Flight delays have always been an unfortunate and unwanted part of flying, it seems that flight delays are getting worse rather than better these days. It can be beneficial to be prepared in advance if you are concerned that American Airlines delays will affect your trip plans. Here’s how to handle a change in your schedule and how to prevent one from happening in the first place.

What American considers a flight delay

American Airlines is clear about what defines a delay in a flight. That said, it doesn’t include extra passenger compensation promises in any of its policies.

Delays caused by American Airlines

Your charges can be paid if the airline caused the delay or if you were diverted to a different location. This is subject to your next flight departing before 11:59 p.m. local time on the day of your scheduled arrival. If the modifications do not comply with these requirements, the airline will cover the cost of your overnight stay at an approved hotel.

Delays beyond the airline's control

Passengers are responsible for paying for hotels, meals, and other expenses if the delay is due to a factor outside of American’s control, such as bad weather, a strike, or another type of civil disorder.

Tarmac delays

The airline won’t keep passengers on a plane on the tarmac for more than three hours on domestic flights. While international flights have a four-hour time limit.

In either case, the airline guarantees that within two hours of the aircraft leaving the gate (for departures) or touching down (for arrivals), passengers will have sufficient food and water (such as crackers or biscuits).

What to do if your American Airlines flight is delayed

First, the good news: American Airlines is among the top three most punctual airlines according to The Official Airline Guide, meaning you’re less likely to be delayed than with most other carriers (except for Hawaiian Airlines and Delta Air Lines, which ranked first and second, respectively).

But sometimes things still go wrong, whether it’s because of bad weather, overbooked flights, or airline employee strikes. Hence, if you just discovered that your flight has been delayed, don’t become anxious.

Search for alternatives using technology

American airlines will rebook you on the next flight with available seats and reroute your bags once you check in for your new journey if there is a severe enough delay that your original flight needs to be changed.

Yet, if you hurry to the nearest help desk in a panic and shout at airline staff members won’t help your situation. Instead, try to maintain your calmness and, if your flight is delayed by more than a normal amount of time then use the American Airlines app, website or airline kiosk to find if there is an earlier flight you may reschedule to.

You can check trip updates and changes on the app, and you can accept airline-proposed itineraries and view flight updates on the website. If necessary, you can schedule a new flight by using a tool.

Head to a lounge

If your flight is delayed by a few hours, you could consider taking advantage of an airport lounge perk from your credit card, ticket class, or other membership, even though it won’t get you where you’re going any earlier. You can relax comfortably, often with snacks and drinks, until it’s time for you to depart.

You’re not completely out of luck if you don’t already have access to an airport lounge. You can buy a day pass to enter a few American Airlines lounges.

Get your money back

The airline will refund the remaining ticket value plus any additional fees, such as seat selection or luggage fees, if your flight is delayed by more than four hours and you decline the alternate flight options offered by American (or if none were available).

This is a genuine refund instead of just a credit or flight voucher. Hence, if the airline provides a credit or miles in exchange for the inconvenience, make sure to request it for an actual refund.

Request a room

American airlines may be able to cover the cost of an overnight stay if the airline is responsible for the delay and your flight doesn’t board before 11:59 p.m. local time on your scheduled arrival day.

The best place to start to learn about your alternatives and get approval from American airlines is at the nearest help desk. Just be aware that you’re probably on your own if the delay was caused by bad weather.

How to protect yourself from future delays

In order to reduce your risk, do a little study and make the necessary decisions ahead. Avoiding unexpected delays is always preferable. By booking with the help of these tips, you might be able to completely avoid delays.

Research delays to and from your destination

You can find out how often flights are delayed based on airline, airport, and other factors using tools like the website FlightAware, which provides a platform for looking into different flights and route trends around the country. A color-coded list of the worst offending airports and routes during the previous two days can be seen on the website’s MiseryMap.

Consider making your reservation from a different nearby airport, if trends from your selected airport don’t look promising. However, if there are often delays at a particular time of day, avoid that flight window.

Get travel insurance ahead of your trip

Travel insurance can provide you peace of mind and cover expenses for things like an additional night in a hotel room if your flight is cancelled or considerably delayed, even while it cannot guarantee that your flight will depart or arrive on time.

A travel insurance coverage can be purchased directly from an insurance company or by utilising an insurance comparison site. These aggregators make it simple for you to compare alternatives from different travel insurance companies. You cannot purchase insurance at the airport; you must do it at least one day prior to your journey.

If you have insurance, find out how long must pass after a delay before benefits begin to apply. Since that many travel credit cards also provide trip delay insurance, you might already be protected.

Get travel insurance ahead of your trip

Travel insurance can provide you peace of mind and cover expenses for things like an additional night in a hotel room if your flight is cancelled or considerably delayed, even while it cannot guarantee that your flight will depart or arrive on time.

A travel insurance coverage can be purchased directly from an insurance company or by utilising an insurance comparison site. These aggregators make it simple for you to compare alternatives from different travel insurance companies. You cannot purchase insurance at the airport; you must do it at least one day prior to your journey.

If you have insurance, find out how long must pass after a delay before benefits begin to apply. Since that many travel credit cards also provide trip delay insurance, you might already be protected.

Book direct flights

The probability of a delay on a one-stop itinerary (which requires two flights to reach your destination) is double as compared to a nonstop flight. If you’re concerned about the chance of a delay, book a direct flight, if it’s an option to boost the probability that you’ll arrive on time.

Book an early flight

Early-morning flights have a lower chance of experiencing delays. The reason is straightforward: If a few flights’ schedules are messed up, whether it’s by midday or late in the day, it might start a chain reaction that affects further flights for the remainder of the day.