Conquer Airport Stress & Delayed or Cancelled Flights with these Top Travel Tips from AirHelp

The portal to tropical beaches and the gateway to aprés-ski; an airport is our physical exit from the mundane routines we seek to escape. Airports provide us with the opportunity to explore new places and have life-changing experiences. Yet, many of us simply dread them. Understandably so, there’s simply no denying them as a stress-inducing, chaotic place. In fact, once you step foot into an airport, there’s a lot that can go wrong. It’s the land of uncertainty, with unpredictable queues, unwelcome inspections, and of course, unprecedented delays. All of these stressful factors circulate before even reaching your gate, which in an unfortunate, but certainly not far-fetched situation, could read the word cancelled across the screen.

Here at YCB, we understand if you find the whole process a little bit nail-biting. However, if we want to travel to gorgeous, far-away destinations, getting through the airport is all part of the process. So, with the guidance of AirHelp, we’ve gathered some advice so you can conquer the stress and switch into holiday-mode as soon as possible. 

Let’s begin with the most cortisol-spiking aspect of the airport- the race against the clock. With multiple hurdles to jump that can potentially snatch precious time from you, it seems that you can never arrive early enough. To begin, there is the silent tension of a particularly lengthy queue. Whether it’s at bag check-in or security, it’s safe to say, we’ve all experienced this scenario, desperately glancing at our watch and hoping against hope to make the flight.

There is also the boarding information- endless lists of flight and gate numbers, listed precariously close to each other as if to test your eyesight. These lists were not designed to be read at a hasty glance. In fact, should you not spend at least a full minute scrutinising the details, you may breathlessly arrive at a gate that’s boarding passengers to Dublin when you’re headed for Dubai. Depending on the airport, this small yet mighty error can be detrimental to making your fight on time. 

Unfortunately, should you miss your flight, these obstacles are not a valid excuse to apply for a flight refund. However, what about when matters are truly out of your hands, such as an airline delay causing you to miss a connecting flight? According to AirHelp, in this case, if your connecting flights were part of the same booking, your airline should arrange a new flight for you and generally, you can get a partial refund for the flight not taken. Plus, if you are flying in or out of the UK or Europe, you may be entitled to additional compensation! 

So when are you eligible for a refund on your flight…?

Let’s discuss the worst-case scenario- your flight has been cancelled.

According to AirHelp, a cancellation refund is just one of the options available to you in the event that your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before your departure. According to “UK 261”, all cancelled flights are entitled to either a full or partial refund of your ticket, with a return flight to your original departure point if needed. Here you are eligible for the earliest possible alternative transport to your final destination or a new ticket to your final destination at a later date of your choosing.

Alternatively, airlines can also offer compensation by means of travel vouchers or other services, but only by a signed agreement of the passenger. If you want to receive your refund in cash, always check what documents you are signing before accepting any vouchers.

You can get a refund if you have a connecting flight where you catch the first leg of the flight, but when you land you learn the second leg is cancelled.

If the airline can’t offer you an alternative that gets you to your original destination within a reasonable timeframe, you are within your rights to demand a full refund of the flight ticket. So you get refunded for the used portion of your ticket, as well as the part of the ticket you didn’t use. If needed, the airline must also provide you with a return flight to the first point of departure at the earliest possible opportunity. 

Next, we have the dreaded delays. You are entitled to a flight refund if: Your flight was delayed by more than 5 hours, and you no longer want to take the flight. Your flight was cancelled less than 14 days before departure, and the alternative flight offered doesn’t serve your original travel plans. Or if you have been denied boarding but don’t want to take the alternative flight offered. 

According to UK air passenger rights laws (and the EU Regulation EC 261), you have the right to a flight cancellation refund if your flight has been cancelled. You will be offered an alternative flight, and you can request a different alternative if you prefer. But if none of the available flights suit your travel plans, you can request a full refund. 

The same goes for a flight delay refund – if your flight was delayed by more than 5 hours, you have the right to decide not to take your flight, and ask for a refund. This is because a 5-hour delay is just as inconvenient as a total cancellation. 

Regardless of the refund, you are entitled to flight compensation if your flight was delayed for 3 hours or moreover.

For more information on airline compensation for delayed or cancelled flights or to learn how to best plan your trip for an enjoyable journey and a relaxing airport experience, please visit:

Josie Wilkins

Josie is a Journalism graduate from Galway, Ireland. In her free time, she writes for her blog, Naturally Fuelled (@josiewilkins on instagram). When she isn't writing, she enjoys playing the one song she knows on the piano, 'I Giorni', saving the postman from her aggressive Shorkie, and defending brussels sprouts as an all-year-round snack!