Secret Travel Hack: What to do if Your Flight is Canceled

Secret Travel hack, what to do when your flight is canceled, It's never fun when your flight gets canceled. There's several things you can do when your flight is canceled from making sure you get a hotel room, getting compensated, to planning ahead and having other options. But there's one secret travel hack that can save you hours of frustration and get you on another flight. Traveling Well For Less

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It’s never fun when your flight gets canceled. There are several things you can do when your flight is canceled from making sure you get a hotel room, getting compensated, to planning ahead and having other options. But there’s one secret travel hack that can save you hours of frustration and get you on another flight.

Secret Travel Hack: What to do if Your Flight is Canceled

Do you know the secret travel hack when your flight is cancelled? Traveling Well For Less

Stuck at the airport because your flight was canceled? And you’re one of the hundreds of people who are in the same situation? Here’s what you need to do to get a seat on the next flight.

When weather causes flight cancellations, everyone at the airport is stuck in the same situation. But you can be the exception.

Don’t wait for hours in line at a customer service desk or a gate. Be in the know and do what frequent fliers do when their flights get canceled. Head immediately to the closest airport lounge for the airline you were flying.

Pro-tip: Priority Pass airport lounge membership gets you into over 950 airport lounges worldwide.

Read how to get into every airport lounge.

Why Go to an Airline Airport Lounge

When your flight is canceled because of weather, the staff at an airport lounge offers you the best chances for getting on another plane.

1.  Shorter Lines

You’ve seen the lines at the airport when a flight is canceled. They wrap around and around. And the wait is tiresome and long. But you can avoid that in an airport lounge because the lines will be significantly shorter. Think maybe 10 people at the most instead of 100.

2.  Staff

Not only will the lines be shorter, but there will be more customer service representatives available. The airport lounge staff can rebook you on another flight. And because the agents in airport lounges typically aren’t as stressed as the agents in the terminal, you won’t feel as tense.

3.  Refresh and Relax

Why stand around waiting in the terminal when you can have a seat while the airport lounge agent finds you another flight. Enjoy refreshments, access your email, and get work done with the free Wi-Fi.

Free Airport Lounge Access

If you don’t have a Priority Pass membership, you can get free airline airport lounge access if you have one of these credit cards:

The credit card links are provided as a courtesy to you. I do not earn a commission through these links. If you don’t have a credit card that gives you free lounge access, you can buy a day pass:

It could be worth paying for a day pass to save time, relax, and have somewhere pleasant to wait for your next flight.

After you’re put on another flight, here’s how to get a row to yourself on the plane. Just be sure to make all your connections because you don’t want to skip a connecting flight.


If your flight is canceled, make sure you know the one secret hack that will save you hours of frustration and help you get rebooked on another flight sooner.

Go to an airport lounge. You’ll get helped quicker than at the customer service desk or gate.

With a Priority Pass membership, you can get into over 950 airport lounges all over the world. You can also get free airport lounge access from certain credit cards.

And if you don’t have a card that gives you free entry, you can buy an inexpensive day pass from American Airlines, Delta Airlines, or United Airlines.

This trick will only work if you’re flying on American Airlines, Delta, or United Airlines or one of their airline partners.

If you’re flying on Southwest, JetBlue, or Frontier, you’re out of luck. Unless you have a Priority Pass membership that gets you into any participating airport lounge regardless of which airline you’re flying.

Would you pay $50 to $59 to avoid waiting hours in line and get booked on another flight sooner?

Pin this to your travel, travel tips, or vacation board:

Do you know the secret travel hack of what to do if your flight is canceled that will save you hours of frustration and help you get rebooked on another flight sooner. Traveling Well For Less

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Debra Schroeder

Debra is a former 12-year travel industry executive and has traveled the world using airline miles and credit card points since 1994. She'll teach you the secrets of traveling well for less.

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  • The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
  • Jennifer January 5, 2016 at 10:00 am

    I love this idea! I travel all the time, and anything that makes that process more comfortable is great for me.

    • Debra Schroeder January 5, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Hi Jennifer,

      So glad you enjoyed my secret travel hack. πŸ™‚ Hope it saves you time, is more relaxing, and gets you rebooked quicker.

