You likely already know that your airline’s app can notify you about delays and gate changes before they appear on the Flight Information screen at the airport. One additional feature available on many airline apps is a tracker that lets you follow the location of your plane. This way, you can predict any potential delays before they are announced.
But even if your airline doesn’t offer such a feature, there are dedicated websites and apps like Flightradar and FlightAware that track your flight’s course and previous departure times. To trace your flight’s location in real-time, you’ll need to enter the airline's name, departure date, and flight number of your flight.
On top of real-time location updates, airline apps and specialized websites like FlightStats and FlightAware also offer information about past delays. This will allow you to gauge the likelihood of your flight being delayed before booking.
Many airlines offer this information as you’re booking the flight, which will allow you to choose flights with a higher on-time percentage. An additional resource for flight delay frequency is the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics website which also offers statistics on federal flight delays.
For example, travelers across the European Union can demand compensation for any flight delayed by three or more hours. Don’t agree to accept the compensation in travel miles or airline credit either; in most cases, the company is required to issue the refund in money.
Furthermore, some credit cards or third-party travel planners that offer travel rewards also include trip delay protection. This feature often allows free rebooking for delayed flights or any expenses not issued by the airline. So make sure to read the paperwork and get back every penny you deserve.
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A few decades back, airlines were required to rebook significantly delayed or canceled flights for a passenger for free, even on a competitor airline. Unfortunately, this law, called Rule 240, was canceled in 1978. However, airlines can still help you book a ticket for any delayed flight at no added cost if you ask nicely (or you’re an elite client).
Even better - if the alternate carrier only has first-class seats available, you can still have them at no added cost. All you have to do is find a few alternate flight options online and rush to the gate agent before a crowd of people like you shows up with similar queries. A pretty neat trick, right?
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