What to Do When There’s an Airline Outage

Airline outages don’t usually happen on a frequent basis, but lately there have been more and more. Southwest Airlines recently had a router fail in its data center, resulting in thousands of flights cancelled for hundreds of thousands of passengers. Delta Airlines had an outage in August, and British Airways also had an outage in September where computer glitches cancelled hundreds of flights for numerous people.

So what can you do when this happens? First of all, don’t panic, as it’s out of your control. Everything will end up being okay, so just take a big breath and try to relax. Here’s some tips to help you get through the unfortunate situation as best you can.


Check your Airline Twitter Feed

Airlines and airports often post updates on what the next step is when there are large delays/cancellations, so make sure you check them right away. Sometimes there’s even links on how travelers can resolve the flight issues.

Store Airline Numbers in Your Phone

Taking 30 seconds to put your airline’s customer service number in your phone just in case you need it is smart. If an outage does happen while you’re at the airport, you won’t be scrambling with everyone else to find the number online. You’ll most likely be one of the first people who gets through, so you’ll get the information you need quickly.

Ask to Get Put on Another Airline

Airlines typically give vouchers for several days out when your flights get cancelled, but that’s not going to work if you have a special event tomorrow that you need to be at. Locate the help desk and ask that they put you on another airline with a similar route. Unless it’s a busy time like the holidays, there’s a chance a seat might be available so you can be on your way faster.

Call Your Credit Card Company

If you purchased your tickets with your credit card, you might have trip cancellation insurance. This kind of insurance can cover thousands of dollars in costs, so it’s always good to check. It’s even smarter to call your company before disaster strikes so you’ll know this ahead of time.

File a Claim Through AirHelp

AirHelp is a service that’s made exactly for scenarios like outages. They help you receive the compensation that you’re owed after there’s a delay or cancellation. Just file the claim through them and they’ll fight for your money!

If All Else Fails, Find Somewhere to Relax

Sometimes no matter how hard we try, we can’t do anything about the outage and just have to wait. In cases like this, it’s best to accept how things are for the moment and find somewhere to relax. You can use an app like flightSpeak to find where the nearest massage parlor, coffee shop, or restaurant is to spend the added time comfortably.

Use your down time to do something relaxing, like talking to a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in awhile. There’s also no better time to watch those funny cat videos on YouTube that you’ve been meaning to see!

Remember how you always say you don’t have time to read? Well, now’s the time! Pick up a book from one of the stores and get lost in the story. You might find you end up actually enjoying your down time by doing activities that have been on your list for awhile!


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