  • Jeanette January 5, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I am totally booked working this page. I travel a lot and I’ve only had one flight totally cancel on me, but love all the tips you have here.

    • Debra Schroeder January 5, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Hi Jeanette,

      Thanks for the compliment. Glad you like the blog tips. πŸ™‚

  • Kathy Johnston January 5, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    Another great tip for my travel arsenal! This will make traveling with an aging or mobility challenged spouse or parent less stress for all of us.

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:09 am

      Hi Kathy Johnston,

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed the tip. πŸ™‚

  • Liz Mays January 5, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I do like to head into the lounge when my flight is delayed or cancelled. I can relax there or work on my computer comfortably.

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:10 am

      Hi Liz Mays,

      Airport lounges are great. Much quieter and more relaxing than in the terminal.

  • rika January 5, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Great tips! This is another reason why I avoid traveling during high peak season

  • Amanda || Growing Up Madison January 5, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    Those are really all great tips. I remember once flying back from the Caribbean and my flight getting canceled. I had to be back at work the following day or I’d be considered AWOL so I had to buy a new ticket to make it. Wish I had known these tips.

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:11 am

      Hi Amanda || Growing Up Madison,

      Glad you enjoyed the secret travel hack. Yikes, buying a last minute one-way ticket is expensive.

  • Jenn January 5, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Interesting! I never knew this! I haven’t traveled much in the past but I hope to in the future! This is a good tip to know!

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:12 am

      Hi Jenn,

      Glad my post helped you. Hope you can enjoy traveling in the future.

  • tiaras and tantrums January 5, 2016 at 10:00 pm

    But, will they assist you IF you are not a member of that airline? Also, even if you are a card holder – they don’t’ always let you in (we’ve tried)

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:14 am

      Hi tiaras and tantrums,

      You don’t have to be a member of the airline for the airport lounge staff to help you. You just have to be flying on their airline. So if you went to the United lounge and are flying on Delta they can’t help you.

      If you have one of the cards listed in the post then a benefit of that card is free lounge access. So it has to be one of those specific cards.

      Hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • OurFamilyWorld January 5, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    These are wonderful tips. Going to the airport lounge is definitely a great idea.

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:15 am

      Hi OurFamilyWorld,

      Thanks, glad you liked the post.

  • Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly January 6, 2016 at 1:07 am

    I used to work for American Airlines (one of my first jobs straight out of college) so I got to learn a few ‘tricks of the trade’ this one is one of my favorites. SHH!!!! Don’t tell anyone! LOL πŸ™‚

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 7:16 am

      Hi Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly,

      LOL. Sorry had to spill the beans on this one. Especially with El Nino and lots of possible flight cancellations.

  • Valerie January 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

    I’ve had canceled flights before and didn’t do this. What great advice!

  • Crystal Lopez January 6, 2016 at 8:45 am

    We are not fliers but these tips would have been great for some family this Christmas holiday. I will have to pass the information along!

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Hi Crystal Lopez,

      Happy to hear that the post was helpful.

  • Kathy January 6, 2016 at 10:23 am

    These are some wonderful tips. I’ll have to share them with others. I have personally never been on a plane before, so I wouldn’t really know what to expect. However, I know flights get canceled all the time.

  • Ann Bacciaglia January 6, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    Thanks for the great info. I have a lot of traveling to do soon so this is great timing for me to find your post.

    • Debra Schroeder January 6, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      Hi Ann Bacciaglia,

      Happy that this post came at the perfect time to help you. πŸ™‚

  • Digna January 6, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    Good to know! I have never had this happen to me and hope it never does. I will have to remember to hit the lounge!

    • Debra Schroeder January 7, 2016 at 6:57 am

      Hi Digna,

      Wow. Hope your lucky streak of never having a flight canceled continues to hold.

      Glad you liked the travel hack.

  • Sarh S January 6, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I don’t fly often, wish I could more though. These are all great to know, I’ll keep this all in mind for the next time my grandma flies to IL from WI, she’s been going down there every few months for a little while to visit her mom.

    • Debra Schroeder January 7, 2016 at 6:58 am

      Hi Sarh S,

      Yes, please do keep this trick in mind and pass it along to your grandma.

