avalable train is tomorrow morning, December 29, 2010 at 7:30am

    Again, just a recommendation.

  • I really dodged a bullet. Was delayed in Charlotte about 45 minutes yesterday dude to a mechanical problem. Still made it home on time though. Hope you get back to Jersey soon man!

    We’ll rock it out next week!

  • Ian

    you know it! I hope to get to Jersey too!

  • Ian

    amtrak are just opening in my area right now. so not sure if that is viable.

  • Dustin

    Got ya, either way, have a safe trip back to Jersey. Shit is ridiculous up this way in terms of snow. I think they said some of Jersey was seeing 32 inches. Again, that’s just what I’ve been reading. DE is seeing about 8″-20″ left from the storm. At least we warming up to the 50’s this weekend, thank God.

  • I’m stuck in Albany right now. They’re actually gonna route me through Charlotte, NC tonight and then on to seattle in the morning. I was supposed to leave yesterday afternoon. jeeeez.

    Oh well, I’m getting some work done in the airport and sucking down starbucks…

  • First, let me say that I’m sorry to hear about your situation.

    Next, I’d like to say that there are a lot of worse places to be stuck. Charlotte, is a nice little airport, the people of Charlotte are some of the nicest around. (True southern hospitality going on there), and the city of Charlotte has lots of things to do. I hope that you’ve taken advantage of that.

    In any event, hope you get home safe and sound.

    Happy New Year!

  • Nicholas Chase


    Great ideas presented here. I was working on a large scale project for Verizon in December 2006 in Virginia, and the Blizzard of 2006 hit big-time. I managed to get to Dulles Airport using my rental 4WD, but had to change planes in Chicago. There was 12-feet of snow adjacent to the freshly-plowed runways, and you could not see the Chicago Terminal from the plane, snow covered everything but the runways and gate-ramps!

    Needless to say, everyone remained calm as it was the holidays, and we were grateful for getting any flight at any time to get home to California to our families. Thanks for sharing your experience and your wisdom in how you responded to the issues, with CALM!

  • Kudos to all you holiday travelers. I stay put on Maui over the holidays for that exact reason! The weather at this time of year is unpredictable and everybody seems to want to be trying to get someplace where they aren’t right now 🙂

    I guess the fact that my children are grown and family is sparse that I don’t feel the need to get out into that mad rush!

    Staying patient and friendly sounds like the best way to handle it…

    Great job Ian and hope you get home safely and soon!

  • Still made it home on time though. Hope you get back to Jersey soon man!it cool…

  • Same here Due to Fog Log delays in flights by the way “HAPPY NEW YEAR”

  • First, I completely understand what a nightmare airports in NJ and the NYC area can become during a snow storm. I used to live in the area and things just simply turn into a big mess. So I moved back to Lake effect snow country because well…we never close anything for snow.

    The only point that I disagree with is #5. The person on the other end of the line is not the only person who can help with a situation. There have been too many times where I have called customer service and been stuck speaking to someone who either was completely fresh out of training and knew very little, or hated their job so much that they just flat out refused to help. A person should always feel like they can receive further assistance if they need it. In this case however, you are correct in the fact that there is not much that could have been done, so there was no point in getting upset.

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  • Anonymous

    I hope your had a safe trip home eventually.

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