So Our Flight Got Delayed, Then Cancelled (Five Tips!)

It’s late morning and we just took off from Toronto Airport, nearly 24 hours later then planned. Our flight to Costa Rica with Avianca was delayed, and eventually cancelled. We spent 10 hours in the airport and approximately 12 hours in a hotel waiting for our new flight. Up till now we have never even experienced a major flight delay, we’ve been lucky. It does happen and now it’s our turn.


Dealing with a flight delay or cancellation boils down to essentially two choices…get angry, stressed out, argumentative with the flight staff while attempting to explain why your plans are more important than the other 100 people on your flight and demand special treatment OR take some deep breaths, realize its beyond your control and go with the flow. Sure, this doesn’t mean be a push over and accept nothing for your troubles. Just don’t be an asshole. If the flight’s delayed, wait it out. Maybe you will get a few dollars off some terminal food, or even access to an executive lounge. If it’s delayed more than 8 hours, it could end up cancelling, like in our case. If it’s cancelled you should expect to be accommodated further. A hotel, a meal and shuttle to and from airport are reasonable expectations.

Thus far we have received a nice hotel room, $50 food voucher at the hotel, shuttle to and from, $150 each off our next flight and as an added bonus they just upgraded us to first class. Not bad! Since we faired out OK we thought we would post some helpful tips…

#1 Don’t be an asshole

We had a few reasons to be upset, we paid for a hotel at our destination that we weren’t going to make on time, we will also miss our car rental, we had some family members on a flight ahead of us with not much travel experience. It sucks. Another fellow missed an important business meeting. A solo mother was dealing with her 3 year old melting down. But at the end of the day most flights are cancelled for safety reasons and we shouldn’t expect any different. There are strict guidelines that airlines need to follow, thank god. The job of airport staff is not easy. In our case the same three Avianca staff that checked our baggage, also met us at the boarding gate, and were the only “on-site” staff dealing with the whole delay. Some travellers were demanding there luggage back immediately, the Avianca staff member was politely explaining they could get it back but it would be a few hours as he would have to personally find it for them once he accommodates the other travellers at the hotel. We chose to go with the flow, we levelled with the staff, showed some understanding and that’s why we are currently writing this blog from the comfort of first class. Ya get more flies with honey than vinegar.


Finally on our flight, first class!


First class meal! Good Karma


#2 Be mindful of your connecting flight

Remind the flight staff of your connection and inquire about the potential wait at your next stop. The accommodations may be better or worse depending on your layover. A traveler on our plane opted to stay longer in Toronto rather then San Salvador which is probably a wise choice. Your airline should know this but things can get overlooked in the process. When asking staff about tip #2 refer to tip #1.

#3 Take what you can get

Any decent airline will accommodate you in the case of a cancellation. Accept the flight change, the hotel, the meal or whatever they offer, but don’t expect the world. If you feel its truly not enough then be kind and assertive and ask for what you think is reasonable. Bottom line, you’re not getting to your destination when you thought you would, let it go. Leave the extra perks to the families, elderly, disabled, if you don’t fit that bill don’t expect the same. Sure you could fight for another $50 credit or nicer room but assess the situation, if you don’t need it, is it worth arguing over? Call the airline hotline if the on-site staff cant provide enough for you. Heck, call it if they did provide enough, thank them and mention the name of the staff who kept their cool while other travellers broke tip #1.

#4 Stay ahead of the game

If the staff give you word that you will be staying at _____ hotel or your flight will now be at _____ terminal, be the first one there. That next stop whether its a shuttle, hotel or boarding area is gonna have a hundred peeps rolling in and waiting for the same thing as you. When we heard the hotel name they were putting us up in we left, started heading to the pick up area and took the shuttle to the hotel ahead of the rest of the gang. We were sipping a drink and waiting on our meal while the other travellers were still in line to check in.

#5 Have a drink

If that’s your thing. We can’t promise this idea will work out the same as it did for us but it’s a worthy tip none the less. Airport drinks are $10 on average. Most boarding terminals have a duty free. We found a carton of wine for $10 at the duty free. We cracked into it and had a couple glasses worth at the terminal, on the shuttle and back at the hotel. You might have to break a few rules for this illicit drink but hey, its been a long day, you deserve it.


Pouring duty free wine into clear water bottle… discreet?

We think thats it. You could probably refine this whole post down to go with the flow and don’t be an asshole. Keep that in mind and things will work out. Thank your airport staff, it’s not easy job.

Special shout out to Avianca staff, you were great!

Layin’ Over in London Town


Last night we took a red eye flight from Pearson International in Toronto to Heathrow International in London. Our plane left at 10pm Ontario time, it was about 6 hours long (for some reason I thought it would take way longer to fly across the Atlantic Ocean) and arrived in London at 9:30am, London time. Which works out to 4:30am Ontario time.

We are flying with Finnair (British Airways) this time. We’ve only ever flown coach, because let’s get real, who the hell has that kind of money for first class tickets. But let me tell ya, if we had a couple extra grand to blow on plane tickets, we would be first-classin’ it up. It is ballin’ in there. You basically have your own private hotel room on the plane. Coach ain’t that special. But we were pleasantly surprised to find in-seat entertainment, they give you blankets and headphones and all that fancy stuff. And they feed you. And the booze is free.


Anyway, 9:30 this morning rolled around, and we got off the plane groggy, confused, lost and excited. The airport is about an hour ride on the tube (subway) from downtown London, and being that we only have about eight hours total here, we decided to play it safe and skip the sights. A fella we talked to said the only other proper thing to do on a short layover is to hit a pub and sample the local fare. So like the respectable Canadians we are, that’s what we decided to do. He recommended a place called The Pheasant, which was a short (free) bus ride and walk from the airport.



Now neither one of us are opposed to breakfast beers, but still having our internal clocks set on Ontario time, and indulging in a meal of fish and chips and chicken and mushroom pie for breakfast, was pretty heavy. But it was so delicious. Ordering was confusing, as etiquette in English pubs is  different from the practices that we are accustomed to. The server doesn’t come to the table, you go to the bar to order your drinks, and if you want food, you go to the bar to order that as well. Once we got that figured out, we were good to go.



The surrounding neighbourhood is interesting. A combo of newer and kinda haggard row houses, some with either a Range Rover in the driveway or an old worn-out mattress. It’s strange.


Now we are back in the airport, where Jeffrey is rocking a nap looking sweet with his eyeshades on.

Jeffsleeping.jpgAnd that’s about it for the London layover. If you find yourself in Heathrow Airport with a short layover and nothing to do, check out The Pheasant!