  • Terri Beavers January 7, 2016 at 8:27 am

    What great tips and information. I’ve never been in a situation where my flight was cancelled but now I know what to do if that happens. My sister flies a lot from Texas to Georgia to see everyone so I’ll pass this along to her too.

    • Debra Schroeder January 7, 2016 at 5:33 pm

      Hi Terri Beavers,

      Glad you enjoyed the trick to get rebooked on a canceled flight.

  • Shannon Gurnee January 9, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Those are some great reasons to visit your airport lounge when your flight is cancelled. Thanks for sharing this! I will definitely keep it in mind if my flight is ever cancelled in the future.

  • Lisa Martens January 14, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    Great article. I would never have thought to head to the airport lounge. What a great tip. Thanks for sharing.

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      Hi Lisa Martens,

      Glad you enjoyed my tip. Hope it saves you time and frustration the next time your flight gets canceled.

  • Neha January 15, 2016 at 12:21 am

    Thank you for sharing those tips Debra ????

  • Petra | Living In An Online World January 15, 2016 at 1:21 am

    So far I’ve been lucky and never experienced the dread of having a cancelled flight. But it’s always good to know what to do if that ever happens. Thank you for the tips, they are most helpful!

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Petra | Living In An Online World,

      Happy to hear that you appreciated the post. πŸ™‚

  • Bree Hogan January 15, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    What a great tip, I never would have thought to do this! Very handy info to have up my sleeve if my flight gets cancelled. Thanks!

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Bree Hogan,

      Hopefully your flight doesn’t get canceled. But if it does, now you’ll know what to do. πŸ™‚

  • Sheena January 16, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Great tip! Thanks for sharing. I feel like every time we fly with United we end up with a delayed (and a few times cancelled) flight. So, another tip… stick with Delta! ha!

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Sheena,

      Ouch. Yeah, I’d probably switch airlines too. πŸ™‚ Glad you liked the tip.

  • Marleen January 16, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Wow, thats a handy hack to know. Thanks for sharing

  • jen January 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    what great advice! being stuck in an airport can be torture but at least this makes it more manageable.

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Hi Jen,

      Definitely. This travel hack makes the pain of a canceled flight more tolerable.

  • Sarah January 18, 2016 at 2:54 am

    Interesting hacks, really. Thank you for sharing!

  • Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen January 18, 2016 at 2:56 am

    I haven’t experienced cancelled flight yet but thanks for the tips, now I know what to do.

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Peachy @ The Peachy Kitchen,

      Glad you liked the post. πŸ™‚

  • Theresa Sutton January 18, 2016 at 7:25 am

    Thanks for sharing! I have a few trips coming up. Definitely good to have this info just in case!

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Theresa Sutton,

      Happy that I could help. Hope your flights don’t get canceled. πŸ™‚

  • Erin January 19, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Love this idea. Airport lounges are GREAT!

  • Diane January 20, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Great info – thanks for sharing! (Unfortunately my next couple flights are with Frontier, so I would be out of luck. But I did get some super cheap flights!). πŸ˜€

    • Debra Schroeder January 21, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Diane,

      It’s hard to pass up cheap flights. πŸ™‚

  • Sue January 24, 2016 at 7:43 am

    wow cool tips, I never knew this. Thanks for the info πŸ™‚

  • Bethy February 28, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    What is an airport lounge and how do I find one? I’ve never heard of this.

    • Debra Schroeder February 29, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Hi Bethy,

      An airport lounge is a place in the airport where you can relax, charge your electronics, use free Wi-Fi, enjoy snacks and drinks (depending on the lounge).

      Not all airports have lounges so you need to check the airport you’re flying from. There are airport lounges in many airports both in the US and internationally. They’re usually listed on the airport website. For example, here’s a link for the lounge information for the San Diego airport –

      Each airport lounge has policies on who can enter. So you’ll need to check the policies to see if you can qualify to enter for free or have to pay to use the lounge.

      Let me know if you have any other questions. πŸ™‚

  • melody pittman January 8, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I had no clue you could just go to the airport lounge to deal with this. I hate waiting in lines so I typically just call the airlines and get much quicker service than the line option. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind as it inevitably happens every now and then.

