Travel Isn’t All Plane Sailing: How to Keep Yourself Protected in Booking Mishaps

At the end of March Icelandic Budget airline WoW Air dramatically crashed out of the trading market and ceased operations, in an exit so unplanned and chaotic it puts Brexit to shame.

Passengers in 13 airports across Europe and North America, including Dublin Airport, were left stranded on March 28th, after the low-cost airline unexpectedly announced on its website that it would no longer be providing the advertised flights, advising customers that alternative travel would have to be arranged.

Just over 1,000 passengers were affected by the closure, many of whom received text or email notices from WoW hours before the closure warning that their flights would be delayed, with no mention that its founder, Skuli Mogensen, was in emergency talks with rival airlines to buy the company.

WoW Air and its unprecedented closure proved that even after you’ve secured your flight ticket, things still can go wrong. While the incident was, admittedly, highly unusual, knowing how to navigate an unexpected cancellation might save you a lot of time and tears in the future. Here’s what you need to know:

Know Your Rights

According to the Consumer Association of Ireland, if your flight is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund of the plane ticket or an alternative flight to your intended destination that arrives “as close as possible” to the original departure time.

However, if the airline can prove that unavoidable “extraordinary circumstances” forced them to cancel the flight after all “reasonable measure” had been taken, you’re not entitled to a penny.

Keep every receipt

In the case of a cancelled or a long delayed flight, an airline is obliged to provide customers with, where appropriate meals, accommodation, transport, “two free telephone calls, emails or faxes.”

If an airline requires to the customer to arrange for these provisions themselves, by keeping the receipts of your purchases you give yourself a much better chance of getting refunded for your expenses.

Pay with your Credit Card

If you book your ticket using a credit card, you’ll be on a more secure footing if the airline unexpectedly goes under.

As CNN reported, credit card companies will start holding back a certain percentage of money, if given any indication that an airline is headed for financial trouble. If they do close up shop, the credit card company still has that money- which they can use to refund you.

In airline travel, it’s always best to prepare for the worst and know your rights, especially when it comes to flight cancellations, delays or general accidents whether it’s a quick trip to Edinburgh or a long-hall journey to Japan.