Wednesday, April 10, 2013

When is a Cancelled Flight Not a Cancelled Flight

The term "cancelled" has a certain finality about it.  If the lead singer in a band loses her voice, the show is cancelled.  Once a check has been cashed, the bank cancels it so it can never be used again.  When a visa is cancelled, it's worthless and will never get you into the issuing country.

When a flight is cancelled, it's final, right? Not necessarily.  A cancelled flight can be reinstated if the airline can solve the problem that caused the cancellation - put together a crew or substitute new equipment for a plane with mechanical issues.  This doesn't happen often.  But it does happen  more often than you might think, especially during irregular operations due to weather or system-wide issues.

The worst case scenario for passengers is that they will see the flight status marked cancelled or receive a cancellation alert, not go to the airport, then find out later that the flight actually did depart without them.  Policies vary airline to airline.  But a passenger's rights are usually severely restricted in that event. They may be considered a no-show.  So when you display fight status information in your app or website or use our system to send alerts, make sure that you encourage passengers on cancelled flights to either go to the airport anyway or, at the very least, contact the airline to find out what they should do next.

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