  • Tania @ Larger Family Life January 10, 2017 at 9:35 am

    Excellent tips that are well worth knowing. Thanks!

  • Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle January 17, 2017 at 4:51 am

    I am so bookmarking this. I haven’t had to deal with cancelled flights very often, but when I have, it was awful. I actually use Delta a lot, so this is perfect for me. Thanks!

  • Pinkoddy January 17, 2017 at 6:50 am

    I am glad I read this blog post as I am taking my family on our first flight this year and I never even considered what happens if the flight is cancelled. The lounge sounds a great idea especially as I will have 3 children with me! I shall take a look and see if it is the same for my flight.

  • Paula Schuck January 17, 2017 at 8:07 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I’ll be sure I book with these airlines from now on. I have been on the receiving end of a canceled flight, and it was AWFUL.

  • Heather Pfingsten January 17, 2017 at 9:57 am

    I travel a handful of times a year but my flights have been cancelled and changed more than I care to admit. I need to look into this because the flight cancellation alone can cause a great deal of stress, no need to have that stress added to. Thank you for the tips!

  • Michelle Waller January 17, 2017 at 11:05 am

    I don’t travel a lot (I like sticking to the south) but I bet it’s horrible getting your flight cancelled. This seems really awesome and I’m going tot share it with all my traveling friends.

  • Eileen January 17, 2017 at 11:59 am

    I always seems to have the misfortune of having a cancelled flight. I’m so glad to know about this trick, I’m sure it will come in handy for me soon.

  • Dina Demarest January 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I had no idea! I travel a few times a year. I’ll be looking into one of those cards and will remember to go to the lounge if my flight is ever cancelled.

  • Karissa @WithOurBest (@withourbest) January 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Great tips for when the worst happens during your travel! Cancelled flights can really mess up plans for days on end sometimes!

  • melissa January 18, 2017 at 6:09 am

    These are great tips for those frequent travelers who fly often. Our family made a decision to never fly again after a crazy flight to Disney a few years back but maybe someday we will be brave enough to try it again and use these tips!

  • Jennifer January 18, 2017 at 7:03 am

    I have never thought about doing this. I usually just get a hotel room and work. Sight seeing would be much more fun.

  • My Teen Guide January 18, 2017 at 7:36 am

    What a brilliant tips and ideas! Glad that I’ve never been experienced cancel my flight but this is really helpful when I needed.

  • Up Run for Life January 18, 2017 at 9:27 am

    I can see how frustrating it would be to have your flight canceled. This happened to my brother one year when he was visiting me in NC. I don’t remember the reason why it was canceled but it went on for several days. It was a very small airport and it probably wouldn’t have happened at a bigger airport. I don’t think my mom got any compensation for the trouble either.

  • Heather January 18, 2017 at 10:18 am

    What a great tip! It’s been a long time since I flew, but I’ll have to keep the airport lounge in mind. I’d rather have 10 people in front of me than, 100.

  • Kathy January 18, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I’ve never been on a plane before, so I wouldn’t know much about this. Great ideas though. I’m sure it’s a pain for everyone if a flight is cancelled.

  • Jesica h January 18, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    My best friends flight was canceled in this last ice storm! I hope she knew some of these tips! I willpin this incase this happens to me someday!

  • Kendall Rayburn January 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

    These are some great tips! I’ve been traveling a lot lately, no cancelled flights yet – but if I do I’ll use this post! Thanks!

  • Maria Han January 20, 2017 at 6:42 am

    This is really a great information and tips with us, I can use this for my travel! Glad you share this post It will helpful so much.

  • glenn February 8, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    What a brilliant idea, But I have never traveled, so if this problem were to happen to me, now I have an idea what to do.

  • Chrysoula March 6, 2017 at 8:04 am

    That is amazing. I had no idea thta the staff on the lounge could help you as well and that all of these credit cards gives you free access. Awesome thanks for sharing

  • Tamara Elliott March 6, 2017 at 8:19 am

    I’m all about the airport lounges! Not only are staff there more available to help due to shorter lines- but it’s sure a nice place to pass the time during a delayed flight πŸ™‚

  • Maniprabha March 10, 2017 at 6:31 am

    These are actually great tips. Thanks for sharing

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