What can you do to minimise your chance of a flight delay or cancellation?

April 20, 2017 - Business Travel, Corporate Travel, supertravelbooker, Travel Hacks / minimising delays
minimising delays

Rising stress levels, poor traveller experience and decline in productivity are just some of the impacts suffered by the 8 million delayed passengers last year. This post covers minimising your chances of delays and cancellations as we ask: is there anything you can do to avoid them?

In previous posts we have discussed your rights regarding compensation if a previous flight has been disrupted; however this post guides you on avoiding them to begin with.

Denied Boarding

Occasionally airlines will ‘oversell’ and book more people onto a flight than there are seats on the plane. This is because people don’t always turn up. Airlines may also be unable to carry all passengers for other reasons, such as using a smaller plane than planned.

This means that sometimes too many people will check in for a flight and as a result, some passengers may be asked or forced to give up their place on the flight.

To minimise your chances of this happening, it’s important that you check-in for your flight on time, book a seat if possible and arrive in good time. However it’s ultimately up to the airline and they may have to ‘bump’ someone without their agreement.

So, what are your rights?

Often the airline will ask for volunteers to be ‘bumped’ from a flight if it’s oversold, offering an incentive to do so, as well as an alternative flight or refund.

However sometimes passengers are denied boarding or even ejected from a flight against their will, in this scenario they are entitled to an alternative flight or a refund as well as compensation depending on length of delay and length of flight.


Flight delays happen for a number of reasons such as aircraft maintenance, the aircraft arriving late from a previous flight, air traffic and more commonly weather.

These circumstances are often out of the airlines or airports control, and cost them both money as shown on the graph below, however there are a number of things you can to do improve your chances of departing on time.

  • Fly out-of-season at an off-peak time to avoid busy periods.
  • Statistically, flights earlier on in the day have less of a chance of being delayed.
  • Fly with an airline that has a reputation for punctuality.
  • Fly via an airport that has a smaller number of passengers & flights if possible.

Airports & Airlines

Depending on how you look at it, different airports can seem busier than others. For example the graph below shows that Atlanta airport has the most amounts of passengers going through the airport, however London Heathrow has the most amount of connecting flights and Chicago O’Hare has the largest number of flight operations in the world.

Therefore when flying through one of these airports, they could be forgiven for delays due to their scale meaning you may want to avoid them if you have the choice.

Again, if you are given the choice of where you can fly through and who with, you can find more reliable data of airline and airport punctuality and flight statistics. Flightstats offers monthly performance graphs and summary whereas the Civil Aviation Authority offer a whole host of in-depth information.

Find out more about how CTI can help with your delay compensation, what have you got to lose?