Taking a Chance on Flight Delays

Would you fly on the same day as an important event, such as a wedding? That’s the question michaele asks this week as they weigh up the pros & cons of cutting their short trip even shorter in order to avoid arriving back in Australia on the day of their wedding.

Looking for your advice on what you’d actually do in this situation:

I have a trip to Canada planned in June, where the entire trip will probably end up being 4-5 days – ie fly out and land on the 4th and fly home on the 8th (arriving on the 10th). I have a wedding (I am in the bridal party for) on Sat 10th. To maximise the time in Canada, I am looking to fly 15 on the 8th, arriving on the Sat for the wedding at 6am. Even a late departure of a few hours from LAX wont be a big issue, I wont need to do anything until later that day.

To maximise their time in Canada, they plan to arrive back in Brisbane on the morning of the wedding. This member theorises that even if there was a major delay to their flight, there are enough other flights between North America and Australia to get them to Brisbane with only a minor delay. As this member has Platinum status with Qantas, they also hope their status would work in their favour in the event of a cancellation or major delay.

There is a very good chance that the flight would run on time and there would be no issues. But it’s still quite a risk. There are many reasons that a flight could be delayed, cancelled or even diverted. In some cases, enough notice will be given that alternative arrangements can be made. But some delays are caused by factors that affect multiple flights, such as the weather. And if the flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem discovered after boarding, it might be too late to change to another flight.

Its cutting it way too fine even with insurance … Considering most flights depart around the same time, If something was to go wrong (it seems to allways happen very close to departure) by the time you sorted another airline or flight most likely would have departed for the day

If our member does decide to risk taking the later flight, our members recommend taking out a thorough travel insurance policy.

If you do decide to risk it, make sure you have Travel Insurance that covers paying for alternate flights to get to the destination on time for special events – and that being part of the bridal party at a wedding is included.

One member has been through the hassle of having their flight cancelled the day before a wedding. They ended up having to take an overnight bus to their destination – a “luxury” that would not be available for the trip from Los Angeles to Brisbane.

The overwhelming advice from our members is not to take the risk, and to fly the day before the wedding. This avoids the stress of worrying about delays that are beyond the control of the passenger.

Being in the bridal party means you are a pretty important part of the wedding. I’d be coming home a day early to minimise the chance of any delay disrupting a good friend’s big day. Just my opinion though.

Join the discussion HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

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